Hawaii's utilities have submitted detailed plans on how they will lower power prices while also integrating renewables. In fact, they are preparing for two-thirds of their power needs to be supplied by renewables as soon as 2030.
The new plans are a response to this spring's demand from the public service commission to do a better job. The commissioners rejected an earlier plan and sent the utilities back to the drawing board.
Aggressively pursue energy cost reductions, proactively respond to emerging renewable energy integration challenges, improve the interconnection process for customer-sited solar photovoltaic systems, and embrace customer demand response programs, the PUC ordered.
One key to success is grid modernization. Another is "exponential growth in energy efficiency." Another is increased use of energy storage.
The Hawaiian utilities will reportedly triple the amount of customer owned distributed generation by 2030; integrate "large amounts" of utility-scale solar, but only "modest amounts" of utility-scale wind, and aggressively expand demand response.
More renewables but lower bills
Energy mix, cost savings and a new rate design are expected to cut average residential customer monthly bills 23% between 2014 and 2030, Utility Dive reports.
About 75% of our current generation is from expensive oil, explained Hawaiian Electric Spokesperson Peter Rosegg. Roughly 70% of the electric rate is for fuel and fuel-related costs. Switching to less expensive renewables and LNG will bring down the cost of fuel. That helps offset the bill impact of investment in upgrades and other infrastructure.
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