Wind and solar energy could supply more than 25 percent of the electricity demand for the island of Oʻahu, according to a new study.
The Oʻahu wind integration study examined the impact of 500 megawatts nameplate capacity, or sustained full-load output, of wind energy and a nominal 100 megawatts of solar energy on Oʻahu’s power grid. The study showed that the state could reduce dependence on fossil fuels by 2.8 million barrels of low sulfur fuel oil and 132,000 tons of coal per year.
The findings depend on delivery of 400 megawatts of wind energy via undersea cable from Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi. To deal with wind variability, it recommends state-of-the-art wind power forecasting, severe weather monitoring, better control of thermal generation output and increased power reserves.
“The findings of this study show it is feasible to integrate large-scale wind and solar projects on Oʻahu,” says Richard Rocheleau, director of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute. Moreover, it provides useful information for large mainland utilities and relatively small and/or isolated grids that wish to integrate significant amounts of renewable energy while maintaining reliability for their customers, he adds.
The study was conducted by HNEI and General Electric Company for Hawaiian Electric Company and the U.S. Department of Energy. AWS Truepower, an international firm based in New York, provided wind and solar power profiles, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory provided technical review.
Download the study at the HNEI website.