An electric cooperative’s renewable energy project carved out of 140 acres of a Department of Defense facility in Hawaii is drawing praise from the Department of Energy as it nears completion.
The U.S. Navy’s Naval Facilities Engineering Command was among the recipients of the 2019 Federal Energy and Water Management Awards for a solar array and battery storage project built at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in partnership with Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative.
The project includes solar panels rated at 19.3 megawatts and 70 megawatt hours of battery storage. While the DOD will have priority to meet sporadic operational demand, the power will flow to the island’s grid under routine conditions.
“Construction of the solar and [battery energy storage system] is completing now, but the substation that is required for full output of the facility will not be complete until the summer of 2020,” said Brad Rockwell, manager of power supply for Lihue-based KIUC.
“Output will be controlled by KIUC and used as needed, typically to help meet morning and evening peak demand, but also to provide firm power throughout the day and spinning reserve,” said Rockwell. “It will provide 7% of KIUC’s annual energy needs and provide microgrid capability for PMRF, improving energy security while taking the facility to 100% renewable power supply.”
DOE officials noted that the project not only aligns with federal goals to pursue renewable energy projects but also supports Hawaii’s renewable energy mandate of 100% by 2045, reducing the need to import diesel fuel from the U.S. mainland.
Derrill Holly is a staff writer at NRECA.