Wind and Solar Can Supply 25% of Oahu’s Electricity

March 18, 2011

The Oahu Wind Integration Study has come up with some exciting numbers regarding wind and solar energy for Hawaii. 

Combined with Oahu wind farms and solar energy, the Interisland Wind project to bring 400 megawatts of wind power from Molokai and Lanai to Oahu could supply more than 25% of Oahu’s energy demands.

The study has come up with a number of recommendations for successful integration of renewable energy:

  •   Provide state-of-the-art wind power forecasting to help anticipate the amount of power that will be available from wind;
  •   Increase power reserves (the amount of power that can be called upon from operating generators) to help manage wind variability and uncertainty in wind power forecasts;
  •   Reduce minimum stable operating power of baseload generating units to provide more power reserves;
  •   Increase ramp rates (the time it takes to increase or decrease output) of Hawaiian Electric's thermal generating units;
  •   Implement severe weather monitoring to ensure adequate power generation is available during periods of higher wind power variability;
  •   Evaluate other resources capable of contributing reserve, such as fast-starting thermal generating units and load control programs.

"The findings of this study show it is feasible to integrate large-scale wind and solar projects on Oahu but also have value beyond Hawaii. Both 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 can learn from this study," says Dr. Rick Rocheleau, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute director.