Renewable resources accounted for half of the electric power serving Maui County in 2020, a first.
Hawaiian Electric reached a 34.5% consolidated renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in 2020. That performance exceeded the interim state mandate and put the utility on a path toward meeting Hawaii’s 100% by 2045 RPS goal.
The 34.5% is the consolidated RPS for Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Maui County, and represents an increase from 28.4% in 2019. Hawaiian Electric said it surpassed the state requirement to reach 30% by 2020 and has more than tripled the amount of renewable energy on its electric grids in 10 years, up from just under 10% in 2010.
President and CEO Scott Seu said that exceeding the state’s 2020 mandate “underscores Hawaiian Electric’s commitment to replace imported fossil fuels” and become carbon neutral by 2045.
The RPS represents the renewable energy used by customers as a percentage of total utility sales.
In 2020, Maui County reached a 50.8% RPS, hitting the 50% mark for the first time. With a mix of solar, wind, and biofuels, Maui County’s RPS represents a nearly 25% increase from its 40.8% RPS in 2019. Meanwhile, Hawaii Island hit a 43.4% RPS, compared to 34.7% in 2019.
Oahu recorded a 30.5% RPS, exceeding 30% for the first time and notching a five percentage-point improvement from 25.2% in 2019.
Seu called Oahu’s progress “especially significant” because there’s less land available on the island for utility-scale projects and high demand for rooftop solar.
According to Hawaiian Electric, total electricity generated by renewable energy resources rose 13% in 2020 over 2019. The utility credited the year-over-year increase in part to a 55% rise in rooftop solar installations, and a full year of production from the 20 MW West Loch Solar project and the three Clearway Energy utility-scale projects, which have a combined capacity of 110 MW.
The company said there are now 87,848 solar systems and 3.7 million solar panels–including rooftop and grid-scale facilities– producing electricity on the five island grids. Those numbers are expected to grow following Hawaiian Electric’s January launch of its Quick Connect program for new residential solar installations.
Hawaiian Electric’s next RPS milestone required by state law is 40% by 2030.