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Wärtsilä’s second solar-plus-storage Hawaii project for IPP Clearway goes online

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Independent power producer (IPP) Clearway Energy Group has brought a 36MW solar PV plus 144MWh battery energy (BESS) storage system project online in O’ahu, Hawaii, delivered by energy technology firm Wärtsilä.

Clearway announced the commercial operation of the project on Kamehameha Schools’ lands in Waiawa in Central O‘ahu last week (12 January).

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Wärtsilä provided its lithium iron phosphate (LFP) based GridSolv Quantum BESS solution, which is controlled by its energy management system (EMS), the GEMS Digital Energy Platform. Gridsolv uses lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. Construction firm Moss meanwhile oversaw the building of the site.

It is the second of two solar-plus-storage projects totalling 75MW of PV and 75MW/300MWh of battery energy storage, with Wärtsilä bringing the first online back in August last year. The two projects are also the first large-scale ones of their kind on O’ahu, the main island in the archipelago and the home of the capital Honolulu.

Clearway said the latest project represents US$150 million of investment. All of its renewables projects on the island are connected to the grid operated by Hawaiian Electric, the main utility. The latter’s CEO Shelee Kimura commented:

“Stabilising energy costs for our customers is a priority, and projects like Waiawa Solar will feed electricity to the grid at about half the cost of oil. We appreciate Clearway’s and Kamehameha Schools’ contributions as we all work together to decarbonize our energy system, and look forward to bringing more benefits to our communities as six additional projects come online over the next two years on O‘ahu.”

The Hawaii projects are part of a 500MW/2GWh portfolio that Wärtsilä is delivering for Clearway across Hawaii and California. In the latter, Wärtsilä is building BESS units totalling 275MW/1.1GWh to adjoin the Daggett 2 and Daggett 3 projects in San Bernadino, which it will complete this year.

Hawaii, which has a population of 1.4 million, has recently emerged as a market substantially punching above its weight for energy storage deployments with several large-scale projects combining the technology with solar PV.

This includes a co-located project with a 120MWh lithium-ion BESS from US-based energy firm AES, which will deliver power to Hawaiian Electric under a power purchase agreement (PPA) at just US$0.09/kWh when it starts in April.

In October, energy project system integrator Ameresco and utility Bright Canyon Energy broke ground on a solar and storage project with a 168MWh battery system, also on O’ahu.

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