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Hawaiian Electric awards Maui renewable power project to ʻŪkiu Energy : Maui Now

ʻUkiu Energy site map shows the project’s location on 10 acres off of Pulehu Road. Image courtesy: AMRC BCEHECO RFPApplicationsFiguresRevProjectSite WAENA. Source: Esri, Maxar, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AeroGRID, IGN and the GIS User Community, County of Maui, Department of Planning

Ameresco Inc., a leading cleantech integrator specializing in energy efficiency and renewable energy, has been awarded a contract from Hawaiian Electric Co. for the proposed ʻŪkiu Energy 40-megawatt renewable energy site in Puʻunēnē.

Plans for the facility call for building a biofuel-powered generator with six dual-fuel engines. It would offer firm renewable energy, enhance power grid reliability and provide a highly flexible capacity resource. It also would move Hawaiʻi closer to meeting its renewable energy and carbon neutrality goals by 2045.

This facility would also maintain power quality and allow for the additional integration of intermittent renewable resources, according to an announcement.

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“Importantly, in the event of a power outage, it will have the ability to be brought online, in black start mode, to help repower the grid,” the announcement says. “Additionally, the fast, flexible engines will enable the current fossil fuel generators to turn down their idling engines, supporting decarbonization efforts. Key outcomes include not only renewable energy provided 24/7 to the island, but also a reduction in Maui’s dependence on foreign sources of fuel.”

In support of its ʻŪkiu Energy project, Ameresco announced its support for community organizations, social service providers and nonprofit organizations focused on environmental and natural hazard mitigation, quality-of-life enhancements, homelessness, Science Technology Engineering and Math education, and youth recreation. “Ameresco looks forward to engaging with the community to identify and support programs that benefit the local region throughout the life of the facility,” the company said.

“We are honored to play a pivotal role in Hawaiʻi’s journey toward a sustainable and resilient energy future,” said Nicole Bulgarino, executive vice president of Ameresco. “The ʻŪkiu Energy site will continue to reduce Maui’s dependence on fossil fuels and pave a pathway that not only benefits our environment as a whole, but also enriches the island’s local communities.”

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The Maui facility is part of Hawaiian Electric Co.’s latest phase of clean energy procurements aimed at reducing Hawaiʻi’s dependence on imported oil for power generation. After the ʻŪkiu Energy contract is finalized, it will be submitted to the Public Utilities Commission for review and approval. If that happens, the facility will be built, owned and operated by Ameresco. The power generator is designed to interconnect to the Maui electrical grid at the new Hawaiian Electric Waena substation.

ʻŪkiu Energy is Ameresco’s fourth award with Hawaiian Electric. Earlier awards included three facilities being developed on Oʻahu.

For more information about ʻŪkiu Energy, visit ukiuenergy.com.

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To learn more about Ameresco, visit www.ameresco.com.

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