Hawaiian Electric eyes partial biomass conversion of coal plant

The AES Hawaii power purchase agreement (PPA) is assumed to be renegotiated, with that coal-fired plant converted to 50% coal and 50% biomass, in power supply plans filed on Aug. 26 at the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission by three Hawaiian Electric Industries utilities.

Said the plan for Hawaiian Electric: “The AES Hawai‘i PPA was assumed to be renegotiated, subject to competitive procurement, at the end of its contract term (September 1, 2022), and extended past the end of the [Power Supply Improvement Plan] planning period, at its full 180 MW capacity, but with a mix of 50% coal and 50% biomass for fuel.”

AES Hawaii is a unit of AES Corp. (NYSE: AES). The timeline in this power supply plan for the Hawaiian Electric power system on O‘ahu covers the 2015–2030 period. U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows that AES Hawaii was earlier this year taking coal from the Kaltim Prima Coal operation in Indonesia under a contract due to expire in January 2015.

Hawaiian Electric serves 299,528 customers (including those customers who have installed distributed generation to serve their own load while remaining connected to the power grid) on O‘ahu with 1,756 MW (net) of generation. As of the end of 2013, the existing Hawaiian Electric system on O‘ahu consisted of 1,298 MW of utility-owned capacity, 457 MW of firm independent power producer (IPP) capacity, and 110 MW of variable renewable IPP capacity.

Hawaiian Electric, like two sister utilities in Hawaii, is looking to rely on cleaner generation, including renewables and oil-fired units converted to liquefied natural gas, in the future. The partial conversion of AES Hawaii to biomass is part of that overall clean energy plan.

In the LNG conversion area, for Hawaiian Electric: Kahe 1-6 are assumed to be converted to use LNG beginning in 2017; Waiau 5-10 are assumed to be converted to use LNG beginning in 2017; and Kalaeloa, an independent power producer, is assumed to be converted to use LNG beginning in 2017.

  • The Kahe station has six steam units, all baseload, with a combined nameplate capacity of 651 MW, with 620 MW net generation. These are Hawaiian Electric’s most efficient units. The station has black start capability.
  • The Waiau station has eight units: six are steam units and two are diesel. Two are baseload units, four are cycling units, and two are quick-start combustion turbines. Their combined nameplate capacity is 499 MW, with 481 MW net generation. The station has black start capability.
  • The Kalaeloa cogeneration (combined cycle) plant burns low-sulfur fuel oil to generate 208 MW of baseload generation.

Notable is that the three utilities retained Black & Veatch, Boston Consulting Group, Electric Power Systems, HD Baker and Co., PA Consulting Group, and Solari Communication to assist in the creation of their power supply plans.

Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Electric Light and Maui Electric are subsidiaries of Hawaiian Electric Industries (NYSE: HE). Each of the utilities filed a power supply plan with the commission on Aug. 26.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.