Clearway Energy breaks ground in central O‘ahu

After a traditional Hawaiian blessing, Clearway Energy Group broke ground on two utility-scale solar projects in Mililani and Waiawa this morning, contributing to the state’s goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045. The 39 MW Mililani I Solar and 36 MW Waiawa Solar Power sites will be paired with a combined 300 MWh of storage. The projects will be among the first utility-scale battery storage and solar on the island.

“Our ongoing focus on renewable energy in the State of Hawai‘i is key to rebuilding our local economy and improving energy reliability for a more resilient future,” said Gov. David Ige. “Thanks to Clearway and our partners, we can celebrate this major milestone together as we take another step toward our goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045.”

“Hawai’i has long led the nation on climate solutions, and we’re honored to continue contributing to that mission with two new renewable energy sites in the state,” said Craig Cornelius, CEO of Clearway. “The addition of solar paired with storage on O’ahu is an important step toward a clean, affordable, and reliable electric grid. We thank Hawaiian Electric, Kamehameha Schools, and many others for their ongoing partnership to advance innovative energy projects and move Hawai‘i toward a carbon-free economy.”

The two projects represent a $280 million investment and will create over 460 local union jobs during construction. The completed sites are expected to contribute more than $10 million in taxes to the city and county.

This is Clearway’s second set of renewable projects in Hawai‘i. In 2019 the company completed construction and commissioning of three utility-scale solar projects including a 45.9 MW site in Waipi‘o and a 14.7 MW site in Mililani, both in central O‘ahu, and a 49 MW site in Kawailoa on O‘ahu’s North Shore. Once Mililani I Solar and Waiawa Solar Power are complete, Clearway’s five solar projects totaling 185 MW will serve Hawaiian Electric’s grid and generate enough electricity to power over 45,500 O‘ahu homes each year.

“Clearway has been an excellent partner to Hawaiian Electric in our drive to reach our clean energy goals and their three projects in operation helped us achieve a renewable portfolio standard of 35 percent in 2020,” said Scott Seu, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. “Additional large projects with storage like these will help us continue to decarbonize our energy system by reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels.”

Kamehameha Schools’ lands are home to renewable energy projects that produce more than 100 MW of clean energy statewide. Clearway’s project is one of two utility-scale solar projects that Kamehameha Schools is planning within the ahupua‘a  of Waiawa and, with Kawailoa Solar, the second developed by Clearway on ‘Ᾱina Pauahi.

“Kamehameha Schools stewards its lands for resilience and abundance with a focus on reducing Hawaiʻi’s dependence on fossil fuels, creating a renewable energy industry in Hawai‘i, and bringing ʻāina-based learning and leadership pathways to our community as part of our mission to improve the well-being of the Native Hawaiian people,” said Kā‘eo Duarte, Kamehameha Schools’ vice president for Community & ‘Ᾱina Resiliency. “We extend our mahalo to Clearway for being a valued partner on this journey toward a clean, sustainable future.”

Once complete, the Waiawa project will contribute $200,000 in community benefits in the coming years, including an educational partnership with Blue Planet Foundation to develop school curriculums on renewable energy, as well as an annual mainland internship program with Kamehameha Schools students.

The construction of Mililani I Solar and Waiawa Solar Power is expected to be completed in 2022 and will be led by Moss Solar.

“We’re looking forward to partnering with this same great team once again,” Edwin Perkins, president of Moss Solar. “It is rewarding to see the fruition of our efforts to help Hawai‘i reach its 100% renewable energy goal.”

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