The Oahu Wind Integration Study (OWIS) recently released a study detailing the impact on the Oahu grid if a total of 500 MW of wind energy and a nominal 100 MW of Hawaii solar power came online as is expected.
The study found that the 500 MW of wind and 100 MW of solar power could eliminate the need to burn approximately 2.8 million barrels of low sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) and 132,000 tons of coal each year, if a number of recommendations are implemented:
The study cautions that in order to ensure system reliability there will need to be further studies of renewable energy and the gird, improvements to the existing power infrastructure as well as new investment in the grid for complete and seamless integration. With these and other proposed changes, the technical analysis suggests, Oahu can accommodate increased wind and solar energy projects with minimal limits on output of renewable resources.
The Oahu Wind Integration Study was conducted by the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, General Electric (GE) Company and the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO). The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), part of the U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE), assembled a technical review committee with representatives of industry and academia which met throughout the project to review findings. NREL also contracted the private firm AWS Truepower to develop wind and solar energy profiles that were used in the study.
"The findings of this study show it is feasible to integrate large-scale wind and solar projects on Oahu but also have value beyond Hawaii. Both large mainland utilities and relatively small and/or isolated grids that wish to integrate significant amounts of renewable energy while maintaining reliability for their customers can learn from this study," said Dr. Rick Rocheleau, HNEI director.
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