HELCO seeks more geothermal energy in Hawaii

More than 40 percent of electricity on Hawaii Island is already generated from renewable resources, including hydro, wind energy, distributed solar and geothermal power.

Hawaii Electric Light Company has filed a draft Geothermal Request for Proposals (Geothermal RFP) with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC), an important step toward adding more geothermal energy to power Hawaii Island.

Hawaii Electric Light Company is seeking to add up to 50 megawatts (MW) of geothermal power at prices not tied to the cost of oil to help lower electricity costs for customers. The added power must also blend operationally with other resources, including renewable energy from wind, solar, biomass and hydro.


The RFP is pursuing geothermal technologies that provide renewable dispatchable energy and firm capacity, which means the utility would be able to schedule and control output from the geothermal plant. This will also provide firm back up for other renewable resources such as wind or solar to help maintain reliable service for Hawaii Island customers.

“This project combines our efforts to increase renewable resources on our island with a commitment to reduce costs for our customers,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light Company president. “We look forward to working with developers while ensuring our communities have a voice in energy planning for our island.”

Hawaii Electric Light Company plans to conduct a technical conference webinar to allow interested parties and prospective bidders to ask questions and provide comments on the draft. Issuance of a final Geothermal RFP is planned for January 2013.

In June 2011, Hawaii Electric Light Company issued a Request for Information to determine the best way to pursue geothermal development on Hawaii Island.

It sought input from potential geothermal developers, interested landowners and others on next steps that take into account Hawaii’s renewable energy goals and clean energy policy in keeping with the state’s unique community, cultural, historical, and environmental context.

The company received 20 responses to that request.