ORIGINAL REPORTING: Hawaii’s new community renewables plan and its first-ever TOU rates
Smart sharing: Sun-saturated Hawaii debates first TOU community solar proposal; Crediting community solar users depending on time of day could open new markets for storage and help optimize the grid, PUC staff says
Herman K. Trabish, August 11, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The Staff proposal described here was approved in December with only one change: The groundbreaking time-of-use rates will not be implemented until 2019’s second phase.
The staff of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission found multiple issues with the Community Based Renewable Energy (CBRE) proposal from Hawaii’s investor-owned utility, the Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO). Its alternative added market signals to encourage features like electricity consumption during offpeak hours and dispatchability from storage. Home to the nation’s highest electricity prices and per-capita rooftop solar penetration, a renewables-only community energy choice could help the state meet its goal of 100% renewables mandate by 2045. While such projects usually focus on community-shared solar, some community collaboration have built wind and other renewables projects. Under the bill, electric utilities in Hawaii must work with stakeholders to develop a program and tariffs opening up access to renewables regardless of location.
Staff’s proposal included a call to use time-of-use rates to set bill credit value for program participants — a first for a community solar program. Compensation should be linked to the value that the project provides to the grid, staff argued. Hawaii already has more than enough renewables generation at midday and it is creating problems for the distribution system. What is needed are incentives to store solar generation and deliver it during the grid’s peak demand. The filing proposed three credit rate caps for Mid-Day, On-Peak, and Off-Peak time periods so that g eneration sent to the grid at peak demand periods will be more highly compensated… click here for more
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