Hawaii seeks EDC help to shift to 100% RE by 2045

by Lenie LecturaMay 20, 2016

from Business Mirror

THE State of Hawaii, highly dependent on fossil fuels, is interested to collaborate with the Philippines’s Energy Development Corp. (EDC) to help achieve its goal of shifting to 100-percent renewable energy (RE) by 2045.

Luis P. Salaveria, a Filipino-American and the director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), visited the Philippines last week to learn how Hawaii can incorporate geothermal power to reduce the state’s dependence on fossil fuels and increase efficiency measures.

The DBEDT is a state department in the Executive branch, which falls under the Office of the Governor. The DBEDT oversees the Hawaii State Energy Office, which has embarked on a strategic plan to position Hawaii as a proving ground for clean-energy technologies. Salaveria initiated the trip to gather information to support the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), a partnership between the State of Hawaii and the US Department of Energy launched in 2008.

In 2015 Hawaii passed landmark legislation to make it the first state in the US to set a 100-percent renewable-energy portfolio standard for the electricity sector. At present, imported oil provides 90 percent of Hawaii’s energy needs.

 “Hawaii’s current dependence on oil threatens our natural resources, and places economic security at risk,” Salaveria said. “We are looking to diversify our energy portfolio to meet the goal of 100-percent renewables by 2045.”

During his Manila visit, Salaveria held a series of meetings with geothermal experts and top officials of EDC, acknowledged as a global leader in geothermal energy.

“As one of the biggest geothermal companies in the world, EDC could be a possible partner of Hawaii in a future cooperation agreement,” Salaveria said. “Hawaii is especially interested in gaining a deeper understanding about geothermal energy and how this RE source can help achieve HCEI’s goal.” EDC owns and operates 12 integrated geothermal-power projects with an installed geothermal capacity of 1,169 megawatts (MW). EDC plans to pursue projects overseas, including opportunities in Latin America and Indonesia.

Hawaii currently maintains a 38-MW geothermal production capacity. Studies indicate Hawaii may hold more than 1,000 MW of geothermal reserves on Maui and Hawaii islands, two of the eight main islands of the state.

While Hawaii has other RE options, such as wind and solar, these RE sources are intermittent and  cannot be used to run base-load power plants. Given its vast potential, Hawaii considers geothermal a natural RE option to run more base-load power plants in the future. EDC is a subsidiary of First Gen Corp., the Philippines’s leading clean and renewable-energy company with an installed capacity of 2,959 MW at the end of 2015. Aside from geothermal, First Gen’s portfolio of power plants also runs on natural gas, hydro, wind and solar energy.