Anahola, HI –
Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) has partnered with Redwood Materials for the decommissioning and recycling of the 4 megawatt-hour battery energy storage system (BESS) at the Anahola Substation.
The Anahola BESS was commissioned in 2015 as part of KIUC’s Anahola solar project. That project was built on land leased from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), in a partnership with DHHL and the Anahola Hawaiian Homestead Association (AHHA). The project consisted of a 12 MW solar array, a new substation, and the BESS. Following decommissioning of the BESS, the solar array and substation will continue to operate.
KIUC is a global leader amongst electric utilities, recording 60% renewable energy on an annual basis, and reaches 100% for multiple hours on most sunny days. Battery storage is necessary to increase the renewable portfolio to 100% annually by 2033, which is one of the goals in KIUC’s updated Strategic Plan. “By partnering with Redwood, we are able to divert the materials from our local landfill,” said KIUC’s President and Chief Executive Officer, David Bissell. “Having a sustainable solution to decommission batteries to be used again for new energy projects and vehicles is in line with KIUC’s strategic plan to contribute to a sustainable Kauaʻi.”
“To my knowledge this is the first utility-scale lithium-ion battery that’s being recycled in the state of Hawaiʻi,” said KIUC’s Chief of Operations, Brad Rockwell. “Lithium-ion batteries are unique in that there’s a fair amount of materials that are worth going through the process of shipping them to a recycling facility to get the raw materials to be reused in new battery systems.”
Redwood Materials is creating a circular supply chain to drive down the environmental footprint and cost of lithium-ion batteries and the electric vehicles and sustainable energy storage systems they power. The Nevada-based company recovers more than 95% of the critical minerals from batteries, including nickel, cobalt, lithium, and copper, and will soon use those metals to remanufacture battery components, anode and cathode, that can be supplied back to U.S. battery manufacturers.
“When it comes to renewable energy deployment, Hawaiʻi has always been a leader, energizing some of the earliest and largest solar plus storage projects on earth” said Redwood’s Founder and CEO, JB Straubel. “Our partnership with KIUC to decommission and recycle the first-generation storage project at the Anahola substation, demonstrates their true commitment to sustainability.”
Hawaiʻi State Senate President Ron Kouchi, who is a former KIUC Board member, praised KIUC’s partnership with Redwood: “KIUC has done a lot of work, they’ve invested a lot of money in the research and I think they will help lead the state in finding socially responsible ways to deal with the waste product or other aspects of renewable energy: how we generate and how we create it.”
Kauaʻi’s Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami praised the efforts of KIUC and Redwood to avoid contributing to the island’s solid waste challenges: “For the next generation, for future generations, our ability to coexist and do right and make sure we leave as small of a footprint as we can is going to really determine our ability to pass something on to our kids and our future grandkids that’s better than what we found it in.”
As President of AHHA, KipuKai Kualiʻi has been working with KIUC since the solar project’s inception. He praised KIUC’s commitment to being responsible stewards of the lands on which the project is housed: “KIUC’s actions in shipping away these batteries to be recycled shows the commitment and ‘kuleana’ or responsibility that they have to all of us as homesteaders, land stewards, and to our Hawaiian Trust lands. Collectively, we continue to celebrate our lasting partnership in ‘mālama ʻāina,’ or taking care of our island and taking care of our planet.”
Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative was formed in November of 2002 and is one of America’s newest electric cooperatives; one of approximately 900 electric cooperatives serving electric consumers in 48 states. KIUC operates as a not-for-profit organization that is owned by its members and governed by an elected board of directors. The cooperative is committed to making energy more affordable by reducing its dependence on fossil fuels and increasing its use of renewable energy sources, and in 2022 reported 60% renewable generation. KIUC is making significant progress toward its goal of using renewable resources to generate 100 percent of Kauai’s power by 2033. Learn more at www.kiuc.coop.
About Redwood Materials
Redwood Materials is creating a circular supply chain to drive down the environmental footprint and cost of lithium-ion batteries and the electric vehicles and sustainable energy storage systems they power. Founded by JB Straubel, the Nevada-based company is offering large-scale sources of anode and cathode materials produced at scale in the U.S. for the first time, from recycled batteries. Redwood is ramping its Northern Nevada facility and is breaking ground on its second Battery Materials Campus, outside Charleston, South Carolina. Both of Redwood’s campuses will recycle, refine, and manufacture battery materials, aiming to scale production of components to 100 GWh annually. More information is available at redwoodmaterials.com.
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Communications and Public Relations Specialist
Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative
Senior Manager of Public Affairs & Advocacy