Power Purchase Agreement for West Kauaʻi Energy Project Receives PUC Approval

The Hawaiʻi Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has granted approval of a power purchase agreement (PPA) between Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) and a subsidiary of The AES Corporation (AES) for the development, construction, and operation of the West Kaua‘i Energy Project (WKEP): a proposed pumped-storage hydropower facility coupled with solar and battery storage.

“This is a significant and important step in our effort to bring this innovative project to completion, which will move Kauaʻi to more than 80% renewable generation and provide up to 25% of Kauaʻi’s power supply,” said KIUC’s President and Chief Executive Officer, David Bissell.

The PPA provides the commercial terms for the sale of electricity and capacity from WKEP to KIUC if or when the project comes on-line, including operational requirements, the schedule for delivery of electricity, penalties for under delivery, and pricing and payment terms.

In its approval, the PUC noted the following, among other benefits:

  • WKEP is expected to result in a significant net reduction in lifecycle and operational greenhouse gas emissions.
  • WKEP represents a new type of renewable energy for the State, featuring a first-of-its-kind pumped hydro storage facility paired with a battery energy storage system.
  • The additional capacity of the project is beneficial because it would increase KIUC’s system reliability and grid stability.
  • The PPA represents a significant step not only towards Hawaiʻi’s renewable energy goals consistent with current Hawaii law, but also towards lower energy prices.
  • KIUC’s fossil fuel consumption will be reduced by approximately 8.5 million gallons of fuel annually.

Bissell noted that WKEP will deliver many benefits to KIUC’s members and the community-at-large, including stabilizing and lowering electricity rates over time, opening up dormant agricultural lands for production, maintaining mandated streamflow for four streams in Kōkeʻe, and increasing public access and recreational opportunities.

“The input received by the community and stakeholders to date in addition to the PUC’s timely review of the PPA is much appreciated,” said Woody Rubin, AES Clean Energy Chief Development Officer. “There is much work yet to be done in order to bring the project to operation. AES looks forward to continuing our successful partnership with KIUC and delivering with it the numerous opportunities the project offers.”

A copy of PUC Decision and Order No. 38095, which includes the specific approvals and conditions imposed by the PUC, may be found on KIUC’s website at:  www.kiuc.coop/wkep.