Hawaiʻi Island – Puakō

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Harnessing the power of the sun on Hawaiʻi Island

ENGIE Hawaiʻi’s proposed photovoltaic and energy storage project on Hawaiʻi Island will generate clean, sustainable, affordable electricity from sunlight.

This project, proposed for the Puakō area, has the capability to displace tens of thousands of barrels of imported oil every year. The project will supply lower cost electricity to Hawaiian Electric, and help Hawai‘i Island come closer to achieving its 2045 mandates of carbon neutrality and 100% renewable energy on the grid.

ENGIE Hawaiʻi’s team brings together the global project development expertise of ENGIE, the world’s leader in cost effective zero-carbon transition solutions, with over a decade of local understanding of Hawaiʻi’s community and unique challenges. This global-local approach results in world-class projects that move Hawaiʻi forward.

Solar + storage = savings

New Peak Load Management Challenge diagram

The on-site energy storage battery system that will be part of the Puakō project is designed to capture and store electricity and discharge it at a time of day it is needed most, allowing the delivery of affordable, clean energy to Hawaiʻi Island customers around the clock.

Why was this project proposed?

ENGIE Hawaiʻi’s team brings together the global project development expertise of ENGIE, the world’s leader in cost effective zero-carbon transition solutions, with over a decade of local understanding of Hawaiʻi’s community and unique challenges. This global-local approach results in world-class projects that move Hawaiʻi forward.

What happens next?

Hawaiian Electric will select projects in May to be built over the next two years. Should our projects be selected, we will continue to engage the community as we go through the regulatory process to receive permission to build.

3D rendering of the Puakō solar site

3D rendering of the Puakō solar site

Proposer Name

ENGIE Development LLC

Parent Company

ENGIE SA

Project Name

Puakō Solar PV + Battery Storage

Net AC Capacity

  • 60 MW of PV generation with 240 MWh of storage capacity
  • Alternative: 110 MW of PV generation with 440 MWh of storage capacity

The final capacity will be decided by Hawaiian Electric, should this project be selected.

Proposed Facility Location

Ma uka of Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway near Puakō. Ahupuaʻa Puakō, Waikoloa, and / or Waimea (dependent upon final project design). Moku Kohala.

TMK of Facility Location

3-6-8-001-024

Point of Interconnection’s Circuit or Substation Name

  • The 60 MW/240 MWh design will connect to transmission line L8200.
  • The 110 MW/440 MWh design will connect to transmission lines L8200 and L8300.
Hawaiʻi Island - Puakō - Project Area

Project area for Puakō project: The shaded area indicates the general project location, representing an area larger than the footprint of the project. The project will be within the shaded area.


Environmental Compliance, Impacts & Permitting

The following permits and approvals are anticipated to be required for the construction of this project.

Federal

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Clean Water Act Nationwide Permit, Clean Water Act Section 404 Individual Permit
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Section 7 Endangered Species Act Consultation, Section 10a Endangered Species Act Incidental Take Permit

State of Hawaiʻi

  • Department of Land and Natural Resources, State Historic Preservation Division: Cultural and Historic Resources Review
  • Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife: Hawaiʻi Endangered Species Act Compliance H R S § 195D-1 – 32
  • Land Use Commission: Special Use Permit*
  • Commission on Water Resource Management: Stream Channel Alteration Permit
  • Department of Health: National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit, Community Noise Permit, 401 Water Quality Certification
  • Public Utility Commission: Power Purchase Agreement Approval*
  • Department of Transportation: Oversize / Overweight Vehicles on State Highways

County of Hawaiʻi

Use Permit, Plan Approval, Building Permit, Electrical Permit, Grading Permit, Grubbing Permit, Stockpiling Permit

* – approval processes that include public participation

Permitting & Approval Timeline

County Zoning & Land Use Classification

There are no conservation easements, federal, state, or other public lands within the Project Area. There is state conservation land located directly west of the Project Area, approximately 0.05 miles from the nearest edge of the site. The conservation land consists of approximately 1,375 acres of coastal land. Hāpuna Beach State Recreation Area is located approximately 1.05 miles from the Project Area. No other conservation easements, federal, state, or other public lands were identified within 1 mile of the Project Area.

Preliminary environmental assessment of the site (including any pre-existing environmental conditions)

Based on publicly available data, the proposed Project Area was evaluated to determine presence or absence of critical environmental issues that might constrain solar development.

This investigation revealed no critical issues that would prevent the project from further assessment and design.


Cultural Resource Impacts

Preliminary work has been done to ascertain the likelihood of archaeological and cultural resources on the project site. A review of previously conducted studies of sites in the vicinity of the project site revealed little traditional use of the area before ranching and military use.

Initial research revealed no known burials, and two known archaeological features on the project site. Both archaeological figures are scattered domestic waste that suggest previous habitation of the vicinity. No restrictions or buffer zones were indicated for these sites, but project design will avoid the features.


Community Outreach

The key construct of ENGIE’s community outreach strategy is that ENGIE brings this project to the community, for the community to decide. ENGIE recognizes it is an outsider, but humbly comes to listen, engage, and ensure this project is a good fit.

In addition to the environmental and economic benefits of delivering more clean energy to Hawaiʻi Island, ENGIE Hawaiʻi will utilize its experience in Hawaiʻi’s public schools to educate the community about renewable energy through public tours, student STEM (science / technology / engineering / math) enrichment programs, professional development for teachers, a fellowship program, and scholarships.

Informing stakeholders, businesses, schools, and the neighboring communities during all phases of the project includes a strategy of open and frequent communication. ENGIE can identify the scope of the project to inform the aforementioned stakeholders in a multitude of offerings throughout the project, including educational outreach.

ENGIE has secured an agreement to use the land for this project. ENGIE’s preliminary discussions with community members and leaders did not indicate opposition, but rather, support for this clean energy project.

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