Thursday, March 1, 2012

KIUC to develop second large solar project on Kauai

LIHU'E, KAUA'I, HAWAII, USA: Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) announced that it is pursuing a second major solar photovoltaic (PV) project in the 8-10 megawatt (MW) range. KIUC CEO and President David Bissell said, “We desire to expand our portfolio of KIUC-owned solar PV resources to lower our dependence on fossil fuels and the cost of electricity for our members.”

KIUC is issuing a Request for Offer (RFO) to landowners for sites to host the new PV project and is simultaneously inviting PV project developers who have a project and site identified to propose a turnkey construction solution to meet KIUC’s project design objectives.

With this new project, KIUC will have over 20 MW of low cost, member-owned PV projects in active development with construction planned for late 2012 or early 2013. When combined with the previously announced Anahola Solar Project being jointly developed with Homestead Community Development Corporation and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the two projects will provide 10% of Kauai’s energy needs at a cost significantly below current oil-fired generation.

Hydroelectric projects under study could account for another large increase in renewable generation, also at a cost far below that of current generation. “KIUC is well on our way of reaching our target of 50% renewable by 2023. Our board has worked hard to transform KIUC into a results oriented organization able to decisively move toward our strategic goals through both internal project development and relationships with renewable energy developers,” said Phil Tacbian, KIUC Board chairman.

Bissell states: “KIUC is pleased to be at the forefront of economic development on Kaua‘i. Renewable energy projects under development, either KIUC owned or through power purchase agreements, will represent almost $200 million of capital investment and will provide several hundred construction jobs during these challenging economic times.”

“We have the unique opportunity to invest heavily in renewable projects and lower energy costs on Kauai, because of our heavy reliance on expensive oil. Access to low cost financing is a key to delivering cost effective renewable energy, and at a time of historically low rates, RUS financing is the lowest cost available” said Karissa Jonas, KIUC’s CFO. KIUC will be seeking financing from the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility Service (RUS) for the new project and construction financing from Co-operative Finance Corp.“

“The RFO is meant to be less formal than an RFP so that any interested parties that have control of a good solar site, including land owners who haven’t yet worked with a solar PV developer or KIUC, can quickly be considered for the next location of cooperative-owned, low-cost renewable energy,” said KIUC Power Supply manager, Brad Rockwell.

The RFO will be issued, March 2, with a deadline of March 26. The evaluation process will consider, among other things, each site’s location, commercial terms, and environmental aspects, with possible short-list candidates being selected for lease negotiations. A formal Request for Proposal (RFP) for solar Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) services may follow site selection, depending on whether the selected site includes a PV project EPC option.

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