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Oahu Wind Integration and Transmission Study

The Oahu Wind Integration and Transmission Study examined the integration of renewable energy as part of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative's Energy Agreement. The agreement includes a commitment to integrate up to 400 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind energy from Molokai or Lanai and transmit it to Oahu via undersea cable systems. The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative also includes an aggressive mandate for the state of Hawaii to generate 40% of its energy from renewable resources by 2030. The wind projects are a significant part of the 40% renewable energy goal.

The goal of the Oahu Wind Integration and Transmission Study was to help stakeholders, especially utilities and the state, understand the costs and operating impacts of significant amounts of wind power—up to 400 MW offshore and 100 MW on island—on their island grids and plan for future transmission.

The scope of the study included:

  • Identifying the technical requirements and configuration for an undersea inter-island cable to transmit electricity from large wind plants to Oahu
  • Identifying the ancillary services and potential mitigation measures to offset the variable nature of planned wind generation
  • Evaluating potential modifications to the utilities' existing generating units to offset the variable nature of wind energy
  • Changing some of the utilities' operational practices and procedures required to operate the island grids with inter-island wind integration.

A technical review committee of regional, national, and international technical experts with experience in electric power systems, renewable energy, direct-current cable systems, island grids, and wind integration guided and reviewed the study and provided feedback on key assumptions, methods, and preliminary results.

The Oahu Wind Integration and Transmission Study was sponsored by the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO); the state of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; and the U.S. Department of Energy. The project team consisted of NREL, General Electric, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI), and HECO.

For More Information

For more information about the Oahu Wind Integration and Transmission Study, see the following resources. Additional publications can be found in the NREL Publications Database.


David Corbus