How do we ensure that Hawaii's energy needs will be met reliably and affordably for the years to come?
It takes careful consideration of likely future demand for electricity and selecting the best mix of energy resources to meet that demand. That choice is not a matter of “either/or,” but rather an array of solutions, combining conservation and energy efficiency, renewables, new greener fuels, distributed generation technologies as well as clean and efficient central power plants.
To find the right mix, the Hawaiian Electric companies use a process called Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) established by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission in 1992. IRP was intended to forecast energy demand and analyze the best ways to meet it through demand-side and generation options. Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Company each have undertaken a separate IRP process for their service territory in the past that aimed to create a 20-year plan with a five-year action plan for implementation.
Today, the urgency is even greater for Hawaii to reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels and move more quickly toward locally-produced renewable energy and greater energy efficiency. In the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative energy agreement* our state recognized that a more dynamic and responsive process is needed as energy needs and technologies are changing rapidly and are far less predictable, the parties agreed to develop a new Clean Energy Scenario Planning process to replace the Integrated Resource Planning.
In May 2009, the Commission opened Docket No. 2009-0108 to Investigate Proposed Amendments to the Framework for Integrated Resource Planning based on the proposal of a new Clean Energy Scenario Planning process. The Commission issued its Decision and Order (“D&O) in Docket No. 2009 0108 on March 14, 2011 for a revised IRP Framework to govern energy resource planning by electric and gas utilities in the State of Hawaii. Although the Commission maintained the naming of the process as IRP, the process will now incorporate the concept of scenario planning. The revised goal of Integrated Resource Planning is to develop an Action Plan that governs how the utility will meet energy objectives and customer energy needs consistent with state energy policies and goals, while providing safe and reliable utility service at reasonable cost, through the development of Resource Plans and Scenarios of possible futures that provide a broader long-term perspective.
As part of the IRP process, an Advisory Group will be established and members will be selected by the Public Utilities Commission. The mission of the Advisory Group is to provide Hawaiian Electric with the benefit of community perspectives by participating in the utility’s IRP process and representing diverse community, environmental, social, political, or cultural interests consistent with the goal of IRP.
On March 1, 2012, the Public Utilities Commission issued Order No. 30233 initiating the HECO Companies' Integrated Resource Planning Process based on the revised IRP framework. Under the new framework, an Independent Entity has been selected to provide unbiased oversight of the process and facilitate Advisory Group participation and input. The Independent Entity has established a website to facilitate communication for the Advisory Group. Information about the current IRP process and Advisory Group meetings can be found here.
* To learn more about the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative and the Energy Agreement, click here
Together, the Hawaiian Electric Companies will consider the need for energy in the long-term and the mix of resources now and into the future to meet your electricity needs safely, reliably – and at reasonable cost to you.
To learn more about the IRP process, click on these links: