THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

930

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

S.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO RENEWABLE ENERGY.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that accelerating the development of renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gases is a high priority. The legislature has enacted numerous acts to achieve this objective, including:

(1) Act 97, Session Laws of Hawaii 2015, which established a Renewable Portfolio Standards target of one hundred per cent renewable electric energy by 2045;

(2) Act 15, Session Laws of Hawaii 2018, which established a statewide zero emissions clean economy target to sequester more atmospheric carbon and greenhouse gases than emitted within the State as quickly as practicable, but no later than 2045; and

(3) Act 23, Session Laws of Hawaii 2020, which prohibited the further use of coal in Hawaii for electricity production to advance these goals.

Accordingly, the legislature finds that the development and completion of renewable energy is also a high priority.

The public utilities commission (PUC) has expressed concerns regarding the significant delay in the interconnection process related to the Hawaiian Electric Company's (HECO) bid solicitation for utility-scale renewable energy, Request for Procurement (RFP) Phase 1. Efforts will need to be made to avoid similar delays in RFP Phase 2. For example, in a November 13, 2020, letter issued to the Service Lists in Docket Nos. 2015-0389 (Community Based Renewable Energy), 2017-0352 (HECO's RFP Phases 1 and 2), and 2018-0165 (Integrated Grid Planning), the PUC stated that it "is markedly concerned that Hawaiian Electric's interconnection processes and policies are increasing development costs and extending renewable project timelines."

In addition, in Docket No. 2018-0088 (Performance Based Regulation), the PUC issued Order No. 37507 on December 23, 2020, indicating that it was concerned about interconnection delays and implemented a Performance Incentive Mechanism to encourage HECO to accelerate the interconnection process. The order also stated that "the scheduled retirement of the AES power plant in 2022, as well as [HECO's] proposal to delay interconnecting several renewable energy and storage projects recently approved by the [PUC], underscores the need for expeditiously securing alternative sources of grid services to ensure that system needs are met."

In RFP Phase 1, the power purchase agreement applications for the first seven of eight renewable energy projects were submitted by HECO to the PUC for the approval in December 2018, and the eighth was submitted in February 2019. However, HECO did not submit the interconnection transmission line requests for approval until some eighteen and twenty-one months later for five of the projects. As of January 2021, HECO has still not submitted requests for approval for two projects. In September 2020, HECO indicated for the first time that one project did not require an interconnection transmission line.

The legislature finds that there have been significant delays for HECO to complete its interconnection process so that utility-scale renewable energy projects know how it may interconnect with HECO's electric grid and begin construction.

The legislature finds that facilitating the timing of interconnection will not only help to bring utility-scale renewable energy projects online sooner, but will also:

(1) Decrease electricity rates for consumers by providing project developers added certainty regarding timing to lower bid pricing;

(2) Help to achieve the State's renewable portfolio standard goals in a timely manner; and

(3) Help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions earlier to mitigate climate change.

The purpose of this Act is to facilitate the timely interconnection of utility-scale renewable energy projects.

SECTION 2. Section 269-142, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsections (a) and (b) to read as follows:

"(a) The commission [may] shall adopt, by rule or order, reliability standards and interconnection requirements. Reliability standards and interconnection requirements adopted by the commission shall apply to any electric utility and any user, owner, or operator of the Hawaii electric system. The commission shall not contract for the performance of the functions under this subsection to any other entity as provided under section 269-147.

(b) The commission [may] shall develop reliability standards and interconnection requirements as it determines necessary or upon recommendation from any entity, including an entity contracted by the commission to serve as the Hawaii electricity reliability administrator provided for under this part, for the continuing reliable design and operation of the Hawaii electric system. Any reliability standard or interconnection requirement developed by the commission shall be adopted by the commission in accordance with subsection (a) [in order] to be effective. The commission shall not contract for the performance of the functions under this subsection to any other entity as provided under section 269-147."

SECTION 3. Section 269-145, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]269-145[]] Grid access; procedures for interconnection; dispute resolution. (a) Each user, owner, or operator of the Hawaii electric system, or any other person, business, or entity seeking to make an interconnection on the Hawaii electric system shall do so in accordance with procedures to be established by the commission by rule or order.

(b) The interconnection procedures established by the commission shall require electric public utilities to:

(1) Complete the interconnection design;

(2) Reach agreement with the renewable energy project developer; and

(3) File a request for interconnection or line extension approval, if required,

with the commission as soon as practicable, but no later than two hundred seventy days after the renewable energy project power purchase agreement is filed with the commission for review and approval; provided that the electric public utility shall submit interim reports to the commission on the status of complying with the requirements of this subsection both ninety days and one hundred eighty days after the renewable energy project power purchase agreement is filed with the commission for review and approval; provided further that if the electric public utility is unable to comply with the requirements of this subsection, the electric public utility shall report in writing the reasons therefore to the commission within ten calendar days after the expiration of the two hundred seventy-day period.

If the electric public utility fails to meet the requirements within the two hundred seventy-day period, the electric public utility shall forfeit and return all monies or other financial incentives it has received as part of any performance incentive mechanism program or similar incentive-based award recognized by the commission in connection with the renewable energy project. The commission shall report to the legislature and the governor the failure to meet the timing under this subsection by any electric public utility within thirty days after first being notified of such failure.

Upon the filing of a request for interconnection or line extension approval by an electric public utility under this subsection, the commission shall either approve or disapprove the request within one hundred twenty days of the filing of the request.

This subsection shall only apply to utility-scale renewable energy projects that are five megawatts in total output capacity or larger.

[(b)] (c) The commission shall have the authority to make final determinations regarding any dispute between any user, owner, or operator of the Hawaii electric system, or any other person, business, or entity connecting to the Hawaii electric system, concerning either an existing interconnection on the Hawaii electric system or an interconnection to the Hawaii electric system created under the processes established by the commission under this section."

SECTION 4. Section 269-146, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

"(a) The commission [may] shall require, by rule or order, that all utilities, persons, businesses, or entities connecting to the Hawaii electric system, or any other user, owner, or operator of any electric element that is a part of an interconnection on the Hawaii electric system shall pay a surcharge that shall be collected by Hawaii's electric utilities. The commission shall not contract or otherwise delegate the ability to create the Hawaii electricity reliability surcharge under this section to any other entity. This surcharge amount shall be known as the Hawaii electricity reliability surcharge."

SECTION 5. Section 269-147, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

"(a) The commission [may] shall contract for the performance of its functions under this part with a person, business, or organization, except for a public utility as defined under this chapter, that will serve as the Hawaii electricity reliability administrator provided for under this part; provided that the commission shall not contract for the performance of its functions under sections 269-142(a) and (b) and 269-146."

SECTION 6. Section 269-149, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]269-149[]] Funding; reporting. (a) The Hawaii electricity reliability administrator shall use funds collected through the Hawaii electricity reliability surcharge provided for under section 269-146 to carry out its operations, including administrative, technological, or other related requirements for effectively ensuring the reliability of the Hawaii electric system.

(b) The Hawaii electricity reliability administrator shall report to the commission each year on the date of agreement under section 269-147 following the original contracting between the Hawaii electricity reliability administrator and the commission on the status of its operations, financial position, and a projected operational budget for the fiscal year following the date of the report.

(c) The Hawaii electricity reliability administrator shall be subject to regulation by the commission under any provision applicable to a public utility in sections 269-7, 269-8, 269‑8.2, 269-8.5, 269-9, 269-10, 269-13, 269-15, 269-19.5, and 269-28. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the Hawaii electricity reliability administrator shall not be an electric public utility or an electric public utility affiliate.

(d) Within thirty days of receipt of the report provided by the Hawaii electric reliability administrator to the commission under this section, the commission shall submit the report to the legislature along with the commission's assessment of the status and progress of the Hawaii electric reliability administrator in achieving and accomplishing the objectives of this part."

SECTION 7. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 8. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.


 


 

Report Title:

Renewable Energy; Transmission Lines; Timely Interconnection

 

Description:

Facilitates the timely interconnection and transmission lines for renewable energy projects. (SD1)

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.