HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii’s largest coal power plant will begin the process of dismantling, the energy company that owns the plant said it could take up to two years to take the facility apart.
Hawaii’s last coal power plant was retired in September 2023 as part of the state’s plan to reach 100% renewable energy by 2045. On Tuesday, May 16, the facility’s owner, AES Hawaii announced future plans for that site.
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The AES Hawaii Market Business Leader Sandra Larsen said, “There aren’t any hazardous materials still at the site, when we retired the plant the last shipment of coal was actually used. We worked in partnership with Hawaiian Electric to make sure there was no coal left over so it’s now about dismantling the plant.”
Contractors for the dismantling project said they are in the permitting phase, which on its own could take several months.
Larsen said, “Ten percent of Oahu’s electricity was powered here so it really is about going through a phasing process.”
Hawaiian Electric said Oahu’s electric rates went up when the plant closed, but oil prices have since come down, with a drop in residential rates of 14.5%.
HECO adds that it is using a mix of energy resources to make up the 180 megawatts the coal-burning power plant once provided.
The Hawaii Energy Office said there are currently five renewable energy sources in operation on Oahu and generated 28% of Oahu’s total electricity generated in 2022.
AES two renewable sources are operating on Oahu. Meanwhile, a solar project on the Big Island is expected to bring electric costs down for customers.
Larsen said, “We expect to bring customer bills down about five dollars a month.”
The AES Corporation COO Bernard Da Santos said they have future plans for the Kapolei site.
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Da Santos said, “We would like to see that we repurpose this facility in order to actually place a new energy solution that is renewable, that is green, that is green with zero emissions.”
The dismantling of the power plant is expected to begin next year in 2024.