Renewable Energy Transformation Planning

Situation: The State of Hawaii mandated that 100% of its utility’s electricity must come from renewable energy sources by 2045. This was a major shift since, in 2014, over 80% of Hawaii’s electricity came from fossil fuels. The transformation required diversifying the State’s energy portfolio and modernizing its grid to handle intermittent renewables and “prosumers”. This required an integrated planning process that factored in many technology, policy, pricing and adoption scenarios over 25+ years. The number of options was massive and future uncertainty was high. Planning needed to occur at different levels of granularity, and scenarios needed to be updated as parameters changed.

Solution: Hawaiian Electric hired Black & Veatch to develop a rigorous adaptive planning approach to inform their 100% renewable energy transition. Black & Veatch used the nD platform to structure and power the simulations and scenario analyses. A dynamic planning approach was used to define the proper requirements, compare the available options, define the most cost-effective path and identify the timing and order of capital construction. nD produced thousands of generation and dispatch simulations consisting of trillions of data points. The resulting insights were used in predictors to estimate and visually compare the value of different distributed energy resources and demand response programs under different grid transformation scenarios. This provided an understanding of the most environmentally, economically and customer-benefitting transitional approaches. It was used to inform Hawaiian Electric’s grid modernization strategy that was submitted to the PUC.