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EGEB: Hawaii’s Kauai to pass 80% green energy with solar and hydro

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Hawaii’s Kauai island has agreed on a large-scale solar PV system with pumped hydro energy storage.
  • The UK’s electricity system sees the best year on record for green energy in 2020.
  • UnderstandSolar is a free service that links you to top-rated solar installers in your region for personalized solar estimates. Tesla now offers price matching, so it’s important to shop for the best quotes. Click here to learn more and get your quotes. — *ad.

Solar and hydro in Kauai

In Hawaii, a power purchase agreement (PPA) has been signed between local electric utility Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) and energy company AES Corporation for the West Kauai Energy Project (WKEP). The PPA will provide a large-scale solar PV system with pumped hydro energy storage on the island of Kauai.

The system could meet up to 25% of Kauai’s energy demand, boosting its green energy in its energy mix to more than 80%. Kauai reached 55% green energy by the end of 2019.

As Energy Storage News explains:

The WKEP project, which will combine a 35MW solar PV system with 240MWh of pumped hydro storage, will take that percentage much further. The facility will also include some battery storage to help control the time-shifting of stored solar energy into the island’s evening peak as well as hydropower generation to contribute further renewable generation capacity.

The pumped hydro facility will be able to output 24MW of power on average per day and store energy for up to 12 hours.

Hawaii is aiming to reach 100% green energy by 2045. It has the highest amount of solar capacity deployed per capita.

UK breaks green energy record in 2020

The UK’s national grid reported yesterday that the country had its best green energy year on record in 2020.

The National Grid’s Electricity System Operator said:

Significant periods of coal-free electricity generation and record-breaking levels of power from zero carbon sources were key factors…while record low electricity demand during the nation’s lockdown also contributed.

The record for the highest-ever level of wind generation was broken several times during the year – most recently on December 18 (17.2GW) – while August 26 saw wind contributing its highest-ever share to the electricity mix (59.9%).

Solar also set new records for its highest-ever level of generation (9.7GW) and its highest share in the mix (34%), providing one-third of Britain’s electricity supplies on several occasions in May.

Reuters reports:

Measures on homes and business to contain the novel coronavirus curbed electricity demand last year.

The country was powered coal-free for over 5,147 hours in 2020, compared with 3,666 hours in 2019, National Grid ESO said.

In total coal provided 1.6% of Britain’s electricity in 2020, compared with around 25% five years ago.

The UK intends to close all of its coal plants by 2024.

Photo: International Hydropower Association/Flickr

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.