AES Distributed Energy (AES DE), a wholly owned subsidiary of The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES), is a trusted energy partner delivering reliable and affordable solar PV projects on a standalone basis or paired with storage. AES DE currently operates over 50 MW of solar and solar + storage across the Hawaiian Islands, with another 100 MW solar + storage in development on O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island. AES DE shares the state’s commitment to a greener and more resilient energy future and helping the state realize its goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2045.
Environmental Compliance, Impacts and Permitting Plan
Overall land use and environmental permits and approvals strategy
AES DE is deeply committed to working with the community, area leaders, policy makers and regulators to responsibly develop and operate all of its projects. To that end, our strategic approach is to engage early and often with stakeholders to share information about the project and most importantly, gather feedback to address issues that may arise. This sensitive approach is intended to enable timely approvals.
Permit applications and approval activities
City Zoning and Land Use Classification
The Project area is located within the State of Hawai‘i agricultural land use district and the City & County of Honolulu General Agricultural (AG-2) zoning district. The Project will be designed to occur only on land with the least productive soils (Class E) as classified by the Land Study Bureau (LSB) such that a state special use permit is not expected to be required.
The proposed solar facility is consistent with these state and county land use regulations. No changes in the land use classification or zoning district would be required for Project implementation.
Discretionary and non-discretionary land use, environmental and construction permits and approvals
Based on a preliminary review, the following determinations have been made:
- Federal permits or approvals are not anticipated for project implementation
- Compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is not anticipated
City and County of Honolulu
- a Conditional Use Permit (minor) is anticipated
- a Zoning Waiver may be required
- Additional building permits are anticipated, including:
- Electrical permits
- Grading/grubbing/stockpiling permits
State of Hawai‘i
- An Environmental Assessment (EA) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) are not anticipated – the project does not “trigger” HRS Chapter 343.
- Certain construction-related State permits may be required, including:
- a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit
- a Noise Permit
- Compliance and coordination with the State Historic Preservation Division under HRS Chapter 6E is anticipated
Listing of anticipated Permits and approvals
Environmental Compliance, Impacts and Permitting Plan
Preliminary environmental assessment of the site (including any pre-existing environmental conditions)
AES DE and its environmental consultant have conducted a preliminary assessment of the environmental conditions at the site. The assessment included a review of publicly available maps, studies, and information as well as previous environmental reports prepared for the property.
Solar PV + BESS systems do not impact air quality as there are no emissions.
Natural Habitats and Ecosystems
The Project area has been heavily disturbed by previous agriculture practices, as such, previous biological surveys for the property have indicated no habitats dominated by native species or other sensitive ecosystems are known to be present within the Project area.
Previous biological surveys conducted for the property indicate that the vegetation is typical of those found in agricultural or disturbed areas on leeward O‘ahu. No federally or state listed threatened or endangered plant species (or those proposed or candidate species for listing) are known to occur within the Project area.
Previous studies conducted have indicated no federally or state listed threatened or endangered wildlife species (or those proposed or candidate species for listing) are known to occur within the Project area, and no critical habitat has been designated within the Project area.
The Project is not anticipated to have an impact on local (or non-local) climate.
Flood and tsunami hazards
The project is not within the FEMA 100-year flood plain or the tsunami evacuation zone.
Once operational, the Project is anticipated to generate minimal noise.
Roadways and Traffic
A traffic impact analysis report (TIAR) will be conducted and any required mitigation will be implemented during the construction phase of the project. Once operational and for the duration of the project, it is anticipated there will be minimal new traffic generation.
A visual impact analysis will be conducted. The system will be designed to minimize visual impacts to the extent practicable.
The facility is not anticipated to generate solid waste.
The Project is not anticipated to have an impact on water quality. Best Management Practices (BMPs) will be implemented to avoid water features and minimize runoff or other potential water quality impacts.
Cultural Resource Impacts
Proposer’s updated Community Outreach plan must include a plan that (1) identifies any cultural, historic or natural resources that will be impacted by the project (2) describes the potential impacts on these resources and (3) identifies measures to mitigate such impacts
A Cultural Impact Assessment and an Archaeological Inventory Survey (AIS) have been performed for this site. The AIS was accepted by the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD).
Existing studies will be updated as necessary in consultation with SHPD under Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (HRS) Chapter 6E, including, if determined to be required, an Archaeological Monitoring Plan (AMP) which outlines the plan for on-site monitoring during excavation and other ground-disturbing activities during construction to address the potential for isolated pockets of buried cultural material.
Detailed Community Outreach Plan
AES DE is deeply committed to being an active, invested member in the communities we serve.
Community Outreach Plan:
- Identify and maintain a list of area leaders, interested stakeholders and regional community organizations
- Provide Project information on an ongoing basis, including:
- Environmental benefits
- Economic benefits
- Job creation
- Gather Project feedback on an ongoing basis
Specific methods to share information and collect feedback may include, but not limited to:
- Conducting Community Meeting(s);
- Issuance of Community Meeting Notices;
- Media outreach;
- Outreach to area organizations, community leaders and elected officials;
- Social media;
- Dedicated email address to gather input, comments and questions;
- Project website; and
- Direct mail
As an initial step in the strategic community outreach process, the AES DE project team will conduct a public meeting in the community where the proposed Project is to be located. Due to the uncertainty of the effects of COVID-19 related social distancing measures, a virtual community meeting may be held.
Provide your comments or get the latest project information.
Local community support or opposition
AES DE will directly engage and listen carefully to community feedback regarding the Project. Through this process, project support and opposition will be identified.
Community outreach efforts
AES DE has begun preliminary engagement with key officials, community leaders and interested stakeholder organizations
AES DE anticipates that initial community benefits from the Project will include delivery of clean, locally produced renewable energy as well as the generation of local jobs and economic activity. In addition, the Project will directly help the island achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy and offset reliance on imported fossil fuel.
As predevelopment of the Project proceeds, additional opportunities for benefits will be explored in direct collaboration with the area communities.