Hawaiian Electric Companies has announced that it has asked the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to review and approve its proposed contract with Fortis Hawaii Energy Inc. to import LNG for electricity generation on Oahu, Hawaii Island and Maui.
If approved, Hawaiian Electric envisions beginning use of natural gas in 2021 with a 20-year contract ending as Hawai'i approaches its 100% renewable energy goal.
Ron Cox, Hawaiian Electric Vice President for Power Supply, said: "We are committed to achieving our state's 100% renewable energy goal with a diverse mix of renewable resources […] As we make this transition, LNG is a cleaner-burning alternative that potentially can provide billions of dollars in savings and stabilise electric bills for our customers compared to continuing to rely on imported oil with its volatile prices. LNG is a superior fuel for the firm generation needed to keep electric service reliable as we increase our use of variable renewables like solar and wind."
Hawaiian Electric is also asking the PUC for authorisation to construct a modern, efficient, combined-cycle generation system at the Kahe Power Plant.
The Fortis Hawaii contract is contingent on PUC approval of the merger of Hawaiian Electric with NextEra Energy. This project requires substantial upfront financial support and expertise that NextEra Energy can provide. If the merger is not approved, the Hawaiian Electric Companies said that it would still be interested in pursuing on their own the benefits of LNG for customers, but the companies would need to negotiate a new contract which likely would mean lower, delayed savings for customers and delayed benefits for the environment.
Edited from press release by Callum O'Reilly
Read the article online at: https://www.lngindustry.com/liquefaction/20052016/hawaiian-electric-company-requests-approval-from-puc-2478/