[NEWS] Developer of Unfinished Hawaii Biomass Facility Goes After Utility
– by Duane Shimogawa, May 19, 2016, Pacific Business News
Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC, the developer of a $225 million biomass plant on the Big Island of Hawaii that is about 50 percent complete, is asking state regulators to investigate a Hawaiian Electric Co. subsidiary’s attempts to cancel the power purchase agreement with the two companies, Hu Honua said Thursday.
In March, Hawaii Electric Light Co. terminated its power purchase agreement with Hu Honua Bioenergy, developer of the 21.5-megawatt plant, after it missed several deadlines that were part of the agreement between the two companies.
Hu Honua is asking the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to investigate HELCO and HECO for “refusal over the past 14 months to provide Hu Honua with reasonable milestone extensions to construct its plant, their improper attempt to terminate Hu Honua’s commission-approved agreement, which will deprive ratepayers of renewable power de-linked from volatile fossil fuel prices and claims that Hu Honua’s proposed pricing concessions provide no benefit to consumers, despite failing to provide any analysis, explanation or facts to support those claims.”
On the heels of the attempted termination of Hu Honua’s agreement, HELCO filed an updated power supply improvement plan on April 1, proposing a HELCO-owned 20-megawatt biomass power plant on the Big Island with an estimated completion date in either 2024 or 2027. “Had we not had these issues with the agreement, Hu Honua’s biomass facility could have been completed and operational by mid-2017,” Hu Honua officials said. “HELCO has failed to tell the PUC how the community HELCO serves on Hawaii benefits from HELCO’s effort to prevent the completion of Hu Honua’s facility in favor of its own biomass power plant that won’t be built for a decade.”
Jay Ignacio, president of Hawaii Electric Light, told PBN and Hu Honua’s statements are “woefully inaccurate and misleading.”