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Hawaiian Electric proposes natural gas for lower cost

Staff writer |
The Hawaiian Electric Companies asked the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve a proposed contract with Fortis Hawaii Energy to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) for electricity generation on Oahu, Hawaii Island and Maui.

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Hawaiian Electric envisions beginning use of natural gas in 2021 with a 20-year contract.
The contract, the culmination of a request for proposals issued two years ago, would provide a cleaner, low-cost fuel to replace oil in the transition to achieving Hawaii's 100 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2045.

If approved, Hawaiian Electric envisions beginning use of natural gas in 2021 with a 20-year contract ending as Hawai'i approaches its 100 percent renewable energy goal.

"We are committed to achieving our state's 100 percent renewable energy goal with a diverse mix of renewable resources," said Ron Cox, Hawaiian Electric vice president for power supply.

"As we make this transition, LNG is a cleaner-burning alternative that potentially can provide billions of dollars in savings and stabilize 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."

At the same time, Hawaiian Electric is asking the PUC for authorization to construct a modern, efficient, combined-cycle generation system at the Kahe Power Plant to get the maximum customer benefits from use of cleaner, less expensive natural gas; better support integration of renewable energy; and facilitate retirement of three older, oil-fired generators at the Kahe Power Plant.

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