- An acquisition agreement filed with the state's Public Utilities Commission shows that Hawaiian Electric has tapped NextEra Energy as a consulting partner on its proposal to import liquefied natural gas (LNG).
- But plans for the LNG import facility are uncertain, Pacific Business News reports, in part because Hawaii has a goal of reaching 100% renewable power by 2045.
- NextEra has agreed to purchase HECO for $4.3 billion, and the agreement also shows HECO will need to consult with NextEra on a range of business decisions including asset sales in excess of $50 million.
Pacific Business News reports Hawaiian Electric has signed NextEra as a fuels consultant on its proposed $235 million LNG import terminal. The disclosure would appear to show the two companies tightening their business relationship as they move towards approval of their merger
But the deal faces criticism from observers concerned about what they say is NextEra's less-than-stellar record with renewables at its Florida Power & Light subsidiary. Hawaii Gov. David Ige has opposed the deal, saying NextEra's plans for the utility do not “align with the state’s 100% renewable energy goal."
That led Hawaiian Electric President and CEO Alan Oshima to issue his own statement: "As more information is provided throughout this process, we feel strongly that others will also conclude that this partnership with NextEra Energy will result in significant benefits for our customers and for Hawaii's leadership in clean energy."
But plans for the LNG terminal -- which, as proposed, would bring in up to 800,000 tons of the fuel annually -- remain uncertain. HECO has told regulators the state's 100% renewable goal poses a challenge, and it is still working to decide between a bulk terminal and one that would utilize containers of LNG.
HECO's LNG proposal is not the only one, however. In June, Hawaii Gas said it remained on track to begin importing liquefied natural gas in 2019. The company plans to supply independent power producers on the island, along with other industries, potentially saving the state up to $100 million by shifting away from more expensive fuel oil.