- NextEra Energy provided cost estimates for Hawaii Electric Co.'s updated Power Supply Improvement Plan (PSIP) that is expected to be submitted to regulators this month, according to documents obtained by the Pacific Business News.
- HECO's latest PSIP was rejected in November 2015 over concerns from regulators that it wouldn't be enough to meet the state's 100% renewables goal and maintain affordable electricity rates. The PSIP was first rejected in 2014.
- NextEra provided the data for eight of the 14 technologies outlined in the updated plan, including 30 MW of on-shore wind, 400 MW of offshore wind, 20 MW of solar photovoltaic systems, 100 MW of concentrated solar power with 10 hours of storage, and more than 500 MW of combined cycle gas.
The revelation that NextEra provided cost estimates for several technologies in HECO's updated PSIP comes amid public worries that the proposed merger between NextEra and HECO's parent company does not align with Hawaii's 100% renewables-by-2045 mandate. NextEra is currently seeking regulatory approval for its $4.3 billion proposed acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI). The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is slated to issue a decision on June 3 or later.
Central to those concerns are allegations from critics such Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) that NextEra's regulated utility Florida Power & Light opposed or slow-walked renewables, especially rooftop solar, in its service area. With Hawaii pushing to meet 100% renewables, opponents say such a track record is unacceptable for the state.
After the PUC appeared to offer guidance following the initial rejection in 2014, HECO's PSIP was rejected for the second time in November 2015.
The commission found the PSIP failed to demonstrate the plan's cost impacts were reasonable, and did not show how to use lower-cost utility-scale renewables and did not adequately address the possibilities of distributed energy resources.
The PUC filing said HEI didn't justify plans to build fossil-fueled power plants nor the cost of its proposals plans for system security. HEI’s proposals for new ancillary services lacked transparency and might not be cost-effective, according to the commission, and the PSIP’s plans for inter-island transmission lacked detail.
Finally, the PUC said the risks to customers and the risks of implementation were inadequately addressed in the PSIP.
A recent Civil Beat poll said more than half of Hawaii residents surveyed opposed the merger, with roughly two-thirds believing the deal will boost their electric rates, already the highest of any state in the nation.