AES gets break from federal commission on Hawaii coal plant

FERC sent AES Hawaii Inc. a June 1 letter approval that grants a temporary waiver for 2011 on a qualifying facility (QF) requirement for the coal-fired AES Barbers Point plant on Oahu.

AES Hawaii, a unit of AES Corp. (NYSE: AES), owns a 180-MW, topping-cycle cogeneration QF located on the island of Oahu, which consists of two circulating-fluidized-bed boilers utilizing clean coal technology, and one steam turbine. It supplies electricity to Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) under a long-term power purchase agreement and provides steam to an unaffiliated oil refinery owned and operated by Chevron USA.

For a topping-cycle cogeneration facility, the useful thermal energy output of the facility under the QF standards must be no less than 5% of the total energy output of the facility for any calendar year subsequent to the year in which the facility first produces electric energy.

AES explained that the plant would have complied with the operating standard for calendar year 2011, but for an unexpected forced boiler outage requiring substantial repairs in November and December 2011. AES said that even with the significant drop in steam production caused by the forced boiler outage, the ratio of useful thermal output to total energy output was 4.59% in 2011, just short of the 5% standard. AES said it does not anticipate seeking future waivers.

U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows the AES Hawaii plant taking coal in March from affiliate AES Gener, which has coal-fired generating capacity in Chile.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.