Hawaiian Electric plans to mothball 1950s vintage oil plant

Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) will deactivate or mothball its Honolulu oil-fired power plant effective Jan. 31, 2014, the utility said Sept. 3.

HECO is part of Hawaiian Electric Industries (NYSE:HE). The company has previously said that it would remove the plant from active service, but had not identified a specific date.

The plant’s two remaining oil-fired generating units have a combined generating capacity of 113 MW. Deactivation” means the power plant will no longer be available for routine service. However, if necessary to avoid a power shortage to customers and with appropriate preparation, deactivated units could be restored to operation, HECO said in a statement.

The move is part of HECO’s ongoing effort to increase the use of renewable energy and reduce Hawaii’s dependency on imported fossil fuel. The Honolulu plant went into service in 1954. In 1957, the power plant was officially named after Leslie A. Hicks, who was Hawaiian Electric’s president at the time it was opened.

Deactivation of Honolulu Power Plant is part of a plan to mothball a total of 226 MW of utility-owned generation by 2016, as described in the companies’ new Integrated Resource Plan filed with the Public Utilities Commission at the end of June.

Two generating units at the Waiau power plant are scheduled for deactivation by 2016. Hawaii Island’s Shipman plant, which has already been deactivated, will be retired in 2014. And on Maui, two of Kahului power plant’s four units will be deactivated in 2014, and all four units will be retired by 2019.

As of mid-2013, more than 18% of the electricity used by customers of the three Hawaiian Electric’ companies comes from renewable resources, exceeding the state’s 2015 goal of 15%.

Hawaiian Electric is also seeking permission from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to pursue five more renewable energy projects on Oahu with a combined capacity of 64 MW.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.