Hawaii PUC reviews power line for 13.8-MW NextEra solar project

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has scheduled a Feb. 12 local public hearing on an application by Hawaiian Electric for a power line that will serve a 13.8-MW solar project of NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE).

Hawaiian Electric (HECO) wants to construct a 46-kV overhead sub-transmission line extension in Waianae. Oahu. It will be an extension of HECO’s existing Kahe-Permanente 46 kV overhead sub-transmission line located along Farrington Highway in Leeward, Oahu.

The purpose of the proposed extension is to interconnect HECO’s electric system with the proposed 13.8-MW solar photovoltaic facility that will be owned and operated by Ka La Nui Solar LLC (KLNS), whose ultimate parent entity is NextEra Energy. The proposed photovoltaic facility will be located on land that is leased from Mountain View Dairy in Waianae, Oahu.

Hawaiian Electric assured the commission in a Jan. 8 response to questions that this project and its power purchase agreement (PPA) with it is unrelated to a proposal for NextEra Energy to take over Hawaiian Electric, which was first announced on Dec. 3. “Hawaiian Electric presently does not foresee any impact on the development of the proposed KLNS project from the proposed merger between Hawaiian Electric and NextEra Energy, Inc. To be clear, KLNS is owned and controlled by NextEra Energy Resources, a separate legal entity from NextEra Energy, Inc.

“KLNS did not receive any advantage over other developers because of the proposed merger. The KLNS PPA was negotiated and agreed to by negotiation teams from NextEra Energy Resources and Hawaiian Electric that were unaware of the merger negotiations and therefore the proposed merger played no role in such negotiations. The resulting energy price is within the market range established by the other waiver projects, which is an indication that the negotiations with all developers, including KLNS, were conducted on a fair and competitive basis.

“Hawaiian Electric and NextEra Energy, Inc. will develop and implement protocols and practices to continue to ensure that the proposed merger does not provide an unfair advantage for NextEra Energy, Inc. affiliates with respect to negotiafion or administration of PPAs with Hawaiian Electric. Hawaiian Electric has not disclosed to KLNS any confidential information that was not provided or available to other renewable projects developed by independent power producers.”

Hawaiian Electric in the Jan. 8 filing also addressed a question about an energy storage request for proposals (RFP). “With respect to Hawaiian Electric’s energy storage RFP, Hawaiian Electric narrowed the search for companies to provide up to 200 megawatts of energy storage for O’ahu. More than 60 proposals were received by the July 2014 deadline, responding to the April 2014 RFP. Three finalists were selected after thorough evaluation. Hawaiian Electric is now in negotiations with these finalists. Sizing and design characteristics of the proposed energy storage system(s) will be based on an updated system security analysis, which is currently being finalized.”

NextEra Energy and the Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Electric Light and Maui Electric subsidiaries of Hawaiian Electric Industries (NYSE: HE) on Jan. 30 filed an application with the Hawaii commission requesting approval of their proposed merger.

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.