Hawaiian Electric withdraws request for approval of LNG contract, generation upgrades

Following the termination of the proposed merger with NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE), the Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO) on July 19 withdrew their applications for approval of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) contract with Fortis Hawaii Energy, plans to upgrade Kahe Power Plant to use natural gas, and a waiver from competitive bidding to upgrade the plant.

Because of the resources these specific combined projects required, one condition of the LNG contract was approval of the proposed merger with NextEra Energy. On July 18, NextEra Energy announced it would no longer pursue the merger after the application was dismissed without prejudice by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

The PUC had voted 2-0, with one commissioner abstaining, on July 15, to reject the merger plan, and find that it was not in the public interest. The vote ended the proposed merger between NextEra and Hawaiian Electric Industries (NYSE:HE) (HEI), the parent of HECO.

HECO had sought to convert several existing oil-fired units to dual-fuel capability in order to take advantage of new LNG imports.

“We’re committed to transitioning to 100% renewable energy in the most cost-effective way possible while ensuring reliable service,” said Ron Cox, Hawaiian Electric vice president of power supply. “We’ll continue to evaluate all options to modernize generation using a cleaner fuel to bring price stability and support adding renewable energy for our customers,” Cox said.

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.