Hawaii Gas believes it can save Hawaii residents millions of dollars by introducing liquefied natural gas as an alternative fuel source.
On Tuesday, the utility released findings from an 18-month bid process to determine the cost of supplying natural gas to Hawaii, and for a third party to own and operate an offshore floating storage unit that would store LNG and convert it back into natural gas for customer use.
Hawaii Gas estimates it would cost $200 million to meet infrastructure requirements, and says LNG could reduce the cost of energy for its customers by more than 25 percent.
According to the utility, had LNG been introduced last year, it would have saved customers $132 million in fuel costs, and $1.3 billion over a 15-year period.
“In terms of the benefits as you compare it to oil, the savings are there,” said Hawaii Gas president and CEO Alicia Moy. “It’s less volatile and it’s cleaner in terms of emissions, so if you transition off of oil for the power plants to use natural gas, they’ll be able to meet a lot of the new EPA standards.”
Sierra Club of Hawaii director Marti Townsend opposes the idea, arguing that industrialized gas is toxic and harmful to the environment.
“How irresponsible of Hawaii Gas (to) dangle a specious promise of lower energy prices for a fuel that will exacerbate the hardships climate change inflicts on us, people who rely on the environment for our economic and spiritual well-being,” Townsend said in a statement.
Any LNG project would need to be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Public Utilities Commission.