Hawaiian Electric scraps plan to expand LNG in Hawaii

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Now that the deal between Hawaiian Electric and NextEra Energy is no more, the utility can no longer expand into liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Hawaiian Electric withdrew applications that sought approval for an 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.

The LNG contract hindered on the approval of the proposed merger with NextEra.

“We’re committed to transitioning to 100-percent renewable energy in the most cost-effective way possible while ensuring reliable service. 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,” said Ron Cox, Hawaiian Electric vice president of power supply.

So what’s next? On Tuesday, lawmakers held an informational briefing to urge the utility to work openly and collaboratively on the next steps moving forward and to discuss priorities.

“The faster we can do that, the better we’ll be. The thing now is we need a utility partner as well as local partners that will help us build that grid of the future and do so in the interest of the public first and foremost,” said Rep. Chris Lee, chair of the House energy and environmental protection committee.

Lawmakers are also exploring which options could be best for consumers.

“This year the legislature included funding to begin doing the deep financial and technical analysis to look at all the utility alternative options that are out there to figure out which will save the most money for consumers, which will get us to our renewable goals the fastest, and be the right choice the public wants,” Lee said.

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