By AUDREY McAVOY
HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaiian Electric Co. is asking the Public Utilities Commission for the authority to negotiate five new solar and wind energy power contracts.
The utility says the contracts would charge an average of 1-third less for electricity than what Hawaiian Electric now pays for power generated from oil, solar and wind.
Hawaiian Electric spokesman Darren Pai said Wednesday the utility may not disclose the names of the companies or groups that would operate the five projects because specifics are currently proprietary.
Hawaiian Electric normally must put power generation contracts out for competitive bid. It's asking the PUC for permission to bypass this process to help buy energy from renewable resources more quickly.
The utility aims to have the projects in service by the end of 2015.