State criticizes Hawaiian Electric's plans - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State criticizes Hawaiian Electric's plans

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state issued a scathing report against Hawaiian Electric Companies questioning major parts of the company's recent power supply plans. 

Hawaii is the most oil dependent state in the country even though it is "blessed with diverse renewable energy sources."  The state says Hawaiian Electric is not doing enough to retire old, inefficient fossil generators.

The 86 page report is in response to Hawaiian Electric's recent Power Supply Improvement Plan which called for burning more liquefied natural gas.  The state says the plan left much to be desired saying, "Hawaii cannot be a trail blazer in energy innovation by solving tomorrow's problems with yesterdays solutions."

The State wants to go beyond 60 percent renewable energy by 2030 while modernizing the grid and lowering costs.  However the state wrote, "Traditionally, the HEI Companies' approach has been to react slowly to change. It is easy to view this reaction as indifference, passive opposition, or active obstruction to change."

"We simply feel they don't go far enough fast enough. Our criticism is really that we see the energy policy objectives and our energy policy goals and renewable objectives require transformational change," said Mark Glick, Hawaii State Energy Office Administrator, in an interview today.

As to the battle with solar and keeping customers waiting to get on the grid the report stated, "HEI Companies lack a tangible plan for clearing the interconnection queue, which detrimentally impacts distributed photovoltaic."

It claims Hawaiian Electric's view is what is best for the utilities, not the public.  However the State is confident it can work with Hawaiian Electric on solutions.

"I think we have a window of opportunity to act. We'll find ways to do it through the Public Utilities Commission regulatory process and offline ways we'll bring stakeholders together," said Glick.

"We believe it's important to receive feedback from all parts of our community. We want to work closely with stakeholders to refine our plans. These plans are a starting point for discussion and all input received is valuable," said Darren Pai, Hawaiian Electric Senior Communications Consultant, in response to the State's report.

Solar customers have been angry with the utility.  Today Hawaiian Electric also pointed out it did not officially say it was raising the monthly solar fee to $71.  It says that was an example but not a formal proposal.  The actual increase is to be determined.

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