Business / In Brief • June 21, 2013

Hawaiian Electric eyes new projects

HONOLULU – Hawaiian Electric Co. said Wednesday that it had asked the Public Utilities Commission for the authority to negotiate five new solar and wind power contracts.

The utility said the projects would charge an average of one-third less for electricity than what Hawaiian Electric now pays for power generated from oil, solar and wind.

The five projects were selected from 20 proposals the utility received after issuing a call in February for low-cost renewable energy. The utility selected the five based on price, site control, development experience and other criteria.

Scott Seu, Hawaiian Electric’s vice president for energy resources and operations, said the strong response to the call demonstrates that there’s a high level of competition for renewable energy.

The utility may not disclose the names of the companies or groups that would operate the five projects because the specifics are proprietary, Hawaiian Electric spokesman Darren Pai said.

Hawaiian Electric normally must put larger power generation contracts out for competitive bid. It’s asking the PUC for permission to bypass the bid process to help it buy energy from renewable resources more quickly.

The five projects would have a combined capacity of 64 megawatts. The utility plans on negotiating 20-year contracts with each project.