ORIGINAL REPORTING: Hawaii’s Fight For 100% New Energy Goes On
NextEra merger dead, Hawaii turns to realizing a 100% renewables future; NextEra never convinced regulators they could follow through on their clean energy goals. Can Hawaiian Electric?
Herman K. Trabish, July 25, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Hawaii continues to be a pioneer on the path to a New Energy future.
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission rejected the application from Florida-based NextEra Energy to acquire Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) but the case provoked a rich debate among stakeholders over whether the investor-owned utility business model best serves Hawaii’s needs or whether an electric cooperative, a municipal utility, or a system operator might be better. As the merger was debated, Hawaii energy policy underwent profound changes. The state enacted the first and only 100% renewable energy mandate in the U.S., to be met by 2045, and the commission imposed the first replacement of retail rate net metering with a reduced incentive package.
Separate proceedings edged forward on the energy mix the HEI utilities should be developing and how best to create standards and incentives for a new system based on distributed energy resources (DER). The question persists of which company — and which utility business model — would serve Hawaii residents best. Stakeholders continue to point to the need to align consumer and utility interests, and the new opportunity the decision could represent to reform HEI. They say an appendix to the regulators’ merger decision — “Guidance for Any Future Merger or Acquisition Proceedings” — amounts to “a roadmap for Hawaii’s energy future… click here for more
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