NewEnergyNews: ORIGINAL REPORTING: Hawaii regulators begrudgingly accept HECO energy plan

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    Wednesday, January 03, 2018

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: Hawaii regulators begrudgingly accept HECO energy plan

    Love the one you're with: Hawaii regulators begrudgingly accept HECO energy plan; The order accepting Hawaiian Electric's third plan to get to 100% renewable energy leaves contentious cost and procurement debates to future dockets

    Herman K. Trabish, July 27, 2017 (Utility Dive)

    Editor’s note: Hawaii continues to move ahead at the forefront of the New Energy transition.

    Hawaii utility regulators accepted the third version of their utility’s long-term plan to reach 100% renewable energy. But the PUC stopped short of outright approval, warning that Hawaiian Electric’s (HECO) roadmap fails to fully justify its proposed expenditures. The commission ruling applauded the utility’s short-term ambition to acquire renewables in its Power Supply Improvement Plan (PSIP). But it repeatedly warned HECO that the plan requires improvements and further analysis of proposed investments. Many of the planned near-term power acquisitions were supported by “sound analysis” and consistent with the state’s energy policies, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) ruling reported. But some are "not sufficiently justified” and the PUC “continues to be concerned with the affordability” of the overall plan, the ruling added.

    The PUC accepted what it found to be a questionable plan because of the phase-out of federal tax incentives for New Energy over the next five years. HECO “must move quickly” to procure renewables most cost-effectively, the regulators wrote. Both the federal investment tax credit, which supports solar development, and the federal production tax credit, which supports wind, expire in the early 2020s. Colton Ching, a HECO senior vice president, applauded the ruling because it enables use of the tax credits for the utility’s next series of “action steps.” But Ching acknowledged the difference between “accept” and “approve” in the ruling and expects to justify its next procurement. Earthjustice Attorney Isaac Moriwake, who represented Sierra Club in the PSIP docket, agreed the plan’s “big positive” was that it allowed “full speed ahead” New Energy procurement. But the ruling also saw the ruling as a compromise that leaves Hawaii’s New Energy future to-be-determined… click here for more

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