POSTED: 01:10 p.m. HST, Oct 13, 2010
State regulators today gave final approval to an initiative that simplifies the system under which renewable energy producers sell their electricity to Hawaiian Electric Co.
The “feed-in tariff” regime is designed to accelerate the state’s move toward energy self-sufficiency by allowing companies generating up to 500 kilowatts of renewable energy to use a standard contract for pricing, terms and conditions when selling power to HECO’s utilities on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island.
Traditionally, renewable energy project developers have had to enter into lengthy negotiations with HECO to sell electricity to the utility.
“We are pleased to launch the FIT program for Hawaiian Electric companies,” said Carlito Caliboso, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission. “The predictability and certainty that FITs provide to renewable energy developers should incent future renewable projects and ultimately advance the state’s efforts to wean itself off of imported fossil fuel,” he said in a news release.
The PUC allowed several “interveners,” including environmental groups and energy companies, to participate in the discussion the case as it progressed over the past two years. The PUC noted that while the various parties were not able reach a consensus on all issues, none of the differences “appeared to be fatal flaws.”
“The better course is to proceed, learn from the experience, and make necessary changes and improvements upon the commission’s next opportunity in two years,” the PUC said in the news release.