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HECO asks regulators to approve low-cost power generation

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:39 p.m. HST, Jun 19, 2013

Hawaiian Electric Co. is asking state regulators for permission to negotiate with developers of  five renewable energy projects that want to sell electricity to the utility for one-third less than HECO’s current cost of generating power.

If the Public Utilities Commission approves the request HECO will negotiate power purchase agreements with an average price of 15.9 cents a kilowatt hour, utility officials said today. The five projects proposed for Oahu include a mix of solar and wind technologies with a combined generating capacity of 64 megawatts. HECO anticipates negotiating 20-year contracts for each project.

Based on preliminary estimates, HECO estimates the combined effects of the five projects could reduce generation costs by $7.4 million a year compared to today’s cost of generation from oil-fired plants and renewable sources.

“These projects represent an important first step as we are starting to see lower market prices for renewable energy,” said Scott Seu, HECO’s vice president for energy resources and operations. “The strong response we received demonstrates the high level of competition in our market. That’s good news for customers,” Seu said.

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