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Hawaii Gas parent adds solar

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    Once the liquefied natural gas is “regasified

The parent company of Hawaii Gas, New York-based Macquarie Infrastructure Corp., said Tuesday it will build two solar facilities in Hawaii.

The $5.9 billion company said construction of the two solar facilities totaling $6 million should be complete in mid-2016. Once operational, the two projects will have a combined generating capacity of 6.5 megawatts. The company did not say where it plans to build the solar farms.

The state Public Utilities Commission approved the feed-in tariff contracts for the solar facilities. The feed-in tariff program sets standard rates at which businesses and residents can sell their power to the utility, Hawaiian Electric Co.

“We are pleased to be able to add projects in Hawaii to our portfolio of renewable energy power generating operations,” said James Hooke, chief executive officer of MIC, in a news release. “Hawaii is a recognized leader in clean energy with its innovative state-wide mandate regarding renewably sourced electric power and we look forward to making additional investments in support of the State’s goals.”

Through its gas utility, MIC has been competing with the state’s electric utility in supplying energy to Hawaii homes and businesses.

A Hawaii Gas spokesman did not return calls seeking comment.

In October 2014 Hawaii Gas filed an application with the PUC looking to supply more liquefied natural gas to Hawaii. The utility said it wants to use LNG to serve its 70,000 customers and the statewide demand for power generation, which includes HECO power plants.

Gov. David Ige said in August his administration will actively oppose the construction of any future LNG receiving stations in Hawaii because it would cost too much money.

Hawaii Gas is also one of 28 interveners in the regulatory review of Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries for $4.3 billion. Through its utilities, HEI supplies power to approximately 95 percent of Hawaii’s population.

Competition was a concern for Hawaii Gas during the review of HEI’s sale. Hawaii Gas filed a motion to compel NextEra to provide information about LNG to the PUC, fearing the new company would favor NextEra affiliates for LNG contracts if the sale were to close. NextEra and HEI filed a motion in opposition to Hawaii Gas’ request.

MIC has five solar and two wind power facilities on the mainland. The facilities sell the electricity at a fixed price to local electrical utilities pursuant to long-term 20- to 25-year power purchase agreements.

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