comscore HELCO cancels contract for Big Island biomass power station | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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HELCO cancels contract for Big Island biomass power station

Hawaiian Electric Light Co. plans to terminate a contract with Hu Honua Bioenergy, a 30-megawatt power station on Hawaii island that converts biomass into electricity, on March 1, according to a filing with the state Public Utilities Commission.

The utility said it is in the best interest of customers to terminate the contract with Hu Honua because the facility failed to meet deadlines and provide assurances that it can be relied on as a firm renewable generation provider for the Big Island.

“The project has had many delays and has no ability to begin operations in the near future,” said Darren Pai, spokesman for Hawaiian Electric Co. “Last July, it failed to meet a critical construction milestone (to pass a ‘boiler hydro test’) that was ‘guaranteed’ in their contract. They’ve also not provided adequate assurances that they have the ability to complete the project. We gave them until March 1 to respond to the concerns expressed in the update we provided to the PUC. We’ve tried to work with the developer and although we had the right to terminate the contract last November (2015), we provided them time to offer revised contract terms – such as lower pricing — that would benefit our customers. However, they have not done so.”

This is the second renewable energy provider the state’s largest electric utility terminated a contract with in the past week as HECO filed a termination notice on Friday with the state PUC to end its contract with SunEdison Inc. to purchase power from three solar-energy facilities totaling 112 megawatts. HECO said SunEdison failed to meet some of the contracts deadlines.

John Sylvia, CEO of Hu Honua, said the facility has already invested $100 million in its completion.

“Hu Honua is currently engaged in a process with the PUC and HELCO to clarify changes in circumstance,” Sylvia said. “HHB plans to submit its response by Feb. 23. Hu Honua has invested roughly $100 million towards completing the facility, which is approximately 50 percent complete.”

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