PUC accepts utility company’s renewable energy plan

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has accepted a utility company’s updated plan that details how it will reach the state’s 100 percent renewable energy goal five years ahead of schedule.

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HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has accepted a utility company’s updated plan that details how it will reach the state’s 100 percent renewable energy goal five years ahead of schedule.

The plan by Hawaiian Electric Cos. was accepted last week, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/2u8tdNY). Under the plan, coal won’t be burned to generate electricity on Oahu after 2022, Hawaiian Electric spokeswoman Shannon Tangonan said.

“(Coal is) the cheapest power source by a significant margin,” Tangonan said. “It’s also a major contributor to the emissions that are causing climate change. That capacity has to be replaced with a combination of intermittent renewables like solar and wind as well as firm generation that can run on biofuels.”

The commission has “reasonable assurance” that the company’s renewable energy claims are credible and supported by sound judgment, according to its review.

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The company predicts its three sister utilities — Hawaiian Electric Co. on Oahu, Maui Electric Co. and Hawaii Electric Light Co. on Hawaii island — will exceed the state’s renewable-energy milestones in 2020, 2030 and 2040.

“We appreciate the commission’s acceptance of our plan and its guidance for moving forward,” Hawaiian Electric President and CEO Alan Oshima said.