January 5th, 2017
Blue Planet Foundation applauds the Public Utilities Commission’s recent decision to reject an expansion of Hawaii’s only coal-fired electricity generation plant. (PUC Decision and Order viewable online). The Commission concluded that the coal proposal was “not reasonable or in the public interest” after reviewing the proposal and considering arguments made by Blue Planet Foundation and the state’s Consumer Advocate.
“Climate-changing coal should play a smaller, not larger, part in Hawaii’s clean energy future” said Richard Wallsgrove, Blue Planet Foundation’s Policy Director. “The Commission’s decision allows us all to move forward on elements of Hawaiian Electric’s plan that we can support, such as achieving the milestones in our 100% renewable energy law ahead of schedule.”
In their Decision and Order, the Commission recognized the coal expansion proposal’s “potential to significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions to undermine the claims regarding its reasonableness.” The Commission also found that the proposal was at odds with Hawaii’s renewable energy future, stating “increasing coal fired generation is plainly inconsistent with the goals of HRS § 269-92 [i.e. the state’s renewable portfolio standards law].”
Blue Planet Foundation hopes that outdated fossil fuel facilities, like the AES coal plant, can be converted into facilities that store energy or contribute in other ways to enabling more local and sustainable energy. “The owners of the coal plant, AES, have proposed to retrofit an old power plant and create the world’s largest battery facility in California,” said Melissa Miyashiro, Blue Planet Foundation’s Chief of Staff. “That’s the type of ‘swords into plowshares’ proposal we would welcome in Hawaii.”
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