Hawaii Commission Deals Blow to Biodiesel Deal

John Davis

HECOA deal that would have provided biodiesel to a Hawaiian Electric Co. plant has been dealt a tough blow that in all intents and purposes kills the project.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports that the state Public Utilities Commission has denied HECO’s request to change where it would have gotten the green fuel for its plant:

According to the contract terms, [Seattle-based] Imperium [Renewables] was to build a local refinery with a pipeline to supply biodiesel for HECO’s newly completed, $142.3 million, 110-megawatt plant at Campbell Industrial Park.

imperium-logoWhen the contract was later amended to have Imperium import biodiesel from a West Coast refinery, HECO also sought a terminaling and trucking agreement with Aloha Petroleum to transport the imported biodiesel to its generating plant. That additional contract would have incurred additional costs that HECO would have passed on to its customers.

The PUC also determined that the contract with Aloha Petroleum without a corresponding biodiesel supply contract was unnecessary.

“While we’re disappointed in the ruling from the PUC, we understand their concerns about cost to ratepayers,” said Imperium CEO John Plaza. “We put together the best proposal we could based on HECO’s contractual requirements to source sustainable palm oil.”

The original deal was seen as a savior for the ailing Imperium Renewables, which has struggled in recent years when feedstock prices skyrocketed.