Rate Increase to Pay for Biodiesel Plant, Future

John Davis

Some electricity customers in Hawaii will have to pay a little more for power from a biodiesel-powered generating plant now, but utility officials believe it will save those same customers in the long run.

This article from the Honolulu Star Bulletin says the state’s Public Utilities Commission approved a 1 percent increase to help pay for a new $142.3 million, 110-megawatt Hawaiian Electric Co. plant that runs on biodiesel with the hope that it will save money and fossil fuels later:

“We know that the price of fossil fuels only go in one direction, and that’s up,” said Darren Pai, HECO spokesman. “There’s also the real potential that there may be some type of carbon taxes or additional costs incurred for using fossil fuels as energy.”

The biodiesel to fuel the plant is on hold right now as HECO awaits the commission’s approval of its contract with Iowa-based Renewable Energy Group. HECO originally had wanted to get its biodiesel from Imperium Services of Seattle, but the commission denied HECO’s first biodiesel contract in August because of too many risks and costs that would have been passed on to consumers.