Sierra Club Celebrates HECO’s Decision to Withdraw its LNG Proposal
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi (July 19, 2016) — Hawaiian Electric Company announced today that it has withdrawn its proposal to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Western Canada to Hawaiʻi. Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi Director, Marti Townsend, issued the following statement:
“We are celebrating HECO’s decision to withdraw its proposal to import fracked gas to the Hawaiian Islands. Importing fracked gas would not save consumers money, reduce environmental impacts, or get Hawaiʻi closer to its 100% renewable energy goals.
Overwhelming public opinion and PUC guidance all favor the self-reliance, savings, and environmental benefits that come with locally produced, renewable energy. Importing fracked gas is a major distraction from achieving this future for all of us.
Governor Ige gets this. He deserves praise for his early and consistent opposition to the distraction that was HECO’s LNG proposal.
The focus now should be on the specific steps we need to take to upgrade our electrical grid to ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefits of our 100% renewable energy future. We do not need a white knight to save us. We have everything we need right here to achieve our renewable dreams right now. “
Hawaii Environmental, Consumer, and Business Groups Applaud Rejection of NextEra Takeover
No Appetite for NextEra’s Outdated, Dirty Energy Vision
Honolulu, HI — Today, a broad coalition of environmental, consumer, and business parties joined together to praise the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission’s rejection of the takeover of Hawaiian Electric utilities by NextEra Energy. Earthjustice, Hawaii Solar Energy Association, Hawaii PV Coalition, Sierra Club of Hawaii, and the Alliance for Solar Choice all joined together in this release.
Groups cited NextEra’s unwillingness to transition to a clean energy utility of the future as a primary reason why they opposed the merger. Hawaii is leading the national trend toward more clean energy investments, with the goal of getting to 100% renewable by 2045. NextEra’s utility track record of investing in dirty energy and opposing rooftop solar makes it incompatible with the modern energy infrastructure that lawmakers and consumers are demanding.
“Instead of envisioning a 21st century grid that enables customer options like rooftop solar, NextEra wanted to double-down on its ‘build more, pay more’ monopoly business,” said Hajime Alabanza, Executive Assistant with Hawaii Solar Energy Association. “The Commission understood this isn’t the right direction for Hawaii’s customers.”
“NextEra made this a no brainer,” said Isaac Moriwake, Staff Attorney with Earthjustice. “Outright rejection of the takeover was the only realistic option. NextEra refused to provide its plans for Hawaii, other than to give us a ‘bigger HECO.’ Based on its opposition to clean energy in Florida and failure to chart a different path in this state, NextEra is not what Hawaii wants or needs.”
The takeover faced strong opposition across the board. Governor Ige expressed his early opposition, and many elected state and county officials voiced similar reservations, or support for exploring other ownership alternatives.
Virtually every party in the PUC proceeding, including government parties and nonprofit and industry groups, opposed NextEra’s proposal, and no party supported it without requiring NextEra to commit to extensive additional conditions.
The general public reflected similar opposition. Polls consistently showed a strong and growing majority opposed the takeover, and support fell even further when residents learned about NextEra’s opposition to rooftop solar. At least four polls found that only about a third of the population supported the takeover. Seehttp://www.staradvertiser.com/hawaii-news/nextera-losing-support-for-plan-to-purchase-hei/, see also http://www.civilbeat.com/2016/02/civil-beat-poll-majority-oppose-nextera-hei-merger/. One poll showed that a staggering 83% opposed the merger when told that NextErawould oppose the further installation of rooftop solar.See attached at page 11.
“Utility executives need to understand that innovative technologies like rooftop solar, just like cellphones before it, are the wave of the future,” said Robert Harris, the Alliance for Solar Choice Spokesperson. “Simply selling out for a golden parachute is not a viable option for HECO executives, nor is fighting against customers trying to do the right thing for their households and the planet. Utilities need to move towards a 21st century grid that empowers customers to save money and produce cleaner power.”
“Hawaii is committed to a 100% clean energy future,” said Marti Townsend, Director of the Sierra Club of Hawaii. “We need partners that will help advance our critical economic and environmental goals, and not businesses focused solely on their short-term gain.”