KEALAKEHE, Hawaii – Henry Curtis, a 19-year energy veteran and Ililani Media blogger, shared his thoughts on the proposed merger between Hawaiian Electric Industries and Florida-based NextEra Energy during an energy forum in Kona.
The $4.3 billion deal is being called one of the most important economic transactions in our lifetime. The combine includes the HEI companies of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light, and includes the assumption of $1.7 billion in HEI debt. The American Savings Bank, another HEI subsidiary, will be spun off as an independent, publicly traded company.
The Kona Community Enterprises Energy Forum comes at a crucial time in regulatory decision making, Curtis explained.
“There are two major proceedings at the Public Utilities Commission. Two. There is the most complicated procedure they’ve ever done, and the second most complicated procedure they’ve ever done. And they’re happening simultaneously. One of them is the merger proceeding. The other is figuring out how the heck you add on all this intermittent wind and intermittent solar and all this rooftop solar; and how you make it fair for people who have rooftop solar; and how you make it fair for people want rooftop solar; and how you make it fair for people who don’t want rooftop solar. So there’s this open proceeding. And I mean it is complex because we’re meeting two to four times a week, maybe 12 to 15 parties, and the PUC said we have till the end of June to come up with a short term strategy, and then we can spend a year and a half making sure we get it right for a long-term strategy ensure. And so this distributed energy resource proceeding is saying, ‘it doesn’t matter whether HECO stays independent, or whether NextEra takes them over. Either way we have to figure out how to increase the amount of renewable energy we have in this state.” – Henry Curtis on June 18, 2015
We will have more from this forum shortly.