[NEWS] Biomass Deal Will Increase Electricity Rates in Hawaii

– by John Burnett, May 27, 2017, Hawaii Tribune Herald

hu honua

Graphic: Hu Honua Energy

If Hu Honua Bioenergy’s long-delayed biomass power plant were to go online by the end of 2018, Hawaii Electric Light Company’s ratepayers would see increases in their electricity bills, according to an analysis HELCO filed Wednesday with the state Public Utilities Commission of a proposed power purchase agreement.

HELCO’s study used as its baseline the most recent power supply improvement plan, or PSIP, filed by HELCO in December, which includes how to gather 100 percent of energy from renewable sources such as solar, wind, water and biomass by 2045, a goal required by state law.

The computer simulation model used by the utility found the benefit-to-cost ratio of Hu Honua’s proposal is 0.9. A ratio of 1.0 or higher indicates the benefits exceed the cost.

The analysis found a consumer using 500 kilowatt hours of electricity per month would initially experience a $5.31 bill increase in 2019. The increase would gradually decline, and by 2037 customers’ bills would be 47 cents higher than in 2018. Starting in 2038, ratepayers would start to see monthly savings, and in 2048, the final year of the 30-year deal, the total monthly savings would be $5.76 a month.

READ MORE at Hawaii Tribune Herald


  • Biomass is still a highly questionable method of power production. If we lose forests there is nothing sustainable about the method. If land is taken out of food production, this is not sustainable. And burning wood produces Co2 and toxins. Thus the hidden costs are of more concern than a dew pennies on a fuel bill.


    • A lot of the push for bioenergy in the U.S. is to meet renewable energy targets. Without bioenergy, it seems unlikely that states will meet them. Should they abandon bioenergy or change their targets or another option?


    • In reply there are other preferred feedstocks to woody biomass specifically of the C4 grass category specifically the pennisetum purpureum genus of the grass family.


  • Other options exist just think of other biomass fuel feedstocks like Giant King Grass. I was astonished that Hawaii Gas originally intended to tanker in LNG and convert it to methane for customers. That definately does not add up. Forest use is a no winner. At least be open minded!


  • How many acres of grass would the facility require to operate? And would that be an issue in Hawaii, with limited space for natural ecosystems and food crops?


    • If you are inquiring for general plantation requirements for Giant King Grass please visit their website
      viaspaceinc.com and my understanding is the particular feedstock pellets, direct combustion or anaerobic digestion that can convert methand to NG depends on the PP megawat capacity. 10-35? Check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

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