What’s Ahead for HELCO and Hawaii’s Clean Energy Future?

September 15, 2016
6pm   -   8pm
West Hawai'i Civic Center, Council Chambers

On July 15th, 2016 Hawaii’s Public Utility Commission announced its rejection of Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc.’s $4.3 billion take-over bid of Hawaiian Electric Co. (HEI). What are HELCO’s energy plans and options for Hawaii County now that NextEra is no longer in the picture? What role will HELCO serve in Hawaii’s clean and independent energy future?

What economic and environmental benefits can we expect when Hawaii’s energy needs are met through locally produced renewable, but not necessarily clean energy? Is it possible for all ground and marine transportation to be electrified or powered by renewable hydrogen or renewable biofuels? Of Hawaii’s top 250 companies, five are solar contractors that generated $140 million in 2015 and are the economic drivers of several thousand local jobs, what does the future hold for rooftop solar? What will the electric infrastructure look like that serves the Community’s power needs: one state grid, centralized island grids, decentralized island grids, interconnected or disconnected microgrids?

If the State’s largest electric utility (HEI) remains up for sale, who are the potential buyer alternatives to NextEra and will they offer a better fit for Hawaii’s clean energy future and ratepayers? Will they be more supportive and better equipped to enable options that achieve Hawaii’s 100% transition to clean energy, quickly and effectively, and off of dirty and imported fossil fuels. How will this be accomplished? What if HELCO becomes a publicly owned cooperative, will this help or hurt Hawaii county residents and business?

Learn how Hawai’i could achieve its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2045 and how those plans may affect you.

In advance of the Forum, post your questions or concerns for the energy experts online now, and… Join the Community for this important Forum on September 15th. Hear the experts explain their visions and plans for the next five years of Hawaii’s 30 year path to a clean and independent energy future, and the future impacts of energy on the environment and economy of Hawaii County…

Related Forum Subject Developments


As first announced at this West Hawaii Forum by Jay Ignacio, president of HELCO, the utility has filed for a change in the consumer electric rate structure. The change will result in an increase for some rate payers, while other HELCO may benefit from the so-called Performance Based Rate scheme.

Hawai`i Electric Light (HELCO) rate hike application filed yesterday that proposes a new utility business model centered around Performance Based Ratemaking (PBR) to replace the existing cost plus profit rate making scheme. Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) will file a rate case by the end of the year.

Governor David Ige “On the State of Clean Energy in Hawai’i”

Eighth Annual Hawaii Clean Energy Day event, August 16th, 2016, Honolulu



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This forum took place on September 15, 2016, at 6pm at West Hawai'i Civic Center, Council Chambers.

To learn more about each Forum featured speaker, click onto the presenter's name listed below their picture.

This event was moderated by:

The event's featured speakers were:

Isaac Moriwake, Esq.
Attorney, EarthJustice, Mid-Pacific Office
Marco Mangelsdorf
Hawai'i Island Energy Cooperative
Jay Ignacio
President of Hawaii Electric Light Co. (HELCO)

Speaker Presentation Materials

The presenters have graciously allowed us to post their presentation notes.

Subject Support Materials

Please see support material for this subject Forum.

Forum Session Video

View the recorded session here:

Ask the Presenters a Question

The following contains online Questions posed to this Forum's Presenters and the Answers they provided.

The following audience questions were submitted either before (online, this web site) or during the live Forum event.  Answers are available through the recorded event proceedings by viewing NaLeo TV (check their published schedule) or through on-demand streaming of the event video on from this web site — forum links listed in the “Past Forums” page and within each event listing.

Happily, this energy forum generated a capacity audience.  Mahalo to the Community for showing up and participating in this important event. The following list of audience questions may be published as an extract and not necessarily in their order as presented by the Henry Curtis (the Moderator) to the Presenters Jay Ignacio (HELCO), Marco Mangelsdorf (HIEC), and Isaac Moriwake (EarthJustice).  Please refer to the video record of this Forum for complete details on the audience questions and presenter answers.  Thank you.


1- Why would you consider a large (utility-scale) solar project ahead of, and until, every house or business has rooftop solar?   No need to use underdeveloped land.

2- For years HELCO and its sister utilities have been holding up rooftop solar installations on the grounds … “the grid can’t handle it”.   Now HELCO is planning to build  its own massive solar facility. How is that the grid can suddenly handle HELCO owned solar, but not more rooftop residential solar?

3- What incentive(s) will HELCO/HEI support to help manage and grow exported energy from rooftop solar systems not that Net Metering and other energy export program incentives have been eliminated?   HELCO has no reason to do so, correct?

4- Is HEI/HELCO looking for another buyer, now that NextEra is no longer in the picture?

5- If HELCO were a willing seller, what would be the asking price, and how would sale proceeds benefit HELCO customers?

6-  Why is HELCO looking for a rate increase at this time?

7- Whether or not a cap on customer generation to the grid is raised or eliminated, the grid must be modernized to accommodate more distributed generation. What plans does HELCO have for the near future to allow more distributed generation resources?

8- What is HELCO doing to store and manage peak power flow from island-wide solar generation and for later usage?


9- Does HIEC plan to make to buy HELCO at this time, if so, what are the details?

10- Where would HIEC find the money to buy HELCO?

11- Isn’t there a risk in a utility co-op model of ideology over taking economics and engineering?

12- Will HIEC work with and recognize the union IBEW?

13- What are your options if HELCO chooses not to sell to you?


14-  Would you explain the FIT program?

15- We have green waste rotting all over Hawai’i, turning into CO2 and methane.  What can’t we convert it to energy?

15- With the net metering incentives promoting residential and business solar generation, HELCO and the utility sector in general argued that the program was “cost-shifting” utility costs from solar customers to non-solar customers. But doesn’t the Customer self-supply (CSS) program do the same thing, f you accept HELCO’s augment against the NEM program?

16- Wouldn’t the SMUD (Sac Mutual Util Dist) model address the problem of sectors of the community who cannot afford self-power generation?

17- Do not King Kalakaua  allow power companies to be established and to become an asset of the kingdom?  So would it not be the King’s asset, belong to his heirs, the people of Hawai’i?

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