HEI subsidiary buying Honokaa power plant

One of the “highest efficiency, lowest emission power plants in the state” is being sold to a new subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc.


One of the “highest efficiency, lowest emission power plants in the state” is being sold to a new subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc.

The 60-megawatt Hamakua Energy Partners plant in Honokaa was sold to Pacific Current by Boston private equity firm ArcLight, according to a news release from ArcLight.

By 2045, 100 percent of power supplied in the state is required, by law, to come from renewable sources, such as wind, geothermal, water, bioenergy and solar. The state Legislature passed the law, signed by Gov. David Ige, in 2015.

“Hawaiian Electric Industries is firmly committed to meet the state’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045,” Greg Hazelton, executive vice president of HEI, Hawaii Electric Light Co.’s parent company, said via email. “The sale to a subsidiary of HEI will provide stable, local ownership of this critical power supply infrastructure, which can provide 22 percent of Hawaii Island’s generating capacity.”

Hamakua Energy Partners sells the power it produces to HELCO under a power purchase agreement, ArcLight said.

In March, the state Public Utilities Commission denied HELCO’s request to purchase Hamakua Energy because of “insufficient benefits to customers if the plant was directly owned by HELCO.”

But, “the plant is vital in providing a firm power source to ensure continued reliability for Hawaii Island customers while HELCO works to transition Hawaii to reach the state’s renewable energy goal,” Hazelton told the Tribune-Herald.

The PUC has broad authority, but HEI is betting the commission won’t intervene because HEI owns diverse entities beyond utilities, including American Savings Bank.

The ArcLight announcement of the plant’s sale says HELCO rates won’t change because the power purchase agreement, which remains in effect, doesn’t expire until 2030.

“Knowing the importance of this facility to Hawaii Island and the ability of our company to provide a strong financial foundation for its continued operation, we made the decision to acquire the plant, with the purchase price and risks of ownership borne solely by HEI shareholders, not customers of HELCO,” Hazelton said in the ArcLight release.

The plant has 15 workers who “will continue to be managed and operated by Consolidated Asset Management Services, which has managed the plant since 2010.”


“It has been a privilege serving the people of Hawaii Island and providing their energy needs over the past seven years,” said Daniel Revers, ArcLight’s managing partner and founder.

Email Jeff Hansel at jhansel@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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