Supreme Court rejects Honua Ola’s appeal


The Hawaii Supreme Court, by a 5-0 vote, rejected Honua Ola Bioenergy’s appeal of a Public Utilities Commission order denying Honua Ola’s power purchase agreement with Hawaiian Electric Co.

The opinion, written by Associate Justice Todd Eddins and filed today, refuted the position taken by Honua Ola — formerly known as Hu Honua — that the PUC “impermissibly broadened the scope of issues to consider” after the high court unanimously remanded the issue of a power purchase agreement back to the regulatory panel in May 2021.


“(Honua Ola) appeals the denial, arguing that the Public Utilities Commission misunderstood its mandate and held (Honua Ola) to an unfair standard. We disagree,” Eddins wrote.

The opinion noted that the PUC, in its May 23, 2022, order declining to approve the amended power contract between Honua Ola and HECO, found that the almost-completed wood-burning powerplant “would produce massive (greenhouse gas) emissions, and that (Honua Ola’s) promise of carbon neutrality rested on speculative, uncertain assumptions.

“The commission expressed serious doubts that (Honua Ola) could actually live up to its (carbon) sequestration estimates.”

In his closing paragraph, Eddins wrote, “The reality is that yesterday’s good enough has become today’s unacceptable.”

See Tuesday’s Tribune-Herald for a complete story.

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