Hawaiian Electric Co. can now recover $3.9 million from its customers to pay for studies related to the so-called “Big Wind” projects on Lanai and Molokai that would pump electricity to Oahu via an undersea cable.
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission ruled on Tuesday that Hawaiian Electric, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries (NYSE: HE), may recover the cost of the studies through a surcharge over a three-year period beginning on Tuesday at 1.75 percent.
In 2011, Hawaiian Electric filed an application with the PUC requesting approval to recover its deferred costs for the “Stage 1 Studies” for the Big Wind project, which proposed to bring 400 megawatts of wind energy from Molokai and Lanai to Oahu through an undersea cable. Since then, landowner Molokai Ranch has taken off its wind proposal off the table but Castle & Cooke Inc., which owns the rights to develop a wind farm on Lanai, is apparently moving ahead with its plans.
The PUC ruled in December 2009 that the utility, which serves Oahu as well as Maui County and the Big Island through its Maui Electric Co. and Hawaii Electric Light Co. subsidiaries, could recover costs related to the transition to renewable energy through a ratepayer surcharge.
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