East Hawaii News

HELCO Seeking ‘Cleaner’ Diesel for Generation

August 30, 2013, 4:48 PM HST
* Updated August 30, 4:50 PM
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The parent company of Hawaii Electric Light Co. today announced a search for suppliers of “cleaner” types of diesel to power electrical plants on the Big Island and in Maui County.

It is seeking proposals for the supply of up to 150,000 barrels – 6.3 million gallons – of biodiesel or ultra-low sulfur diesel per year under contracts covering up to three years.

The deadline for the proposals is Oct. 15, with deliveries to begin Jan. 1, 2015.

“This request for proposals offers biodiesel suppliers — including local biodiesel producers – the opportunity to offer biodiesel or biodiesel blends for all or part of the required volumes on Maui, Molokai, Lanai or Hawaii Island,” Hawaiian Electric Co. said in a statement.

“Using renewable biofuels is one of many paths the Hawaiian Electric Companies are following to reduce Hawaii’s dependency on fossil fuel,” the company said. “The companies also continue to seek more energy from renewable sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydro, and, in the future, from the ocean.

“Firm generation using biofuels in place of fossil fuels can supply the essential firm backup needed to take maximum advantage of variable renewables, such as wind and solar,” the statement said.

As with other fuel and power contracts, any agreement must be submitted for review by the state Public Utilities Commission.

Prospective bidders can find more information at http://www.hawaiianelectric.com/fuels.

Hawaiian Electric already uses biodiesel at its Campbell Industrial Park Generating Station on Oahu.

On the Big Island, the biodiesel would likely be utilized at HELCO’s Keahole, Kona plant, said Hawaiian Electric spokesman Peter Rosegg.

In 2011, HELCO signed a tentative agreement with the company Aina Koa Pono for the delivery to Keahole of up to 16 million gallons of biodiesel a year from a $450 million plant to be built in Ka`u. That contract is currently under PUC review.

Rosegg said today’s proposal is designed to accommodate the utilities’ short-term needs.

“If approved by the PUC, it will take (Aina Koa Pono) some time to ramp up production,” he said.

HELCO has also been seeking proposals to add an additional 50 megawatts of geothermal power to its Big Island grid. The utility is expected to announce the results of its request for geothermal proposals by the end of September.

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