- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 25, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - The Hawaii governor on Monday said he opposes plans by state utilities to use liquefied natural gas to generate energy.

Hawaiian Electric Co. and Hawaii Gas announced last year they planned to import more LNG because it would be cheaper and cleaner than burning oil.

But Gov. David Ige said that would distract from the state’s goal to switch to renewable energy, reported the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (https://bit.ly/1Lvliwy ).

In June, Ige signed a law that set a goal for Hawaii to have 100 percent renewable electric power generation by 2045.

“Any time and money spent on LNG is time and money not spent on renewable energy,” said Ige during the Asia Pacific Resilience Innovation Summits & Expo, a three-day conference on energy strategies.

The governor said he is OK with Hawaii Gas using LNG as an alternative to the propane and synthetic natural gas it sells now — he just doesn’t want the company to give it to HECO for electricity generation.

He also said his administration will actively oppose the construction of any future LNG receiving stations.

“LNG will no longer save us money,” Ige said. “The capital plans of those wishing to import LNG are anything but small. LNG is a fossil fuel. LNG is imported.”

Both companies said they remain committed to their plans despite Ige’s comments. A statement from HECO says the company supports the state’s renewable energy goal — and that LNG will help it get there.

“We agree with Gov. Ige that any use of LNG should not result in development of major costly infrastructure that will impede our renewable energy progress,” said HECO spokesman Darren Pai.

“We are evaluating delivering LNG in (special shipping) containers to our generating stations on a transitional basis, an approach that requires minimal island infrastructure,” he added.

He said HECO will reduce the amount of LNG purchased as more renewable energy becomes available.

Hawaii Gas CEO and president Alicia Moy said the company is still considering selling LNG to HECO, although she said she supports the renewable energy goals.

Renewable energy advocates praised the governor’s statements.

“This is exactly the leadership we need for Hawaii’s energy future,” said Jeff Mikulina, executive director of the Blue Planet Foundation. “It is a new era in Hawaii with our 100 percent renewable mandate. All of our energy should go toward achieving that.”


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com

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