HECO shutting down Honolulu Power Plant

HECO's Honolulu Power Plant
HECO's Honolulu Power Plant

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Hawaiian Electric Company wants to shut down power plants across the state.

After serving customers for nearly 60 years, HECO will deactivate its Honolulu Power Plant.

It’s just one of the moves HECO is making as it continues to move away from oil and towards renewable energy.

“We’re planning for the next 20 years. We know there’s a lot of changes in the energy world. And we know people are concerned about their bills,” HECO spokesperson Peter Rosegg said.

HECO recently filed its five-year plan with the state Public Utilities commission.

As part of the that plan, HECO will deactivate the plant in Honolulu by next year as well as half of Maui’s Kahului Power Plant. Looking down the road, the Kahului plant will be fully retired by 2019.

Also by next year, the Shipman Plant on the Big Island will be fully retired. It was deactivated late last year.

By 2016, two of eight units at Waiau will be deactivated.

HECO says all of these plants are old and are getting more expensive to maintain.

For example, deactivating the Honolulu Power Plant on Ala Moana Boulevard will save the company $8 million.

“You know, just like you sell your old car, when it’s done its duty. We’re going to be limiting the use of these facilities,” Rosegg said.

Although the Kahului and Shipman Power Plants will be permanently shut down, the others will be deactivated, which means they can be reactivated in a major emergency, as seen in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

“They closed all their nuclear plants and fortunately for them they had on reserve their fossil fuel plants. They were able to reactivate them very quickly,” Rosegg said.

HECO is expected to offer jobs to employees who are affected by this plan.

So when will customers see their bills lowered as a result of moving away from oil?

HECO says not until next year.

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