Gov. David Ige, D-Hawaii, outlined the reasons why the state submitted testimony opposing Hawaiian Electric Industries' (HEI) merger with NextEra Energy Inc., as currently proposed.
In December 2014, NextEra Energy Inc. and HEI announced a definitive agreement under which the companies agreed to merge. The transaction, which is valued at approximately $4.3 billion, would includes NextEra's assumption of $1.7 billion in HEI debt and excludes HEI's banking subsidiary. If approved, the transaction will bring the Hawaiian Electric Cos. – Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light – under NextEra's aegis.
NextEra Energy says it shares HEI's goals to increase renewable energy, modernize its grid, reduce Hawaii's dependence on imported oil and integrate more rooftop solar energy. Hawaiian Electric has filed plans with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that could triple the amount of distributed solar in its service area to achieve one of the nation's highest levels of renewable energy by 2030.
NextEra Energy says it supports Hawaiian Electric's plans to accomplish these goals, though it will also inherit the challenges that must be surmounted to achieve them.
However, Ige has reservations about the merger's impact on the state's renewable energy plans.Â Â
"Although I welcome capital investment in Hawaii with respect to energy, any merger or investment must align with the state's 100 percent renewable energy goal," Ige says. "The state respectfully opposes the merger in its current form because it fails to align with the state's renewable energy goals."
In the testimony, the state expressed strong reservations about the transaction as proposed and said it should not be approved.
"We are committed to a 100 percent renewable future, standing alone among 50 states in the nation in that action. We need an electric company that sees Hawaii as the center of its work and the opportunity we represent as one of the greatest moments in history for any utility. We have not seen that in this proposal," Ige added.
The two filings were made on behalf of the Hawaii State Energy Office and the Hawaii State Office of Planning.
To read the submitted testimony, click here.