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Thursday, October 20, 2022
Preserves Anti-Hu Honua Majority: Ige Appoints Solar Exec to PUC
By News Release @ 2:56 AM :: 3707 Views :: Education K-12, Energy, Hawaii State Government

Yost vs Wakai over Hu Honua

HNN: … The conservation plea came a month and a half after the last one.

The island just doesn’t have much wiggle room when energy resources go down.

“We’ve got to focus on affordability, on reliability and on resilience,” said RevoluSun executive Colin Yost. He’s the newest appointee to the powerful Public Utilities Commission.

“All of these challenges should be overcomeable, but we’re all going to have to work together as a community to make that work to put the right policies in place and to make sure that electricity remains affordable -- actually, frankly it’s never been affordable,” he said.

Yost and the two other commissioners could ultimately decide the fate of the island’s Honua Ola bioenergy project, which was blocked by the previous PUC.

(TRANSLATION: Swapping out Potter with Yost preserves the 2-1 PUC majority against Hu Honua.)

The chair of the state Senate Committee on Energy thinks that was a mistake.

“We talked about Hu Honua -- biomass, burning wood to create energy, or more importantly, they have an active volcano,” said Sen. Glenn Wakai. “Geothermal has immense energy possibilities.

(TRANSLATION: Wakai wants Hu Honua, will oppose Yost nomination.)

HECO had asked Puna Geothermal for maximum output to avoid blackouts.

Sen. Wakai believes the island needs more diverse energy resources.

“So much of the Big Island’s alternative and renewable sources are coming from intermittent (sources), either wind or solar” he said. “And when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, they’re in the predicament that they’re in.”

(TRANSLATION: Wakai wants Hu Honua, will oppose Yost nomination.)

Despite the pitfalls, Yost said Hawaii is actually well on its way to meeting the state’s mandate of using 100% renewable energy by 2045.

“Some parts of the state are doing better than others,” he said. “Kauai has been reported to already be 70% renewable, which is extraordinary. That’s really a remarkable achievement.”

(TRANSLATION: Swapping out Potter with Yost preserves the 2-1 PUC majority against Hu Honua.)

Yost said he is divesting himself from his work in the renewable energy industry to serve full time on the PUC. His appointment is subject to senate confirmation….

IM: Yost serves on the Blue Planet Foundation Board of Directors.

IM: PUC Commissioner Jennifer Potter Resigns

PBN: RevoluSun executive Colin Yost appointed to state Public Utilities Commission

CB: Yost is chief operating officer of the solar company RevoluSun, according to a press release 

read … HECO lifts call for power conservation on Hawaii Island, but energy problems linger

  *   *   *   *   *

FLASHBACK May 23, 2022: PUC rejects Hu Honua bid to saddle users with Overpriced Electricity

HTH: … The state Public Utilities Commission has again rejected a power purchase agreement between Hawaiian Electric Co. and Honua Ola Bioenergy — preventing the nearly completed wood-burning powerplant formerly known as Hu Honua from going online.

(What will KSBE do with all of Larry Mehau's Hamakua Coast eucalyptus trees now?)

The vote was 2-1 with PUC Chairman James Griffin and Commissioner Jennifer Potter voting to reject the contract between Honua Ola and HECO. Commissioner Leodoloff Asuncion Jr. cast the dissenting vote.

The 30-megawatt facility has been the subject of controversy for a protracted amount of time. The PUC has already once denied the request, saying the (mind-blowing) projected (wholesale) rate of 22 cents per kilowatt hour (price to HECO, not consumer) over a 30-year contract (waaay higher than any other energy provider in Hawaii) was higher than other alternatives and “not in the public interest.”… 

CB: Hawaii Utility Regulators Reject Hu Honua Biomass Power Plant

PDF: PUC Rejection Order

read … PUC rejects Honua Ola’s bid to go online

  *   *   *   *   *


Office of the Governor Press Release, Oct 19, 2022 

UPDATE: ​Yost vs Wakai over Hu Honua  (scroll down)

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige is appointing new leadership at the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) following Curt Otaguro’s departure.

“I thank Curt for his dedicated service and wish him well as he transitions to the Department of Education,” said Gov. Ige.

Audrey Hidano will be the state comptroller and head of the department effective Oct. 21, 2022. Hidano has served as the deputy director since April 2015. Prior to joining DAGS, she served as deputy director at the departments of Transportation and Labor and Industrial Relations. In addition, Hidano is the co-founder of Hidano Construction, Inc., was a co-owner of Rim-Pac, Inc., and served as a public affairs analyst at Hawaiian Telcom (formerly Verizon and GTE Hawaiian Tel).

“Audrey is well positioned to facilitate the management and supervision of the wide range of programs and activities handled by the department,” said Gov. Ige.

Meoh-Leng Silliman is being appointed to fill the deputy position at the department beginning Oct. 21, 2022. She has been the business management officer at DAGS since 2017. She previously held other managerial positions in the state, having served as a Branch Chief in the Department of Budget and Finance and the Business Management Officer at the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Prior to relocating to Hawaiʻi, Silliman held a series of progressively more responsible managerial positions during a ten-year tenure at the New York District Attorney’s Office, including the positions of Deputy Director of Fiscal Affairs and Deputy Director of Operations. She earned a B.A. from Hamilton College in New York and a M.B.A. from George Washington University in D.C.

“Meoh-Leng has a deep understanding of the department’s operations, and I know she will be successful as the new deputy,” said Gov. Ige.

Both terms will end on Dec. 5, 2022, and they are subject to Senate confirmation.

Gov. Ige also announced that Public Utilities Commissioner Jennifer “Jennie” Potter will be resigning from her position effective Oct. 31, 2022. The term expires on June 30, 2024, and the governor is currently seeking a candidate for this key position. He will make an appointment to fill the seat as quickly as possible.

“For the past four years, Jennie has participated in decisions that set the standard for advanced and groundbreaking regulation,” said Gov. Ige. “Together, we have made tremendous progress toward achieving the state’s renewable energy goals, and I thank her for her service.”

“It has been a deep honor to serve as a Commissioner at the Public Utilities Commission for the last four years. The Commission is considered a national leader because of its innovation, regulatory muscle, and outstanding decision making, and it has been invaluable to be a part of it,” said Commissioner Potter.


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