Friday, December 30, 2011

 

Who is more successful at spin: HECO or the Governor?



By Henry Curtis

Sophie Cocke (Civil Beat, Dec 29, 2011) wrote a great “Fact Check” article about false claims by the Governor:

“Hawaii's state government cut its electricity bill by $20 million by implementing energy efficiency measures, according to Gov. Neil Abercrombie's website, where he recently promoted his first year accomplishments. ...

But electricity rates were higher in 2009 than they were in 2010. They actually went down in 2010. So part of the $20 million reduction in state spending was based on the change in electricity rates. ... The state saved about $4 million, not $20 million. 


The rest of the savings ... while energy savings behavior, such as turning off lights, may have been one of the reasons ...it's likely that other factors, such as furlough days, played a role. Also, Abercrombie leaves the impression that the savings were achieved in his first year in office. That's not the case.”



Governor Abercrombie also claimed other energy victories as part of his first year success story


“1st Year Actions & Accomplishments:  ... photovoltaic panels were installed on the Kalanimoku Building saving the State $300 a day in electricity with more panels to be added in the future.”

REALITY: DAGS awarded the project in 2009 before Rep Abercrombie announced he was running for Governor. The Kalanimoku Building installations were completed in 2011.

“1st Year Actions & Accomplishments:  ... The State is building a 10 MW facility in partnership with Hawaiian Electric Co. to provide power to the grid and to power the airport in the event of a major emergency.”

REALITY: The PUC approved the project in 2009, again, before Rep. Abercrombie planned to leave Washington D.C. 


Ian Lind wrote a very interesting piece “Hawaiian Electric blending news and advertising”  (December 30, 2011)

“To the casual viewer, the interview could easily be understood to be legitimate news content from the news team rather than a carefully controlled advertising message.” 


The advertisement is available on the HECO web site. In the advertisement HECO VP Robbie Alm says “we” a lot. Sometimes he means the nation, sometimes the State of Hawai`i, sometimes a state agency, sometimes independent power producers, sometimes HECO and sometimes he is speaking for himself. But it all blends together through the use of the single word “we.”


Robbie Alm: “That's the magic of Hawai`i's renewable energy, is it gives us a very predictable long term pricing, and it is less than the price of oil, certainly less than the price of where we know oil is going to go over the long haul.”

Wait a minute! Is it less than the current price of oil? Or less than the levelized anticipated 20-year price of oil? 


This year the average cost of renewable energy is greater than the average cost of petroleum energy.  The cost of HECO’s proposed contract with Aina Koa Pono was the granddaddy of them all: it was anticipated to always cost more than the price of oil during the entire 20-year contract.

Robbie Alm: “There is a cost, an investment, in making local renewable energy and delivering it to us.  The good news is, that that cost is still less, than imported oil. So we still want to do it because it will actually save us money, in spite of us making investments.”

How is that for fuzzy math? Renewables cost more and the utility must undergo costly upgrades to its system to integrate renewables, but the combined cost of the renewables and the upgrades is cheaper than the price of oil.

Investigating utility costs is difficult because most HECO pricing information is locked up behind close doors as  “confidential business information.”

HECO is planning on spending over $2B upgrading their fossil fuel based generation systems in order to enable the integration of renewable energy systems onto their grids.

Is it the most effective way of achieving renewable integration? Is it the cheapest method? Does it maximize utility profits? Hard to know. The utility absolutely opposes financial disclosures.


HECO, HELCO & MECO Request to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for Approval of Issuance of Unsecured Obligations and Guarantee, Docket 2011-0068, dated March 31, 2011

“The Companies have a $2.25 billion five-year capital expenditure plan covering the period 2011-2015 for new load, replacements and other projects, including expenditures for the Companies' comprehensive modernization program for existing transmission and distribution infrastructure to ensure service reliability and manage future operating and maintenance costs, to add the new infrastructure necessary to reliably integrate renewable energy resources, and to establish the platform for customers to effectively manage their use of electricity. The Companies' estimated gross capital expenditures for the period 2011-2015 are approximately $1,726 million for Hawaiian Electric, $273 million for HELCO and $249 million for MECO”

Capital Expenditures Budget filed with the Public Utilities Commission on February 25, 2010.

($ Million)



2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

Totals
HECO
Energy Delivery
  65
  99
107
101
152
176

  700

Clean Energy
    1
    6
    5
    2
  15
  30

    59

Power Supply
  39
  75
117
144
262
318

  955

Other
  28
  14
    1
  41
  30
  31

  145

Total
133
194
230
288
459
555

1859










HELCO
Energy Delivery
  25
  41
  44
  35
  28
  26

  199

Clean Energy
    0
    4
    2
  13
    3
  13

    35

Power Supply
    8
    4
  12
    5
    5
    3

    37

Other
    6
    9
  11
    6
    5
    5

    42

Total
  39
  57
  69
  59
  41
  46

  311










MECO
Energy Delivery
  27
  37
  38
  46
  29
  32

  209

Clean Energy
    0
    0
    0
    0
    0
    0



Power Supply
    7
  11
    5
    8
  11
  28

    70

Other
    1
    1
    3
    0
    0
    0

      5

Total
  35
  49
  46
  54
  40
  60

  284










Totals

207
300
345
401
540
661

2454


# # #


Comments:

Good point Henry but since Abercrombie is not blaming Linda Lingle for leaving him a $1.2 billion budget deficit I think it's okay for him to take credit for on going renewable energy projects.
 


Henry, could you give descriptions regarding the categories Energy Delivery, Clean Energy, Supply Power, etc. [or tell me where to look in the PUC's Document Management System].
 


Definitely HECO...better at spin. This governor is a dud.
 


very interesting to see as an outside observer, but as an interested Hilo boy, how Hawai'i grassroots and government b.s. goes by as a small blip on all radar screens. Or do they? The trust in government, the unions, educational institutions, the build up to energy positioning, GM growth....all leads to one thing: don't trust ANYBODY or ANYTHING. What does this breed? No body gives a rat's ass about anything. And that especially means GOVERNMENT. The real problem with this attitude is it provides the government with the perfect position of approving and stamping anything supporting the current "regime". Kawaipuna
 


Aloha,
Aloha,

As a general rule

"Energy Delivery" means modernizing the existing Transmission & Distribution System
"Power Supply" means modernizing the existing Generation System
"Clean Energy" means creating the ability to be able to biofuel existing fossil fuel power plants

Trust requires monitoring based on facts.

Henry
 


Henry, you nailed it on the HECO non-disclosure. They are really going to play that "integrate renewables" card, dozens of time to instill control, and max profit, at consumers detriment.

The feed-in-tariff is a joke.
 

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