Monday, April 27, 2020
Life of the Land appeals denial of Kahuku Windmill motion
From today's press release:
Life of the Land filed a direct appeal to the Hawai'i Supreme Court on April 27 regarding the Public Utilities Commission's decision to deny its motion to void approvals related to the Kahuku windmills project.
Last September, Life of the Land filed a motion for relief with the Public Utilities Commission seeking to invalidate the approval of the Purchase Power Agreement between Hawaiian Electric and AES Corporation for the Na Pua Makani windmill project in Kahuku. Life of the Land argued that the project had failed to obtain site control within the approved timeline, that the Commission did not properly consider greenhouse gas emissions and that the cost for energy approved in 2016 was no longer reasonable or in the public interest.
On April 14, the Commission denied Life of the Land's motion arguing that it does not have jurisdiction to review previous approvals. Alternatively, the Commission ruled that the PUC approval empowered Hawaiian Electric and AES Corp to change to the terms of their approval without further PUC review or approval.
Life of the Land is seeking the high court's review for a number of procedural and substantive reasons. Most importantly, the Commission's decision is based upon the claim that the Commission can delegate the power to modify its approvals to private parties.
"The legislature has conferred broad power on the Commission to ensure that monopolies abide by the terms of their approvals. The Commission's self-limiting decision is erroneous and sets a dangerous precedent," said LOTL attorney Bianca Isaki.
"Delegating regulatory power to private developers to monitor themselves was rejected by the Hawai'i Supreme Court nearly forty years ago," said LOTL attorney Lance Collins.