Hawaii Biofuels Option Could Prove Costly

U.S. Energy Information Administration

Two contracts for locally-produced biofuels, aimed at supplying a portion of the state’s electricity needs, are under consideration by the Public Utilities Commission, and more are expected. But the cost of the energy to ratepayers could be significant.

The recent contracts have touched off a stormy public policy debate about whether biofuel is in the best interest of the state and its ratepayers, or whether the benefits will ultimately be reaped by Hawaiian Electric Co.’s shareholders.

Fueling the controversy is what some critics see as a lack of transparency on the part of the utility about biofuels’ cost.

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