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HECO / NextEra Merger: Defending Hawai‘i’s Solar Advances

Solar panels on homes at Salt Lake in Oahu, Hawaiʻi.

Solar panels on homes at Salt Lake in Oahu, Hawaiʻi.

Matt Mallams for Earthjustice

What’s at Stake

The utility takeover would have been the biggest threat to Hawai‘i’s clean energy future.

As rooftop solar opens the door to new clean energy markets and consumer choices, NextEra sought to take Hawaii back to the fossil-fueled monopoly of the past.

Overview

A coalition of clean energy groups petitioned the Hawaiʻi Public Utilities Commission to complete its ongoing work to plan Hawaiʻi’s energy future before considering the proposed acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Industries, Hawai'i's main electric utility, by Florida-based NextEra Energy.

NextEra’s proposal to buy Hawaiian Electric for $4.3 billion was announced in early December 2014 and required various approvals, including by the Commission.

Two years later, after significant opposition from elected officials and the public, the Hawaiʻi Public Utilities Commission rejected the takeover of Hawaiian Electric utilities by NextEra Energy. The utility takeover would have been the biggest business deal in Hawai‘i’s history — and the biggest threat to Hawai‘i’s clean energy future.

This victory is one of only a handful of rejections in the decades-long history of utility mergers, demonstrating Hawai‘i's commitment to a clean energy transformation.

The coalition includes Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice, Blue Planet Foundation, Hawaiʻi PV Coalition, Hawaiʻi Solar Energy Association, and The Alliance for Solar Choice.

Case ID

2892

Attorneys

Clients

Case Updates

August 5, 2016 | Article

Model For Monopoly Power Companies Needs to Change

The Public Utilities Commission rejected the NextEra-Hawaiian Electric takeover deal, but the real work to build a clean energy system by and for the people of Hawaii has just begun.

July 15, 2016 | In the News: Honolulu Civil Beat

State Rejects Sale Of Hawaiian Electric to NextEra Energy

“Outright rejection of the takeover was the only realistic option. NextEra refused to provide its plans for Hawaii, other than to give us a ‘bigger HECO,'” said Isaac Moriwake, staff attorney at Earthjustice. “Based on its opposition to clean energy in Florida and failure to chart a different path in this state, NextEra is not what Hawaii wants or needs.”