Hawaii regulators question cancellation of SunEdison solar contracts

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission is investigating the state’s largest utility, Hawiian Electric Co’s decision to cancel project contracts with embattled renewable energy company, SunEdison.

The utility pulled out of the contracts in February, citing SunEdison’s mounting financial woes as the reason. SunEdison experienced a whirlwind year in 2015; being dubbed the world’s only renewable energy company to offer solar, wind and storage and expanding over six continents before shares plummeted amidst a sea of legal troubles and technical defaults.

This was evidently reflected in Hawaiian Electric’s decision to terminate the PPA between the two countries over three proposed solar farms to be located in Hawaii’s third largest island, Oahu. After the troubled renewables firm failed to meet several financing deadlines, Hawaiian Electric sent notices to undo the contract in February.

SunEdison said it planned to alleviate the situation by selling the projects, including 47MW Waipio Solar, 15MW Mililani Solar and 50MW Kawailoa Solar projects to a group that includes DE Shaw, in an effort to divest US$336 million of its debt.

Alan Oshima, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric, in a widely reported letter to DE Shaw, said that it remains “acutely concerned about the risk of the projects being pulled into a bankruptcy proceeding and the unacceptable uncertainty that this situation would present to both Hawaiian Electric and our customers”.

However, the Utilities Commission defaulted on whether the state utility’s decision was in the public interest or not, but concluded that they had “acted too hastily and without an in-depth analysis of any perceived bankruptcy concerns”, in a report published on Tuesday.

The report criticised Hawaiian Electric’s lack of motivation to advance the projects, calling into question whether terminating the contracts would be in the interest of its customers, citing “no urgency on the part of HECO to at least attempt to have these three Projects go forward”.

“Staff finds HECO’s decision to terminate particularly puzzling in light of the fact that Shaw, through its subsidiaries, appears to be well qualified to finance, construct and operate the Projects.”

The state utility dismissed the Commission’s report, noting that despite DE Shaw’s interest in financing the projects, as a creditor of SunEdison, transferring could later be questioned during bankruptcy proceedings. 

4 October 2022
Solar & Storage Finance USA, the only event that connects developers to capital and capital to solar and storage projects, will be back in November 2022.

Read Next

May 11, 2022
solar tracker manufacturer FTC Solar has withdrawn its guidance for the year and warned of material uncertainties caused by the US AD/CVD investigation.
May 9, 2022
Independent power producer (IPP) Cypress Creek Renewables has closed a US$125 million debt facility to fund the expansion of its solar and storage pipeline.
May 4, 2022
US developer Origis Energy has secured a loan that will help it progress with its pipeline of more than 20GW of solar, PV-plus-storage and standalone storage projects.
May 2, 2022
Investment firm KKR has reached an agreement to acquire French renewables developer Albioma.
April 28, 2022
Investment firm KKR has launched Aster Renewable Energy, a renewable platform aimed to develop, build and operate solar, wind and energy storage projects in Southeast Asia.
PV Tech Premium
April 22, 2022
Having last month utility-scale solar in Sweden, Finnish investor Korkia is eyeing up a portfolio of renewables investments that stretches from Canada to Romania via partnerships with local developers capable of embracing the Lego-like replicability and scalability of solar PV. PV Tech Premium speaks to Mikko Kantero, executive vice president of renewable energy at Korkia, to find out more.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
June 14, 2022
Napa, USA
Solar Media Events
October 4, 2022
New York, USA