New & Noteworthy: Hu Honua, Bigeye Tuna Limit

posted in: September 2017 | 0

Hu Honua Permit: The Public Utilities Commission has given the green light to a power purchase agreement between Hawaiian Electric and Hu Honua, the 30-megawatt power plant under construction some 10 miles north of Hilo that proposes to use trees as its main fuel source.

The order approving the agreement was issued on July 28. On August 7, the state consumer advocate asked the PUC to amend its order by adding requirements that would require the utility to file with the PUC “all Hu Honua invoices related to the engineering, procurement, construction, and maintenance associated with the project no later than 60 days after the commercial operations date” and copies of “Hu Honua’s income statements or results of operations related to the project that will allow the commission and consumer advocate” to compare actual results to projections made in support of the application.

In rejecting the consumer advocate’s request, the PUC noted that the consumer advocate had made a similar request for disclosures by the three O`ahu solar power plants whose power purchase agreements were approved in July.

The consumer advocate did not show that the original decision was “unreasonable, unlawful, or erroneous,” the PUC found. It could have made such an argument in its original statement of position filed in July, but did not, the PUC added.

Bigeye Quota Reached: The National Marine Fisheries Service forecast that by September 1, the Hawai`i-based longline fishery would reach its annual Western Pacific bigeye tuna quota of 3,138 metric tons.  On that date, NMFS announced, the fishery would be closed.

Bigeye tuna are experiencing overfishing, a condition where the amount caught is not sustainable over the long term. “Failure to close the fishery immediately would result in additional fishing pressure on this stock, in violation of federal law and regulations that implement” decisions of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, NMFS stated in its notice of the closure published in the Federal Register of August 14.

By the time the closure takes effect, it’s likely that NMFS will have approved bigeye quotas for the U.S. territories in the Pacific that, under a transfer arrangement with the Hawai`i Longline Association, will allow Hawai`i’s fleet to continue fishing. (For details, see the EH-Xtra item posted on the Environment Hawai`i home page: www.environment-hawaii.org.)

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