Hawaiian Electric Companies to go it alone

Following Hawaiian regulators’ Friday rejection of NextEra’s plans to acquire Hawaiian Electric Companies, the utility has issued a statement outlining its plans to continue as an independent company.

In particular, the company says that it is financially well-positioned for long-term success, noting that under the terms of the merger NextEra will pay parent company Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) a $90 million termination fee and up to $5 million for reimbursement of expenses.

Additionally, the spin-off of American Savings Bank, which was contingent on the acquisition, will not go forward.

One reason for the utility’s statement may be to placate public markets. HEI’s stock price plunged late Friday after the ruling was announced, falling to its lowest point in six months.

Solar and environmental groups had celebrated the ruling denying the acquisition, which echoed their concerns that NextEra wasn’t planning to do much more than it was required to in terms of deploying renewable energy and particularly distributed generation.

HEI, which has been engaged in fierce conflicts with local solar installers, affirmed its commitment to the state’s 100% by 2045 renewable energy mandate, and noted that it procured 23% of its electricity from renewable energy sources in 2015, ahead of the 15% which was required.

The company also mentioned its clean energy initiatives that are pending regulatory approval, including multiple smart grid, demand response and battery storage projects, as well as requests for proposals (RFPs) for 330 MW of renewable energy to be developed by 2022.