Citing uncertainty about oil prices and instability in the ownership of the state’s electric utility, Mayor Billy Kenoi on Friday yanked the plug on a proposed waste-to-energy incinerator.
The project that sparked intense community debate and colored an election season will not be picked up again during the remaining two years of Kenoi’s term. If it had gone forward, the more than $100 million project would have been the county’s most expensive public works project in history.
Instead, the mayor said, he will focus on diverting more waste from the county’s two landfills, in particular organic and green waste. He will also work to get a state permit to steepen the slope of the existing Hilo landfill, a process he said would add eight to 10 years to its lifespan.
The dramatic decrease of oil prices from $100 a barrel to less than $50 drove down the price Hawaii Electric Light Co. would pay the county for electricity, making it less feasible that the facility would pay for itself, he said.