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Hawaii Seeking Cleaner, Lower Cost Fuel Alternatives

Article-Hawaii Seeking Cleaner, Lower Cost Fuel Alternatives

Hawaii Gas, the state’s regulated gas utility, is looking to purchase renewable natural gas (RNG) as part of its fuel diversification strategy from local and national suppliers who can provide RNG in increments of up to 8,000 MMBtu per day (Million British thermal units).

“Hawaii Gas is seeking proposals for the delivered cost and quantity of bio-methane (raw biogas) or upgraded bio-methane (RNG), which is most commonly produced from wastewater treatment plants, landfills or other sources of biomass,” says Joseph Boivin, senior vice president of business development and corporate affairs for Hawaii Gas. “The RNG will be blended with our synthetic natural gas on Oahu and distributed through an existing 1,000 mile utility pipeline distribution system to approximately 30,000 residential and commercial customers.”

Hawaii Gas, located in Honolulu, plans to enter into one or more fuel supply agreements for renewable natural gas, contingent on Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approval. The term of the agreement would be for a minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years. Proposals are due March 7, 2016.

“Incorporating RNG into our operations enables us to support the State of Hawaii’s renewable energy leadership while diversifying our fuel supplies and enhancing reliability for our customers,” says Boivin. “Purchasing local sources of biogas from municipal landfills and wastewater treatment centers means that that energy, which would have otherwise been discarded through flaring, can now be put to good use, which is better for our environment.”

Led by Boivin and managed by Richard DeGarmo, director of renewable energy and capital projects for Hawaii Gas, the renewable gas initiative is set to lower costs and offer cleaner fuel.

“Hawaii Gas is looking at other lower cost and cleaner fuel supply diversification alternatives including liquefied natural gas and hydrogen,” says Boivin. “Hawaii Gas does not currently incorporate RNG from wastewater treatment plants or landfills, but does incorporate reverse osmosis water from a nearby wastewater treatment plant in our SNG manufacturing process. The non-fossil fuel RO water accounts for 2.4 percent of the energy in our SNG sent to customers.”

The company’s market includes Hawaii’s approximately 1.4 million residents and nearly 8 million visitors. Hawaii Gas manufactures synthetic natural gas, or SNG, for its utility customers on Oahu, and distributes liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG (propane), to utility, tank and bottled gas customers throughout the state’s six primary islands.

“Hawaii Gas actively promotes and focuses on sustainable practices in its business,” says Boivin. “We are seeking to incorporate increasing amounts of cleaner and renewable fuels into our business to reduce emissions, diversify supply and mitigate price volatility to better serve our customers.”

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