Utility seeks biofuel approval
HONOLULU - The Big Island's electric utility is asking the state Public Utilities Commission to approve a new contract it has to buy 16 million gallons of biofuels each year to supply its Keahole Power Plant.
Hawaii Electric Light Co. said Thursday that the proposed contract with Aina Koa Pono will save its customers $125 million over 20 years compared to an earlier plan the utilities commission rejected.
Aina Koa Pono will initially harvest existing invasive plants, eucalyptus, and local green waste such as macadamia nut husks. It's working with the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center to find appropriate plants to farm afterward.
It plans to farm over 12,000 former Kau Sugar Company acres.
State law requires Hawaii's electric utilities to get 40 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2030.
Queen's set to reopen hospital
HONOLULU - The Queen's Medical Center will spend $73.2 million to reopen a leeward Oahu hospital that closed last year.
Hawaii Medical Center West in Ewa Beach closed in December after declaring bankruptcy, leaving west Oahu without a hospital and taxing the island's remaining emergency rooms.
KITV reports that Queen's filed formal documents Thursday to buy the hospital.
A public notice in the Star-Advertiser on Thursday confirmed that Queen's is buying the hospital.
The west Oahu facility is expected to reopen next year.
St. Francis Healthcare System sold its two hospitals to Hawaii Medical Center in January 2007. Hawaii Medical Center later went bankrupt.