Sunday, February 21, 2016

Current HECO Bashing Unwarranted

Many are having a field day taking their cracks at the Hawaiian Electric Companies for bailing on the SunEdison renewable energy projects but have these same people even looked at SunEdison's legal and financial situation.  Or is local media just going to accept SunEdison's spin and pictures of an incomplete project because it's so much easier to bash HECO?

Any of these "reporters" could have easily googled SunEdison to get information.  It's easy to see the
decline in its stock prices over the past year.  Just reading their most recent 8K filing should have given some indication that something is just not right.  The purveyors of "news" could have easily read the articles written by other media outlets to get a more rounded story but it's far easier to bash HECO than to delve into SunEdison's financials, which was called the worst performing renewable energy company by Bloomberg.

This recent Bloomberg news article captures SunEdison's financial situation succinctly.  Here is an excerpt:
SunEdison Inc. is burning through its cash. 
The world’s biggest clean-power developer was expected to have about $1.2 billion at the start of the year, an amount that may drop to $270 million if a pending court case doesn’t go its way, according to an estimate by Patrick Jobin, an analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG. 
The company spent billions last year acquiring developers and power projects around the world. Now it’s spending more to convert in-progress wind and solar farms into electricity-generating assets that can be either sold off or retained for their long-term revenue streams. In the meantime, its balance sheet is dragged down by interest on almost $11.7 billion in debt, and two legal cases that threaten to crimp its cash position. 
“Put simply, SunEdison has tried to run too quickly -- seeking hyper growth at the same time capital markets are challenged -- constraining their balance sheet,” Jobin said in a research note Thursday when he downgraded the company’s shares to the equivalent of hold. The company got another downgrade Friday from Janney Montgomery Scott, also to the equivalent of hold.
It appears HECO had good reasons to get out when it could.  SunEdison's missing contractual milestones gave HECO solid justification to exit a situation that would be untenable in the future if it choose to overlook the situation (damned if you do, damned if you don't).  This decision gave HECO a better chance of controlling the unfinished project and unused reserved capacity rather than be tied up in bankruptcy court holding the bag with unfinished SunEdison assets.

So all you guys out there, like Representative Chris Lee with your conspiracy theories and no fiduciary responsibilities to Hawaii's ratepayers, are you willing to take the blame should this fiasco head further south by forcing HECO to continue with these projects?  Hmmm, I don't think so.  HECO is not to be blamed for SunEdison's failed business model.


  1. There's a lot of lazy reporting on both HECO/Nextera and energy in general But if Bloomberg is right (and I'm not convinced the article isn't overly speculative) then I have to wonder at Randy Iwase's reaction. If it's uncalled for because he's not fully informed is he just letting his general disgust with both HECO and Nextera spill over into uninformed criticism?

  2. The results of HECO and PUC cacanceling the SunEdison PPA is extremely short sited. SunEdison was in the middle of letting D.E. Shaw take the keys and finish the projects. Now Hawaii gets a project that is half baked and field of steel. The courts will certainly tie up the time period where it will take years to either get these projects completed or get other projects off the ground. Good going Hawaii, shoot yourself in the foot and reload.....

  3. I think Mina Morita has been reading HECO's PR and believing it. Just like Nevada's PUC was hoodwinked by NV Energy enough to cancel net metering, retroactively as well. Terminate for the benefit of it's customers? You actually believe that? If PUC allows HECO to terminate, Sune Edison will either arbitrate or sue and these projects and the land it stands on will be tied up in court for years. Oahu residents will be the ones who suffer the most. Way to go HECO.

    Read the PUC filings in detail you will find "missed contractual deadlines" to be shared by both parties and mean only easement grants by Hawaiian Telephone and Castle & Cooke delayed by 1 and 2 weeks, Grading Earth report not to HECO's satisfaction, delayed $16M payment by less than 2 weeks but within a cure rate that was NOT properly granted by HECO.

    You also buy HECO's argument that the new owner can have his ownership clawed back during bankruptcy? That applies to people who have withdrawn their funds in a ponzi scandal before it's collapse like what you see in Madoff's case. And even those cases is not clear how much they can claw back. D.E. Shaw will be the new owner clear of any liability. Even if there is, it is Shaw's problem not HECO's.

    Doesn't even matter who is right, Hawaii customers get hurt the most because of HECO's behavior. What riles me the most is when they say "customer's best interest" is to terminate.