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Hawaiian Electric's Unit to Acquire 60MW Plant in Hawaii

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Hawaiian Electric Industries (HE - Free Report) announced that its subsidiary Pacific Current has entered into an agreement with ArcLight Capital Partners to buy Hamakua Energy Partners' 60-megawatt (MW) power plant on the Big Island, Hawaii.

The plant currently has a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with Hawaii Electric Light Co. (“HELCO”). Power produced from the plant is being sold to HELCO, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric. The handover of ownership will not impact the rates or the PPA, which expires in 2030.

The current purchase consideration is kept under wraps. HELCO had made an offer to acquire the plant on December 2015 for $84.5 million. The application was denied by Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”), stating that direct ownership of the plant will not benefit the customers.

What This Acquisition Entails

This indirect ownership when completed will further strengthen Hawaiian Electric operation in the State of Hawaii. Hawaiian Electric supplies electricity to 95% of the states’ population.

In addition, this acquisition will help in realization of the company’s goal to generate 100% electricity from renewable sources in Hawaii.

Our View

Hawaiian Electric continues making systematic investments in utility infrastructure development projects, primarily adding new generation facilities, replacing aging infrastructure and restoring transmission and distribution assets. The company plans to invest nearly $470 million in 2017 to further strengthen its operation.

At present, the company is awaiting the PUC’s decision on its Power Supply Improvement Plans, which outlined a detailed five-year plan charting the near-term actions that will provide a foundation to meet its 100% renewable goal by 2045. This 60 MW power plant purchase will be a positive move in that direction.

Price Movement

In the last month, shares of Hawaiian Electric have gained 0.5% against a decline of 1.2% of the industry it belongs to.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Hawaiian Electric currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the same space include Center Point Energy (CNP - Free Report) , Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (PNW - Free Report) and NRG Energy Inc. (NRG - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Center Point Energy pulled off a positive earnings surprise of 10.3% in the last four quarters. Its 2017 Zacks Consensus Estimate moved up 1.6% to $1.31, in the last 60 days.

Pinnacle West Capital reported a positive earnings surprise of 15.5% in the last four quarters. Its 2017 Zacks Consensus Estimate moved up 0.7% to $4.27, in the last 60 days.

NRG Energy pulled off a positive earnings surprise of 457.1% in the last four quarters. Its 2017 Zacks Consensus Estimate moved up 8.9% to 73 cents, in the last 90 days.

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