It seems that the delaying tactics by Hawaiian utility HELCO have worked. The island state has now lost one group that was ready to invest in financing geothermal development.
As announced today, New Zealand based Eastland Group Ltd has decided to withdraw its proposed $10 million investment in a geothermal project.
Eastland Group’s investment would have provided a 20 percent stake in a joint venture with Innovations Development Group (IDG) and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for a 25 MW plant on Hawaii’s big island. “Eastland Generation Ltd’s subsidiary company Eastland Hawaii Inc first made a bid to Hawaiian Electric Company (HELCO) to build the plant in 2013, with a decision expected to be made in September of that year.” Nothing has evolved from that as reported previously here. The whole process has been highly controversial and it seems like the delaying tactics have worked. One can only hope that other investors that were previously interested continue to push for development that could help Hawaii to decrease its power bills and switch to base-load renewable energy.
Through a subsidiary, Eastland Group runs a 8.5 MW geothermal plant near Kawerau. The decision to pull out of the Hawaii deal will not affect plans for a second power plant at Kawerau, or the company’s relationship with IDG, said the company’s CEO Matt Todd. Last year the company received consent for Eastland Generation’s Te Ahi O Maui geothermal project to go ahead, with plans to build a 15 MW to 20 MW plant.
“Eastland Group believes the future of geothermal energy is promising, and we continue to investigate geothermal investment opportunities. Electricity demand has flattened over the past few years but there are strong signs that demand is now increasing on the back of positive economic growth in New Zealand. New generation will be required to meet this increased demand as well as to replace ageing, expensive and polluting thermal plant.”
Source: Gisborne Herald NZ