Hawaiian public warms up to geothermal development
Continuing discussions in Hawaii show that there is an increasing public acceptance of potential geothermal development in this island state of the U.S., with two companies looking at developing up to 100 MW of geothermal power capacity in Hawaii.
Continuing discussions in Hawaii show that there is an increasing public acceptance of potential geothermal development in this island state of the U.S.
There has been a strong interest by developers to build geothermal projects on Hawaii island and Maui. Electrical utilities of the state plan to buy up to 100 MW from independent power producers.
The only geothermal plant on this volcanic island group is Puna Geothermal Venture on Hawaii Island, a plant owned and operated by Ormat Technologies. The plant was started in 1993 and there has been no further development since.
In the past development of geothermal had to face some challenges. One planned project had to be abandoned after strong community opposition back in the 1990s.
At that time there were several things that didn´t help the developer, among them is the fact that the company didn´t seek community input. But developers now understand the need for public acceptance and community input in the planning process of a geothermal project.
Today, there are two companies looking to develop geothermal projects in Hawaii. Innovations Development Group (IDG) is planning to develop a 50 MW project on Hawaii Island. The company has some experience with geothermal projects in New Zealand.
In recent surveys and public discussions conducted by IDG, the public reacted overwhelmingly positive, “a big change to from what happened 20 years ago”, so Patricia Brandt of IDG.
The other company, Ormat is looking at extending its presence in Hawaii and develop additional projects.
Overall, both the political will but also an increasing public acceptance make it now seemingly much easier to develop projects in the state.
As an interest fact is to state that customers of Hawaii Electric Light Co paid 41.3 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity this month.