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Office of Hawaiian Affairs invests in geothermal consortium

Isaac Kepo‘okalani Hale Beach Park, Pohoiki, Puna, Hawaii (source: flickr/ Hawaii County, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 19 Apr 2013

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) voted in favour of an investment of $1.25 million into the Huena Power Consortium in a bid for a 50 MW geothermal contract with HELCO in Hawaii.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), a semi-autonomous entity of the state of Hawaii administering 1.8 million acres of royal land held in trust for the benefit of native Hawaiians (Wikipedia),  has voted yesterday to invest $1.25 million into the Huena Power Consortium with an upfront contribution of $600,000.

Huena Power Consortium was formed by Innovations Development Group, based in Honolulu, to seek a contract with Hawaii Electric Light Co. on providing up to 50 megawatts of geothermal electricity.

The consortium also includes Eastland, a New Zealand company. Media Talbert, legal advisor to IDG says the company is very happy about the decision.

If the consortium doesn’t win the contract by HELCO, OHA would not get its money back. If the consortium wins the contract, the return would be more than 20 percent. Currently, OHA already receives 20 percent of the state’s geothermal royalties.

OHA had hired outside consultants to evaluate a possible investment and based on it decided to invest in the consortium for the bid to win the HELCO contract.

While this investment is very small compared to the overall cost for the proposed 50 MW geothermal plant, it plays a crucial role in the bid for the contract and then getting the project off the ground.

For the consortium it was important to have OHA on board, which represents the interests of Native Hawaiians.

“Now, IDG is the only that has a native-to-native protocol that is going to address the problems of the past.

Rep. Denny Coffman, D-Kailua-Kona, Ocean View, Rep. Mark Nakashima, D-Hilo, Hamakua, Sen. Malama Solomon, D-North Hawaii, and Sen. Gil Kahele, D-Hilo, submitted testimony in favor of the investment, according to IDG.

Companies have until April 30 to submit a proposal for the HELCO contract. A decision may take 120 days. IDG is considering building a plant on Kealoha Estate land in Pohoiki if it wins the contract.”

Source: Hawaii Tribune – Herald