May 22, 2012 - Hawaii Electric Light Company and Hu Honua Bioenergy have announced
the signing of a Power Purchase Agreement to provide Hawaii Island with
21.5 megawatts (MW) of renewable, dispatchable firm capacity fueled by
locally grown biomass.
Over the 20-year term of the agreement, the Hu Honua facility at
Pepeekeo on the Hamakua Coast would supply electricity at pricing not
tied to the price of oil.
The agreement requires approval by the state Public Utilities
Commission (PUC), with input from the state Division of Consumer
Hu Honua Bioenergy is converting the former Pepeekeo Sugar Mill into a
modern, efficient electric generation facility using renewable biofuel,
including locally grown biomass, such as eucalyptus. The facility will
consist of a biomass fuel yard, steam boiler, turbine and generator. The
previous plant used sugar cane waste and later, coal.
Estimates are that Hu Honua will be able to supply about 10 percent
of the island’s electricity needs. The plant is anticipated to be
completed approximately 18 months after refurbishment begins.
“Hu Honua’s facility will supply us firm renewable energy at prices
that are stable and not tied to the unpredictable world oil market and
that is good for our customers,” said Jay Ignacio, president of HELCO.
“With the addition of Hu Honua to the HELCO power grid, over 50 percent
of our island’s electricity will be provided by renewable resources.”
“Hu Honua will displace about 250,000 barrels of oil per year,
keeping that money in the local economy,” said John Sylvia, CEO of Hu
The project will also support the local economy by creating about 80
to 100 jobs during the refurbishment phase and about 28 to 30 jobs when
the facility begins operation; another 100 indirect jobs are anticipated
in the timber and related industries.
“We look forward to providing dispatchable renewable energy to the
grid, which complements the integration of intermittent sources such as
wind and solar,” Sylvia said. “Our biomass-to-electricity process is
cleaner than fossil fuel, is efficient and makes use of existing
sustainable biomass on the island.”
Find out more at the websites for HELCO (www.helcohi.com) and Hu Honua Bioenergy: (www.huhonua.com).