> The final geothermal request for proposals was issued by Hawaii Electric Light Company as the utility seeks to increase its use of renewable energy and lower costs to customers on Hawaii Island, 2/28/13.
> Hawaii Electric Light Company has filed a draft geothermal request for proposals as the company seeks to add more geothermal energy to its renewable resources generation, 11/9/12.> Hawaii Electric Light Company hopes to add up to 50 MW of additional geothermal power on Hawaii Island, 1/6/12.
Geothermal energy is the heat stored beneath the earth's surface in the form of hot liquid, dry steam, or hot dry rock.
Puna Geothermal Ventures (PGV), located on the slopes of Hawaii Island’s Kilauea Volcano, produces energy using steam brought up from underground wells. A hot liquid, called brine, also flows from the wells but is not currently used by the existing plant. PGV is planning an expansion of the plant to use this previously unused resource. The steam that flows from the wells turns turbines to produce electricity. One hundred percent of the fluids and condensed steam are injected back into the Earth’s interior without exposure to the open air. As a result the plant has near zero emissions.
In operation since 1993, PGV delivers up to 30 megawatts of firm, renewable energy to Hawaii Electric Light Company for distribution to Hawaii Island customers, providing nearly 20 percent of the Big Island’s electricity needs. It is the only commercial geothermal power plant in the state.
How Geothermal Energy works – Geothermal Resources Council virtual tour
The future of geothermal in Hawaii
Hawaii Electric Light Company is currently negotiating for PGV to increase the amount of electricity it delivers by 8 megawatts. Geothermal exploration is occurring in the Kona and south Maui areas. Geothermal production near Kona places generation closer to a major load center, which would reduce transmission losses and the need for new additional cross island transmission lines. A geothermal sub-zone designation process, including considerable discussions on community and cultural issues, would be necessary before resources could be developed on the Kona side of Hawaii Island.
In October 2009, Ormat Technologies, Inc., the Israel-based company that owns and operates PGV, won three U.S. Department of Energy contracts to use innovative methods to search for geothermal power resources, including on Maui.
Geologists believe the most likely geothermal resource on Maui would be the southwest rift zone of Haleakala, which is where the last outbreak of lava occurred about two centuries ago. Another likely spot is the east rift zone in Hana.In the 1980s, Hawaii Electric Light Company operated and maintained a 3 megawatt demonstration power plant for seven years, using the geothermal well developed by the University of Hawaii.
More About Geothermal
Natural Energy Laboratory Geothermal Technologies Program
> Hawaii Electric Light Company issued a request for information on next steps to expanding geothermal energy on Hawaii Island. The full RFI is available at GeothermalRFI.heco.com, 6/22/11
> Puna Geothermal Venture has signed an agreement with Hawaii Electric Light Company to deliver an additional 8MW of geothermal power subject to PUC approval, 2/10/11
> A task force established by state lawmakers to evaluate the potential for new geothermal development in the Hawaii County has begun meeting.
> Island's energy future is in focus, 6/3/2010