Geothermal Working Group presents findings Wednesday (Jan 4)

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Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7


The separation system, where steam and geothermal fluids are separated before being sent to the turbines to create electricity at Puna Geothermal Venture.

The Geothermal Working Group presented their final draft of the Geothermal Working Group Report Wednesday (Jan 4) at Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi’s office.

The report, sponsored by the County of Hawaii, evaluated the use of geothermal energy as a primary source of electricity for the Big Island. The report includes an analysis of technical data and expert testimony providing convincing rationale to develop local renewable energy plants and transition away from the county’s dependence on petroleum-fueled generators for baseload electricity. The report, which is currently being circulated within Hawaii’s State Legislation and was developed as research to help support Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative goals.

Geothermal Working Group Co-Chairs Wally Ishibashi and Richard Ha discussed the groups findings.

The Geothermal Working Group’s principal findings:

  • Geothermal is a renewable resource indigenous to the island of Hawaii that is dissociated from the price volatility of petroleum fuels.
  • Geothermal can be a key component in a diversified energy portfolio for Hawaii County, both for the electrical grid and for transportation.
  • In Hawaii, geothermal is a firm-energy resource at lower cost than fossil fuel.
  • Developing multiple geothermal plants is the most prudent approach.
  • Geothermal has the potential to supply baseload electricity; long term reliability and the ability to supply grid management services (currently supplied by conventional fossil-fueled power plants) must be demonstrated in order to consider geothermal as the primary energy resource.
  • With geothermal power plants, agricultural fertilizers, hydrogen, oxygen, and business-enterprise power can be produced for off-peak rates during the hours of curtailed electrical demand.

For a copy of the Geothermal Energy Working Group – Final Report go to http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/research-and-development

2 Responses to “Geothermal Working Group presents findings Wednesday (Jan 4)”

  1. John Floyd says:

    Congratulations to all of you folks on Hawaii. 100% energy independence for the County by 2015 is quite an admirable, and I believe achievable goal. While geothermal for your electrical needs, and its hydrogen byproduct for your land transportation are critical components of energy independence, they do not address one aspect of energy dependence that affects all the Islands and that is air and shipping fuel.

    While I agree with Richard Ha that we should not use our agricultural lands and fresh water to produce biofuels when they are needed for agricultural crops, bio-fuel from algae requires neither of these.

    The large stretches of arid State land between Kona airport and Kawaihae Harbor, with their access to ample sun and seawater could prove ideal for growing algae. The resulting bio-fuel production industry could not only become an economic boon for the Island, but help stabilize the cost of fuel for the airlines and shipping companies, and help to secure tourism and our cost of food in the process.

    The Dept. of Defense is currently pushing and helping finance the development of bio-fuels so that their military is independent of foreign oil. I would heartedly recommend that local officials work with the U.H., algae firms and the DOD to develop this fuel source, as so many are on the Mainland where it’s less critical, and help make Hawaii truly energy independent.

  2. Truce says:

    Nobody mentioning the facts that our Helco consumers have paid 1000% increase in bills. Profits go where ? District 5 soon to be 4 pays lowest sspp’s. Gets the royalties. Helco gets our sspp’s never repaid. Hawaiian homelands YES should get 50%. But our taxes and utilities repay us nothing. Our costs increase and no solar incentives are affordable. They go to military, county and state. We the consumers get to continue 1000% increase to our fuel and utility bills. So county can steal our roads for we pay for. !! Another greedy benefit to private entities. Bad karma.

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