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Big Island Leads in Renewable Energy Use

August 8, 2007

The Big Island is blessed with many renewable energy resources—solar, geothermal, wind, biomass, and run-of-the-river hydro. About 1/3 of the electricity generated on the Big Island is produced from renewable energy resources. In fact HELCO, as a stand-alone utility, is a world leader for the amount and diversity of renewable energy used to generate electricity, as well as for the proportion of intermittent renewable energy resources being used.

Intermittent sources of electricity rely on nonconstant sources of power, such as wind, stream flows, and sunshine. HELCO has committed to increasing the amount of renewable resources, both intermittent and firm, used to generate electricity and is aggressively working to mitigate potential system reliability impacts of intermittent renewable energy resources.

Independent power producers in Hawaii can take advantage of beneficial financing options and generous federal and state energy tax credits that may not be available to a public utility like HELCO. However, HELCO continues to support the development of renewable energy by purchasing renewable energy from the independent power producers.

Additionally, HELCO supports the installation of customer-sited renewable energy systems under the state’s net energy metering
legislation, which allows excess power generated by customers from renewable energy sources to be fed into the power grid.
Current independent power producers include: Puna Geothermal Venture, with 30 megawatts (MW) of geothermal power; Hawi Renewable Development, with 10.6 MW of wind power; Pakini Nui, with 20.5 MW of wind power; and Wailuku Hydro, with 12.1 MW of hydropower; along with other smaller producers.

Looking forward, independent power producer Sopogy, Inc. is planning to construct a 3.5-MW concentrating solar energy farm.
With so many renewable energy options available, we at HELCO can foresee no circumstance under which we would seek to construct a new fossil fuel plant.

View full story: helco_consumer_lines_aug07.pdf

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