East Hawaii News

HELCO Makes It Official; More Geothermal Power Sought

February 28, 2013, 5:18 PM HST
* Updated March 1, 10:07 AM
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Hawaii Electric Light Co. today announced it is officially seeking developers willing to provide up to 50 more megawatts of geothermally produced electricity.

HELCO’s request for proposal calls for prospective companies to submit a notice of intent to bid on the project by March 7.

Bids will be due on April 30. The Big Island utility said it expects to make a selection within 120 days of that date.

As with other recent contracts the utility has established with independent power producers, the new geothermal contract will not be tied to the cost of oil, which is also known as avoided-cost, HELCO said in a statement today.

The process began in June 2011 when HELCO issued a request for information from interested companies and landowners. Twenty responses were received.


HELCO issued a draft request for geothermal proposals in November.


The RFP required approval from the state Public Utilities Commission.

“Moving forward on geothermal is important to Hawaii Island because we want to increase our use of renewable energy and bring down costs to our customers, while also ensuring reliable service,” HELCO President Jay Ignacio said.

“At the same time, we are pursuing bidders who are committed to thoroughly addressing environmental, community and cultural concerns.”


Puna Geothermal Venture, the state’s sole geothermal power producer, currently is under contract to provide HELCO with 38 megawatts of electricity from its plant in Pohoiki on the lower east rift zone of Kilauea.

PGV has also received state approval to produce an additional 22 megawatts.

In addition to Puna, geothermal resources have also been identified on Mauna Loa and Hualalai.

PGV’s Israel-based owner, Ormat Technologies, Inc., is expected to submit a proposal for HELCO’s geothermal expansion.

Ormat last year indicated interest in developing a geothermal resource on the southwest slopes of Haleakela on Maui.

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