Hu Honua Names Komeiji to Board of Directors

April 15, 2016, 11:31 AM HST (Updated April 15, 2016, 11:34 AM)
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Rendering of Refurbished plant at Pepeekeo. HHB website photo.

Rendering of Refurbished plant at Pepeekeo. HHB website photo.

Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC has named three new leaders to its company: John Komeiji, Duane Kurisu, and Dennis Teranishi.

Komeiji is joining the company’s board of directors. He currently serves as a General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Hawaiian Telcom.

Joining Hu Honua’s advisory board are Kurisu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aio LLC, and Teranishi, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research, which is the parent nonprofit of Energy Excelerator. Teranishi is also the Chief Executive Officer of Hawaiian Host.

“We want all stakeholders to know that we are committed to being one of the best managed Hawai’i-based companies in the energy industry,” said Jennifer M. Johnson, the principal investor in Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC and Co-President of Franklin Resources, Inc. “We are very fortunate to have some of Hawai’i’s most accomplished business leaders joining our team, and I believe that speaks to Hu Honua’s capabilities and potential to do great things for the state. We hope to be allowed to fully perform under our power purchase agreement with Hawaiian Electric Light Company, which was previously approved by the PUC, and move forward to create a cleaner, more sustainable Hawai’i together.”

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Hu Honua purchased the old sugar mill plant in Pepeekeo and completely renovated it from the ground up, creating a bioenergy facility that will convert locally grown biomass into electricity.

It is Hu Honua’s hope to provide Big Island residents with a renewable and sustainable source of energy that will reduce the state’s dependence on imported fossil fuels, while creating much-needed local jobs in construction, operations, and in supporting industries, including forestry and transportation.

“I am excited to be part of this project,” said Komeiji. “It will provide a strong boost to the local economy, protect our environment, and give Big Island consumers protection from the volatility of the global oil markets, which, over the years, has made the price of electricity fluctuate unpredictably.”

“Ms. Johnson, along with affiliated investors, has committed an additional $125 million to complete work on the plant. Given her commitment and her experience in managing a global financial institution with a market capitalization of more than $22 billion, I believe Hu Honua is on sound financial footing,” said Kurisu. “I am enthusiastic about this project’s future and the benefits it will deliver to Hawai’i Island and the Hamakua Coast where I grew up.”

Teranishi, who holds a B.S. in crop science from California State Polytechnic University and an M.S. in soil chemistry and plant nutrition from the University of Hawai’i, commented on the availability of feedstock, “One of the big advantages of the project is the fact that over 30,000 acres of commercial timber are already under cultivation in an ideal growing environment. Demand for wood from Hu Honua will be an important driver in the development of the island’s timber industry.”

According to Ho Honua, more than $130 million has been invested in the facility, with the project about 50 percent complete.

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