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PGV Hosting Community Meeting on Project, EIS Prep

August 5, 2022, 2:00 PM HST
* Updated August 5, 10:11 AM
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The Puna Geothermal Venture plant located in Pohoiki in lower Puna. PC: PGV.

Puna Geothermal Venture will host a community meeting Wednesday, Aug. 17 from 5-8 p.m. at the Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility, 15-2906 Pāhoa Village Road.

The meeting will provide background information and an opportunity for public comment regarding PGV’s Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice, or EISPN. This is the first step in the process of preparing an Environmental Impact Statement, EIS.

On March 16, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved an amended contract between PGV and Hawaiian Electric, with conditions that an environmental review under the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act be completed. An EIS was identified as the appropriate environmental document, and the County of Hawai‘i Planning Department has been designated the approving agency for the EIS.

The session will begin with an informational open house from 5-6 p.m., and from 6-8 p.m., oral comments will be accepted (to be recorded via audio and video). Substantive comments received during scoping will be addressed in the next phase of the process, which is preparation of the Draft EIS.

“We will provide detailed information, and answer questions, about the purpose and content of the EISPN in the first hour of the meeting, followed by public comment,” said Michael Kaleikini, Ormat’s senior director, Hawaiʻi Affairs. “There will be ample time for all to get their feedback into the record.”

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The public comment period on the EISPN is open until Aug. 22. Comments can be made in person at the Aug. 17 meeting or can be submitted in writing, either at the meeting or via email to [email protected] and [email protected], or mailed to Michele Lefebvre, P.O. Box 191, Hilo, HI 96721 and County of Hawaii Planning Department, Aupuni Center, 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 3, Hilo, HI 96720.

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Pending government approval, PGV and Hawaiian Electric have negotiated an Amended and Restated Power Purchase Agreement (ARPPA) that will regulate power generation at the PGV plant through the year 2052.

The ARPPA proposes to replace the current 12 operating power-generating units with up to four upgraded power-generating units (Repower Project). The Repower Project would be constructed within the current PGV facility fence line, would replace current units with more efficient and quieter equipment, would increase capacity of the geothermal plant from 38 to 46 megawatts, and would delink pricing for energy from oil costs with no escalation. The EIS will review the environmental impacts of the ARPPA and the Repower Project.

Under State law, the first step in the EIS process is the preparation of an EISPN to initiate public scoping and identify environmental concerns. The full document is available here.

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There will be an additional meeting and other opportunities for public comment as part of the process following the issuance of the Draft EIS. More information is available at: https://punageothermalproject.com/eis/

PGV, a subsidiary of Ormat Technologies, a world leader in geothermal energy, currently generates between 25 and 26 megawatts of energy for Hawaiʻi Island.

“Under the amended agreement, we will be able to produce clean energy more efficiently for Hawaiʻi Island. Geothermal is a firm source of renewable energy and is a key part of meeting the state’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2045,” said Kaleikini.

Puna Geothermal Venture has been producing electricity from geothermal resources since 1993. Prior to the 2018 eruption, it was providing over 38 megawatts of power. PGV was acquired by Ormat Technologies in 2004. Ormat provides clean, reliable energy solutions from geothermal and recovered energy as well as energy management and storage solutions. Its U.S. operations are based in Reno, Nev.

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