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PGV to Host Community Meeting About Pending EIS Preparation Notice

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Puna community members will have the opportunity this week to comment about an environmental impact statement preparation notice being prepared by Puna Geothermal Venture.

PGV will host a community meeting in regard to the EIS preparation notice from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17, at the Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility located at 15-2906 Pāhoa Village Road. The meeting will provide background information and an opportunity for public comment.

The session will begin with an informational open house from 5-5:45 p.m., introductory remarks from 5:45-6 p.m. and comments from the public from 6-8 p.m.

Those who cannot attend in person can participate via Zoom. Click here to register.

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

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Under state law, the first step in the EIS process is the preparation of an EIS preparation notice to initiate public scoping and identify environmental concerns.

The public comment period for the EIS preparation notice is open until Aug. 22. Comments can be made in person during the Aug. 17 meeting or submitted in writing at the meeting, 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 St., Suite 3, Hilo, HI 96720.

The full EIS preparation notice is available online.

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 here.

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Substantive comments received during scoping will be addressed in the next phase of the process, which is preparation of the draft EIS.

On March 16, the state Public Utilities Commission approved an amended contract between PGV and Hawaiian Electric, with conditions that an environmental review under the Hawaiʻi Environmental Policy Act be completed. An EIS was identified as the appropriate environmental document. The Hawaiʻi County Planning Department was designated the approving agency for the EIS.

Pending government approval, PGV and Hawaiian Electric negotiated an amended and restated power purchase agreement that will regulate power generation at the PGV plant through 2052. The amended agreement proposes to replace the 12 operating power-generating units at the plant with up to four upgraded units.

The project would be constructed within the PGV facility fence line and replace existing units with more efficient and quieter equipment. It also would increase capacity of the geothermal plant from 38 to 46 megawatts and delink pricing for energy from oil costs with no escalation.

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The EIS will review the environmental impacts of the amended power purchase agreement and the proposed project.

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

PGV, a subsidiary of Ormat Technologies, currently generates between 25 and 26 megawatts of energy for the Big Island.

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