Hawaii is set on becoming more than just “the” touristic destination – the Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) is putting in an effort to increase this year’s geothermal exploitation through a Geothermal Request for Proposals.
Plans include an increase to 50 MW out of geothermal power alone, not to mention the wind, solar, biomass and hydro energies that make up 30% of the island’s electricity output.
Since wind and solar are somewhat unpredictable sources, geothermal is a good shot at obtaining clean energy.
In this sense, HELCO‘s plan of action involves technical studies for manufacturing more transmission lines from the east, and also needs to find a way to pause the activity of some fossil fuel units when the geothermal source is on. More research has to be conducted to figure out how to program and regulate the power flow from the plant, as well as combining it with the other sources.
To find the best way of going about this, HELCO advanced a Request for Information in the summer of 2011 to get more feedback from potential geothermal developers, interested landowners and others. The reaction was unexpected: 20 answers testified of a genuine enthusiasm for this kind of initiative, which enabled HELCO to go further and put this into practice.
Mind you, this is not the first “green” energy project for Hawaii – the state already has a success story with Puna Geothermal Venture, a subsidiary of Ormat Technologies, whose geothermal plant produces 38 MW of geothermal energy annually.