Tag Archives: hawaii

[NEWS] Hawaii Biomass Project Slated for December 2018

– by Tom Callis, August 9, 2017, Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Hu Honua Biomass Hawaii Tribune Herald

Photo: Hawaii Tribune-Herald

A Hu Honua Bioenergy official says construction of its biomass power plant near Pepeekeo is moving “full speed ahead” and is on track to be complete in December 2018.

The project recently was brought from the brink after the state Public Utilities Commission approved an amended power purchase agreement with Hawaii Electric Light Co. on July 28.

The utility previously canceled its contract with Hu Honua, which initially planned to be complete in January 2016, due to missed deadlines. The amended PPA is the result of a settlement agreement between the parties.

Harold Robinson, president of Island Energy, Hu Honua’s parent company, said construction resumed July 3 ahead of the ruling and the company is ramping up those efforts.

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[NEWS] Biomass Deal Will Increase Electricity Rates in Hawaii

– by John Burnett, May 27, 2017, Hawaii Tribune Herald

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Graphic: Hu Honua Energy

If Hu Honua Bioenergy’s long-delayed biomass power plant were to go online by the end of 2018, Hawaii Electric Light Company’s ratepayers would see increases in their electricity bills, according to an analysis HELCO filed Wednesday with the state Public Utilities Commission of a proposed power purchase agreement.

HELCO’s study used as its baseline the most recent power supply improvement plan, or PSIP, filed by HELCO in December, which includes how to gather 100 percent of energy from renewable sources such as solar, wind, water and biomass by 2045, a goal required by state law.

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[NEWS] Hawaii Biomass Facility Reaches Agreement with Utility Over Power Purchase

– by H.J. Mai, May 10, 2017, Pacific Business News

hu honua pacific business journal

Photo: Hu Honua Bioenergy

Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC said on Wednesday that it has reached an agreement with Hawaii Electric Light Co. on an amended power purchase agreement for its half-completed biomass plant on the Big Island.

HELCO agreed to revised terms for electricity to be produced by the biomass project and is submitting the amended contract to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission for approval of Hu Honua’s proposed pricing, according to a company statement.

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[NEWS] Developer of Unfinished Hawaii Biomass Facility Goes After Utility

– by Duane Shimogawa, May 19, 2016, Pacific Business News

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Photo: bizjournals.com

Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC, the developer of a $225 million biomass plant on the Big Island of Hawaii that is about 50 percent complete, is asking state regulators to investigate a Hawaiian Electric Co. subsidiary’s attempts to cancel the power purchase agreement with the two companies, Hu Honua said Thursday.

In March, Hawaii Electric Light Co. terminated its power purchase agreement with Hu Honua Bioenergy, developer of the 21.5-megawatt plant, after it missed several deadlines that were part of the agreement between the two companies.

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[NEWS] Biofuel Crops Could Replace Sugar Production

– May 8, Hawaii Tribune Herald

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Photo: Mauitime.com

Hawaii company Alexander &Baldwin is considering cattle grazing and crops used to make biofuels as it phases out sugar production at the state’s last sugar plantation.

The company held a conference call with investors last week covering topics such as a grazing trial on the island and weighing the possibility of leases for large-scale ranching.

President and CEO Chris Benjamin said the company hopes to help local ranchers meet the growing demand for grass-fed beef.

“And, we hope to help them address their infrastructure needs as they try to expand to meet this market,” he said.

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[NEWS] Another Nail in Coffin of Maui Trash Incinerator Plan

– April 28, 2016, Maui News

big_maui_mapFor over three years a working group of recycling operators, advocates and others have commented on what we see as a bad deal for Maui County.

The proposed waste-to-energy plan presented by the Arakawa administration was characterized as a “no-cost” plan for handling Maui’s solid waste resource management issues. We have consistently challenged this project as unsustainable, fiscally disastrous and environmentally irresponsible.

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[NEWS] Hawaiian Electric Interested in Sugar-Based Biofuels

– by Duane Shimogawa, April 20, 2016, Pacific Business News

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Photo: Alexander & Baldwin / Ed Gross

Hawaiian Electric Co. and Alexander & Baldwin Inc. may be working on a deal where the Honolulu-based utility would utilize A&B subsidiary Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Co.’s land for possible renewable energy projects as the 36,000-acre plantation shifts out of farming sugar, the head of HECO confirmed to PBN.

In January, A&B, one of the state’s largest landowners, said it was transitioning out of farming sugar at its HC&S plantation on the Valley Isle to move toward diversified agriculture. The transition will lead to the laying off of nearly all of the plantation’s 675 employees. In March, HC&S laid off nearly 100 employees as the company began to wind down its sugar operations.

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Hawaii Air Force Getting Own Power Grid That Relies on Trash

– by Audrey McAvoy, March 17, 2016, The Herald

Air Force Power From Trash

Photo: Audrey McAvoy/AP

The Air Force unit that defends Hawaii skies will get experimental energy technology that uses trash to generate power and relies on its own small electrical grid — a system intended to keep the unit operating if a bomb, cyberattack or natural disaster knocks out the local utility.

The Air Force Research Laboratory is spending $6.8 million on a facility that will produce electricity for the Hawaii Air National Guard unit that flies F-22s, the nation’s most advanced fighter jet.

Under the plan, the facility and accompanying microgrid would be able to break off and operate independently from Hawaiian Electric.

The project will mark one of the first such uses of a microgrid on an Air Force base and the largest test yet of the trash-to-power system. The system is being tested on a small scale in Illinois.

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Maui Waste Incineration Contract Off by $35 Million

– March 9, 2016, Maui Now

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Photo: Office of Council Services

An audit of the county’s Solid Waste Division reveals the county’s 20-year waste-to-energy contract is projected to cost $1.7 million per year more than presented to the council, Budget and Finance Committee Chair Riki Hokama announced today.

In January 2014, Mayor Alan Arakawa signed a 20-year agreement with Maui Recovery Facility LLC and Anaergia Services, with the administration stating annual savings to the county would be $916,500, compared to current landfill operations.

The audit, transmitted to the Budget and Finance Committee today by Council Chair Mike White, reveals the project will actually cost the county $835,000 per year over and above current operations, according to a press release.

“So, instead of a cost savings of $18.3 million, as announced by the administration when the contract was signed, there is a projected extra expense to Maui County taxpayers of $16.7 million for the term of the contract,” the press release stated. “This results in a $35 million cost disparity, according to the audit,” according to the announcement.

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Biomass Energy Growing Pains

– by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor

Eagle_Valley_captionSeveral biomass power facilities have come online over the last few years in Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida, and Hawaii, but not without difficulties, including fires, inefficient equipment, lawsuits, and competing with the low price of natural gas.

Gypsum, Colorado

Eagle Valley Clean Energy, an 11.5-megawatt biomass power facility in Gypsum, Colorado started operating in December 2013, only to have its conveyor belt catch fire in December 2014. Spokespersons said the facility would be back online shortly, yet as of October, it’s still offline. There have been no further media reports investigating why the facility still isn’t operating, and multiple calls and emails to the facility from The Biomass Monitor were not returned.

Another thorn in Eagle Valley’s claw is a lawsuit filed against the company in U.S. District Court in June 2015 by Wellons, Inc., an Oregon-based corporation that designed and built the biomass facility.

Wellons is suing Eagle Valley Clean Energy for $11,799,864 for breach of contract, accusing the company of “fraudulent transfers” and “civil conspiracy,” involving the transferring of $18.5 million of federal subsidies to “insider” parties in an alleged effort to hide the money. The money was issued to the facility from the federal government under Section of 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), also known as the Stimulus, involving payments to reimburse companies building renewable energy facilities.

Wellons claims that, on top of the nearly twelve million dollars Eagle Valley must pay them, they are owed past due interest of $1,185,433.56, with debt accruing at $3254.90 per day.

Another bump in the road for Eagle Valley involves the Chapter 11 bankcruptcy of the logging contractor that provides them the trees to fuel the facility, West Range Reclamation. West Range has provided nearly all of the wood to the facility since it opened, mostly from beetle-killed lodgepole pine from the White River National Forest.

Nacogdoches, Texas

Southern Power’s Nacogdoches Generating Facility, a 100-megawatt biomass power facility in Nacogdoches, Texas, opened in 2012 only to sit idle much of the time due to an inability to compete with the low price of natural gas, according to Reuters.

Rothschild, Wisconsin

In November 2013, WE Energies and Domtar Corp’s 50-megawatt biomass power facility opened in Rothschild, Wisconsin. However, it was offline from December 2014 through May 2015 for repairs, and was operational only 16% of the time during its first full year, in part due to an inability to compete with the low price of natural gas, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

Gainesville, Florida

The Gainesville Renewable Energy Center (GREC), a 100-megawatt biomass power facility, came online in Gainesville, Florida in 2013, and soon ran into controversy with noise complaints from neighbors.

In October 2014, the Gainesville City Commission approved an audit to look into financial transactions between Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) and GREC, which increased costs for the utility and its customers.

In April 2015, Wood Resource Recovery, one of the main fuel suppliers for GREC, sued the facility for breach of contract for $5 million in damages. Part of the complaint has to do with GREC’s refusal to take yard waste and materials from agriculturally zoned properties.

In August, the facility shut down temporarily, and when it became operational again, Gainesville Regional Utilities decided not to bring it back online, with no “projected return to service at this current time,” according to Margaret Crawford, GRU Communications Director. Instead, GRU is relying on power that is “more economic than GREC’s facility.”

In September, the city audit report uncovered that Gainesville Regional Utilities was paying $56,826 more per month than it was supposed to, totaling $900,000 in over-payments.

Koloa, Hawaii

Green Energy Team’s 7.5-megawatt biomass power facility in Koloa, Hawaii, was scheduled to start up in April 2015, but the official opening has been pushed back to November because the efficiency level from burning wood chips was lower than it should be, according to The Garden Island. The turbine was dismantled and reassembled, and is currently undergoing more testing.

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