POSTED: 5:44 p.m. HST, Jan 12, 2011
Kauai Island Utility Cooperative said it has signed a preliminary agreement with a Massachusetts-based company to explore the development of hydroelectric energy projects on Kauai.
“This is the first step in a lengthy public process to explore the viability of several hydroelectric projects,” said David Bissell, acting chief executive officer at KIUC. “Our members have long recognized the hydroelectric potential on Kauai, and we feel now we have the financial resources and the proven developer to move forward,” Bissell said in a news release.
KIUC signed the agreement with hydropower developer Free Flow Power Corp. based in Glouscester, Mass. The utility did not mention which rivers on Kauai may be considered for the projects.
As part of the process Free Flow Power has filed four preliminary applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If granted, the permits would allow KIUC and Free Flow Power to further explore the viability of the projects, a process that will take several years and require numerous reviews by a variety of regulatory agencies.
There are currently five commercial hydroelectric power plants in the state, three on the Big Island and two on Maui, with a maximum generating capacity of about 21 megawatts.