POSTED: 8:31 p.m. HST, May 13, 2011
Eucalyptus trees harvested from the Big Island are being burned to test if the trees can be used as biomass and converted to renewable energy.
AES Hawaii began the test burn at its Kalaeloa plant this week and increased output on Wednesday from 180 megawatts to 185 megawatts.
The company says if the test burn is successful the biomass is to result in 5 megawatts of renewable energy per year, with the potential to increase up to 20 megawatts per year.
Company president and general manager Jeff Walsh says eucalyptus is a viable and sustainable source of alternative energy that can be harvested and converted with minimal environmental impact.
The company is in negotiations to see biomass energy to Hawaiian Electric Co.