POSTED: 4:05 p.m. HST, Jan 6, 2012
The electric utility on Hawaii island said it will soon begin soliciting bids from developers to supply it with up to 50 megawatts of geothermal energy.
At the same time, Hawaii Electric Light Co. officials said they will undertake technical studies to determine the impact of that amount of integrating additional geothermal power into the island’s electrical grid.
An existing geothermal plant already accounts for about 20 percent of Hawaii island’s peak electrical load. An additional 50 megawatts would push the amount of geothermal generation to nearly 50 percent of peak load.
Unlike wind and solar power, which are intermittent in nature, geothermal resources provide a firm source of power. In order to accommodate the additional geothermal power HELCO said it would have to shutdown some of its oil-burning units.