POSTED: 01:58 p.m. HST, May 21, 2012
A renewable energy company that plans to burn locally grown eucalyptus trees to generate 10 percent of Hawaii island’s energy needs signed an agreement today to sell the power to Hawaii Electric Light Co.
The project’s developer, Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC, is converting the former Pepeekeo Sugar Mill on the Hamakua Coast into a 21.5-megawatt power plant. The sugar mill, which closed in 1996, has steam boiler, turbine and generator that previously burned a sugar cane waste material called bagasse to generate electricity.
Hu Honua’s power purchase agreement with HELCO is subject to approval by the Public Utilities Commission. Neither Hu Honua nor HELCO would disclose the price of the electricity.
“Hu Honua’s facility will supply us firm, renewable energy at prices that are stable and not tied to the unpredictable world oil market and that is good for our customers,” said Jay Ignacio, president of HELCO.
He said once the Hu Honua facility is connected to the grid more than half of the electricity consumed on Hawaii island’s will be from renewable sources.