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Honolulu seawater air conditioning plan clears hurdle

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Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning LLC has cleared a significant regulatory hurdle in its plan to cool downtown buildings with cold ocean water drawn from the depths off of Kakaako.

The company announced today that it has been granted a state conservation district use permit to build and operate the offshore portion of its project.

The permit, granted by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, represents a “major step” in a project that will help reduce the state’s dependence on imported oil for energy needs, HSWAC said in a news release.

“Hawaii is the nation’s largest per capita consumer of electricity and air conditioning is the most substantial component found on a building’s electricity bill. This technology will save millions of dollars for downtown Honolulu and its tenants,” said Anders Rydaker, the company’s chief operating officer.

He estimated the project will eliminate the need for 178,000 barrels of oil a year. The system is projected to cut electricity consumption for cooling downtown Honolulu by 75 percent, and reduce the use of refrigerants, potable water, sewage, and chemicals consumed in air conditioning. 

The project also will also generate more than $200 million in construction project spending, and create about 1,000 construction jobs, Rydaker said. Service to customers is expected to begin in 2013.

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