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Kauai utility pursues pumped water energy storage

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Kauai’s electric utility has won approval to pursue a new pumped water energy storage project on the island’s west side.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources signed off on the project Friday.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative system will use a five-mile-long buried steel pipeline to connect an upper storage pond to a lower pond.

Solar power will push water to the upper storage pond during the day. The water will be released downhill at night, when it will generate electricity by turning a turbine.

The system would generate about 25 megawatts at night, producing 13 percent of Kauai’s electricity.

The utility says the system won’t remove any water from streams or ditches. The project would be the first of its kind in Hawaii.

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