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Puna Geothermal Venture Receives Approval to Boost Renewable Energy Supply in Hawai’i

Ormat’s Puna Geothermal Venture Wins Approval for Enhanced Power Purchase Agreement with Hawaiian Electric

In a significant development for renewable energy in Hawai’i, Ormat Technologies, Inc., a key player in the renewable energy sector, has successfully received the Hawai’i Public Utilities Commission’s (HPUC) nod for two substantial amendments to the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) existing between its Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) and Hawaiian Electric. This approval marks a pivotal moment, allowing PGV to supply an augmented 8 megawatts (MW) of reliable, renewable energy to Hawai’i Island. This increase raises the contract’s maximum capacity to 46 MW, while establishing a minimum contracted capacity at 30 MW. This breakthrough follows PGV’s diligent submission of a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for its operations in the Puna region of Hawai’i, a prerequisite stipulated by the HPUC for the green light on the amended and updated PPA originally proposed in December 2019.

The revised PPA is a unification of two previous contracts into a single, streamlined agreement, extending its duration through 2052. One of the highlights of this updated agreement is the provision of fixed energy rates, independent of fluctuating oil prices. This aspect not only offers PGV a consistent revenue stream but also secures ratepayers against unpredictable energy costs over the agreement’s lifespan. A crucial element of this arrangement involves the decommissioning of older generation units and their replacement with three advanced, high-efficiency units from Ormat. This transition to modern technology is scheduled to commence operations within a timeline of three years following the approval from HPUC.

Doron Blachar, the Chief Executive Officer of Ormat Technologies, shared his enthusiasm about the development, stating, “Ormat is excited to enhance and continue our collaborative efforts with Hawaiian Electric to address the state’s energy requirements efficiently. We are honored to support Hawai’i’s unwavering drive towards clean energy. These amendments are a testament to our dedication to fostering geothermal development in the region, and they pave the way for Hawai’i’s local population to benefit from Ormat’s advanced generation technology. This transition not only aligns with Hawai’i’s ambitious renewable energy goals but also mitigates the island’s dependence on unpredictable fossil fuel prices, ensuring a sustainable and environmentally-friendly energy future.”

The approval of these amendments by the HPUC is a significant leap forward in Hawai’i’s journey towards achieving its renewable energy aspirations. It underscores the state’s commitment to clean energy and the efforts of enterprises like Ormat in facilitating a transition towards a more sustainable and resilient energy ecosystem. The initiative reflects a broader move away from fossil fuels, promoting the adoption of renewable resources to meet the energy needs of Hawai’i’s communities sustainably.

Lily Greenfield

Lily Greenfield is a passionate environmental advocate with a Master's in Environmental Science, focusing on the interplay between climate change and biodiversity. With a career that has spanned academia, non-profit environmental organizations, and public education, Lily is dedicated to demystifying the complexities of environmental science for a general audience. Her work aims to inspire action and awareness, highlighting the urgency of conservation efforts and sustainable practices. Lily's articles bridge the gap between scientific research and everyday relevance, offering actionable insights for readers keen to contribute to the planet's health.

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