County of Hawaii
The County of Hawaii’s Energy Program develops and initiates energy efficiency programs and renewable energy projects based on renewable energy resources. The Energy Program represents the County of Hawaii by participating in state and utility energy planning and regulatory programs, various Energy Boards and maintains the County’s Energy Emergency Preparedness Plan.
Managed by the Department of Research and Development, the Energy Program consists of four main areas:
- Regulatory and Legislative Programs – intervene, participate, monitor and serve as advocate for Hawaii County interests in Public Utility Commission proceedings.
- Renewable Energy Initiatives – implement projects that can save the county and taxpayer money while reducing the impact to the environment.
- Economic Development Projects – develop and encourage economy-stimulating projects in electricity, transportation and efficiency.
- Energy Emergency Preparedness – plan and prepare for energy emergencies resulting from natural disaster, market disruption or terrorism in fuel supplies.
County of Hawaii’s Commitment to Clean, Renewable Energy
West Hawaii Civic Center
The West Hawaii Civic Center (WHCC) in Kailua-Kona is powered by a 250-kilowatt solar power systems that is projected to save the facility $500,000 in electricity costs over the next 20 years. The $1.8 million photovoltaic system will generate an estimated 400,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, converting the 80,000 square-foot complex to 100% solar power. In addition, an Energy Storage System (ESS) has been installed which will diminish variations of power output such as time of day and weather conditions thus improving the power quality at the WHCC and on the energy grid. The WHCC is the first project on Hawaii Island done under the state’s feed-in tariff system that makes it easier for companies to sell electricity to the utility.
Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) is the only geothermal power plant in the state. PGV is comprised of two air-cooled power plants, a combined cycle system and a binary system, with a total generating capacity of 38 MW. The facility includes several features that make it environmentally friendly including: noise reduction enclosures a low-profile, small-footprint design; near-zero emissions; 100% geothermal fluid reinjection; and, continual monitoring measures. PGV commenced commercial operation in 1993. It was acquired by Ormat in June 2004. Over the years, Ormat has increased the output of the Puna power plant by upgrading the plant through resource development and with the addition of a bottoming OEC in 2011.
Big Island Biodiesel
Big Island Biodiesel, LLC is Hawaii’s newest and most advanced biodiesel production facility and the first biofuel refinery to be built since 2000 when Pacific Biodiesel constructed its Sand Island refinery on Oahu. With this opening, the State’s biodiesel production capacity increases 500%, to 5.5 million gallons per year. Pacific Biodiesel’s cleaner, safer, highest-quality biodiesel is processed from used cooking or trap grease oil, virgin vegetable oil and/or animal fats, and can be used in any unmodified diesel engine.
Several farmers in North Kohala are now benefiting from an innovative off-grid water-pumping system powered by a Northern Power NPS 100 wind turbine. Like many others in remote locations and island communities, North Kohala farmers have been searching for an alternative to using polluting, expensive diesel fuel to generate electricity. This microgrid project, known as SkyGrid Energy, marks the growing trend of turning to affordable, clean, renewable wind energy as the solution.