Big Island utility signs contract to buy biomass

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Hawaii Electric Light Company has agreed to purchase biomass electricity on the Big Island.

The Big Island utility and Hu Honua Bioenergy on Monday announced the signing of a power purchase agreement to provide the island with 21.5 megawatts of renewable energy.

Over the 20-year term of the agreement, Hu Honua would supply electricity at pricing not tied to the price of oil.

The company is converting the former Pepeekeo Sugar Mill into a generation facility using renewable biofuel, including locally grown biomass such as eucalyptus.

Hu Honua estimates supplying about 10 percent of the island's electricity needs.

The agreement requires approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, with input from the state Division of Consumer Advocacy.

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