City to pursue green energy projects

City to pursue green energy projects

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city's new renewable energy program will including more rooftop solar panels on city buildings and wind farms on rural lands owned by the city.

It also includes the newly expanded HPower plant near Kapolei, which has added a third boiler to burn more trash and generate more electricity.

"It's a good news story here today," Mayor Kirk Caldwell said. "I think you're going to see us in the four years I am mayor looking for more opportunities like this either through direct financing through the city and through partnering with the private sector."

Caldwell unveiled the city's plans during a blessing ceremony for its latest -- and biggest -- solar project.

The city's corporation yard in Halawa uses solar panels to provide nearly half of the facility's energy needs. The $2.3 million dollar project will save the city about $130,000 a year.

The Halawa project is being paid for by city funds but Caldwell says private partnerships -- not taxpayers -- could foot the bill in the future.

"Several people have come into my office and wanted to talk about the possibility of using city facilities, in which they would build the facility and we would buy back the electricity," Caldwell said.

State officials say they're encouraged by the city's commitment.

"The city and county are looking very hard at what they can do and I think they're moving in the right decision," said Mark Glick, State Energy Administrator.

Future projects are not yet on the drawing board. But with the city's electricity bills topping more than $56 million a year -- and climbing -- there's some urgency to bring down those costs.

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