LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Garden Island is getting even greener thanks to funds from a new federal loan.
Senators Brian Schatz, Mazie Hirono and Tulsi Gabbard announced Friday the Kauai Island utility Cooperative (KIUC) is getting $60 million in funding to improve electrical infrastructure.
"KIUC is on track to be 50% renewable by 2023 and this funding will help them reach that goal," Sen. Schatz said. "This loan will help KIUC continue the work it's already doing to improve resiliency, stay energy independent, and keep Kaua'i clean and green."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing the loan that will fund the upgrade of more than 70 miles of power lines and support small grid projects to increase renewable energy production.
About 40 percent of Kauai's electricity already comes from renewable sources.
KIUC also announced Friday plans to pursue a renewable energy project on the island's west side.
The pu'u Opae Energy Project incorporates photovoltaic energy with pumped storage hydro technology and could provide up to 15 percent of the island's energy needs.
The KIUC Board approved up to $350,000 in September for studies and and preliminary surveys.