New plan made to address energy loss due shutdown of PGV power p - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New plan made to address energy loss due shutdown of PGV power plant

In this aerial photo lava inches toward the Puna Geothermal Venture plant site. (Image: G. Brad Lewis) In this aerial photo lava inches toward the Puna Geothermal Venture plant site. (Image: G. Brad Lewis)

At the request of Governor David Ige, the Hawaiii Public Utilities Commission has met with state power providers to develop a series of rapid response actions to address the loss of renewable generation from the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) power plant due to the ongoing lava flow on Hawaii Island.

According to a news release put out by the commission, the PGV power plant provided 38 megawatts of firm, dispatchable renewable energy, representing about one quarter of Hawaii Island’s energy supply, and more than half of all renewable energy generation on Hawaii Island.  

The PUC says in the near-term, electricity formerly provided by PGV will be generated mostly by burning fossil fuels, increasing air pollution and raising electricity prices for customers.  

“I commend Hawaii Electric Light for its efforts responding to the lava flow on Hawaii Island.  The Commission is committed to supporting the Hawaiian Electric Companies and Hawaii Energy in this multifaceted response plan,” said PUC Chair Randy Iwase.  

Iwase claims these new actions will help improve reliability and reduce costs to customers.

The PUC has asked the Hawaiian Electric Companies and Hawaii Energy to take immediate steps to respond to the economic, reliability, and renewable energy impacts created by the natural disaster.  

“Hawaii Electric Light and the other Hawaiian Electric Companies appreciate the community’s and Governor’s support in giving us the chance to process more pending renewable and energy saving projects that will help our customers and the environment in this time of need,” said Hawaii Electric Light President Jay Ignacio.

According to the PUC, in order to help meet the electricity needs of the Big Island, Hawaii Electric Light and the other Hawaiian Electric Companies will expand and accelerate development of new renewable energy projects, continue to expedite interconnections of pending rooftop solar and storage, and collaborate with Hawaii Energy to implement new demand response and energy efficiency programs for Big Island residents and businesses.

“We understand that energy may not be top of mind for those dealing with the repercussions from the eruption,” said Hawai‘i Energy Executive Director Brian Kealoha.  “Hawaii Energy stands ready, along with the PUC and Hawaii Electric Light, to help our Big Island community reduce their energy bills through efficiency.” 

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