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Clean Air Act violations lead to nearly $200K for a Kapolei power plant

Aerial image of AES Hawaii LLC in Leeward Oahu
Aerial image of AES Hawaii LLC in Leeward Oahu(Google Maps)
Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 1:27 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 23, 2021 at 4:20 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A coal plant in Kapolei will pay nearly $200,000 in a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA fined AES Hawaii for violations of the Clean Air Act and emergency planning, along with the Community Right-to-Know Act.

In January 2020, the EPA said an inspection of their coal-fired plant in Kapolei uncovered the violations mainly associated with insufficient documentation, reporting, and proper labeling of the plant’s anhydrous ammonia system.

Inspectors also found failures with process hazard analysis and physical distance safeguards. Corroded piping and equipment, insufficient staff training and a lack of emergency shutdown procedure training was also part of the violations.

“Companies must take actions such as replacing corroded pipes and training staff on emergency shutdown procedures to reduce the risk of releases of hazardous substance to nearby communities and the environment,” said Amy Miller, EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Director of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Facilities that do not comply with chemical accident prevention requirements will face significant fines.”

In response, AES Hawaii said, “The AES plant at Barbers Point has been operated and maintained with the highest standards for nearly three decades and has provided safe, reliable, and affordable electricity that meets up to 20% of the island’s electricity needs.”

Their statement continued, “AES’ purpose is to accelerate the future of energy, together – with our customers, communities and stakeholders. We are helping Hawaii responsibly transition to a carbon-free energy future with a pipeline of renewable projects across the islands, totaling almost 400 MW of solar, solar plus storage, and wind resources either in operation and under development.”

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