Puna Geothermal Venture back online after 2½ years, sends power to Hawaii Island grid
News Release from HECO
HILO, Nov. 12, 2020 – Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) has begun supplying electricity to the Hawaii Island grid, two and a half years after the eruption of the Kilauea volcano put it out of operation.
The delivery of electricity from the geothermal facility, one of the largest and most reliable renewable energy resources in the state, began on Nov. 5. Testing will take place over several weeks with production gradually increasing. Before the eruption, the plant produced 38 megawatts, representing about 15 percent of the island's firm generation capacity.
The return of PGV increases Hawaiian Electric's generation reserve margins, ensuring there is electricity available for periods of high demand when other generators are out of service for maintenance.
Resilience and reliability have also been enhanced by new transmission lines that connect the PGV facility to the grid. The new lines are attached to steel and wood poles that meet upgraded design and resilience standards. The cost of repairs was paid by PGV's owner, Ormat Technologies, Inc., and its insurers, not utility customers.
With PGV back online, Hawaiian Electric can further reduce the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity. Before shutting down in May 2018, PGV helped Hawaii Island achieve the state's highest renewable energy percentage, close to 60 percent. Without PGV in service, the island's renewable percentage in 2019 was 35 percent.
PGV's return to service will have little immediate impact on electric bills since oil prices have fallen significantly since its shutdown. The typical November bill for a residential customer on Hawaii Island using 500 kilowatt-hours is $163.74, down from $181.76 in November 2019.
* * * * *
Ormat Resumes Operation of Puna Power Plant
Puna Supplies Electricity to Hawaii Island Grid After Two and a Half Years of Repairs Following Volcanic Eruption
Expected to Ramp Production to 15 MW by Year-End 2020
News Release from Ormat, 11/12/2020
RENO, Nev., Nov. 12, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ORA) today announced that it has resumed operation of the Puna Geothermal Power Plant, which supplies electricity to the Hawaii Island grid, two and a half years after the eruption of the Kilauea Volcano disrupted operations.
Electricity production at Puna resumed on November 5th, 2020, and the plant is currently delivering between 1 to 2 MW of energy to the utility grid. Ormat expects to gradually ramp up production to approximately 15 MW by year end 2020, subject to the successful connection of an additional production well to the power plant.
Ormat’s recovery plan included building a new electricity substation and adding new geothermal wells. The company currently expects that completion of additional well field work, planned to occur over the next 6 months, will enable the power plant to further ramp up production, with the goal of resuming full operations by the middle of 2021.
“I truly appreciate the dedication and hard work of the Ormat team over the last two and a half years,” said Doron Blachar, Chief Executive Officer of Ormat Technologies. “The Puna Power Plant provides clean, renewable base-load energy for Hawaii, supporting the state’s standing as a recognized leader in green power, increasing Hawaiian Electric’s generation reserve margins and reducing the need of fossil fuels to generate electricity for the Island. Ormat and Hawaiian Electric have worked closely together, and strived thorough challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic in order to bring the Puna Power Plant back online for the residents of Hawaii. While the ramp to full capacity is taking slightly longer than we recently anticipated, I believe that we will be able to bring Puna back to normal operation during 2021.”
IM: Puna Geothermal Venture Begins Testing Power Plant
SA: Puna Geothermal back in action more than 2 years after Kilauea eruption
Jan 3, 2020: Electric Rates Going Down: HECO, PGV Agree to Dump 'Avoided Cost' Scam