No geothermal royalties collected in Hawaii in 2020

DLNR Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources logoThe state of Hawaii did not collect any royalties from the Puna geothermal plant in 2020, but with the restart of the plant this year, royalties should flow again.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources for the State of Hawaii recently submitted its report about geothermal development in Hawaii to the Hawaii State Legislature.

The yearly report covers the royalties the Department receives from geothermal and status of developing the interisland cable transmitting geothermal energy.

Due to the shutdown of the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) power plant on May 4, 2018 by a volcanic eruption along the Kilauea East Rift Zone (KERZ) and subsequent lava inundation of some of its facilities, PGV was unable to produce electricity during Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, so the report.

Puna Geothermal Venture OrmatTherefore, no geothermal royalties were received in FY 2020, and statutory distributions to the County of Hawaii (30%) and the Office of Hawaii and Affairs (20%) were also $0 during this period. During FY 2020, PGV diligently worked to restore electrical production, with plans to have the power plant back online by the end of calendar year 2020. Existing geothermal wells were serviced/modified, and new wells drilled to provide for electrical production. PGV also updated its power plant infrastructure by replacing older power generation equipment with more efficient units and refurbishing electrical substations with the goal of efficient and clean energy production to meet their allowed energy projection limits.

PGV applied for and received two permits to modify (clean out) existing geothermal wells and two permits to drill new geothermal wells.

HECo logo Hawaiian ElectricCurrently, the Island of Hawaii is the only island [in the state of Hawaii] benefiting from geothermal development. Power generation from geothermal energy began in May 1993 and, on average, annually provided more than 25% of the Island’s power demands until the plant shutdown in May 2018 due to the KERZ eruption.

For the last full year of operation of the Puna Geothermal plant in 2017, the report for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016-2017, the department reported a total of $1,202,832.92 in geothermal royalties received from Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV). In accordance with statutory provisions, $360,849.88 (30%) was distributed to the County of Hawaii. Additionally, $240,566.58 (20%) was distributed to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Geothermal royalties for FY 2016-2017 were based on the power production and sale of 276,029 MWh to Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) at an annual hourly average production of 31.5 MW. (report of 2017)

OrmatNo program work was performed during the FY 2020 to effectuate the intent of this statute regarding an interisland deep water electrical transmission cable system.

How far the interisland deep water connection between islands in Hawaii are real is a bit unclear. A larger scale study to look into interconnection between Puna, Hawaii island, to Maui and Oahu, the more populated islands of Hawaii, seems to have been cancelled in the late 1990s.

Source: Department of Land and Natural Resources, State of Hawaii (DNLR, pdf) via HGGRC

“No geothermal royalties collected in Hawaii in 2020”
May 8, 2021, by Alexander Richter, ThinkGeoEnergy
https://www.thinkgeoenergy.com/no-geothermal-royalties-collected-in-hawaii-in-2020/

Volcanic eruptions, hurricanes affect rainfall on Hawaiʻi Island

Diamond Tachera sampling a rain collector near the Puʻu Lāʻau cabin on Mauna Kea. Credit: Kiana Frank.

To better understand how and where groundwater is recharged on Hawaiʻi Island, a team of earth and atmospheric scientists from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa looked to the source—rainfall. In a published study, the team reported a time-series of rainfall data which highlights that extreme events, such as volcanic eruptions and hurricanes, can affect the chemistry of precipitation.

The researchers measured hydrogen and oxygen isotopes and the chemical composition of rainfall from central to leeward Hawaiʻi Island at 20 stations. Rain water isotopes help scientists identify the origin of groundwater and understand the recharge processes in a region.

Preparing for future water security

The results from this study can be used to better quantify and characterize precipitation—the ultimate source of Hawaiʻi’s groundwater.

“In order to better serve communities in Hawaiʻi, specifically in access to fresh water and ensuring better water management, we need to understand where the groundwater is recharging and how it flows in the different aquifer systems,” said Diamond Tachera, lead author of the study and graduate researcher at UH Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST). “This is critical to future water security.”

Diamond Tachera Profile Picture Ike Wai
Our PhD student Diamond Tachera

Serendipitous timing

Hawaiʻi Island is characterized by the interactions of Pacific trade wind flow with two 13,000-feet high mountains, as well as one of the largest natural emitters of sulfur dioxide on the planet—Kīlauea Volcano.

The study period included an extreme weather event, Hurricane Lane, a major volcanic eruption at Kīlauea in 2018 and the nearly-complete cessation of long-term volcanic emissions after that historic event.

“These events allowed us the rare opportunity to investigate the impact of volcanic emissions such as sulfate (also known as vog) and a hurricane on precipitation chemistry,” said Tachera.

Consistent with previous research, the study revealed long-term variability in rainfall chemistry due to changes in atmospheric and climate processes in this region. Additionally, the team found significantly more sulfate in the rain samples collected during the Kīlauea eruption and substantially less after the volcanic activity ceased.

This research is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

For more information, see SOEST’s website.

“Volcanic eruptions, hurricanes affect rainfall on Hawaiʻi Island”
May 7, 2021, UH News, University of Hawaii
https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2021/05/07/volcanoes-hurricanes-rainfall/

PGV power purchase agreement still in limbo

State of Hawaii Public Utilities Commission LogoHawaii County has responded to a request from the state Public Utilities Commission seeking input regarding an application for an amended power purchase agreement between Puna Geothermal Venture and Hawaiian Electric.

The PUC earlier this year suspended the application pending the completion of a supplemental environmental review it deemed necessary.

PGV in May, however, requested the suspension be lifted, after which the power plant said it would seek to engage with either Hawaii County or the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to determine whether an environmental review is required, and if so, what level of review would be needed.

But before the PUC can consider PGV’s proposal, it must “determine the DLNR’s and the county’s positions relative to environmental review,” the commission wrote in a June 4 order lifting the suspension of the docket in a limited scope to do just that.

Puna Geothermal Venture OrmatA letter was sent June 4 from the PUC to Mayor Mitch Roth and DLNR Chairwoman Suzanne Case asking if the county and department are willing and able to engage with PGV on the matter; whether they agree with the PUC’s finding that the project requires an environmental review pursuant to state statutes; and if they agree that an environmental review is needed, would they be willing to be the accepting authority.

“The county considers the development of renewable, sustainable energy sources as one of its most important responsibilities and remains committed to reducing the cost of energy as part of its strategy to revitalize and diversify Hawaii Island’s economy, while engaging in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts,” Roth said in a June 30 response to the commission.

However, the county is consulting with the state Department of Health’s Office of Environmental Quality Control to determine whether that office would work with PGV.

Pending the OECQ consultation and within the limitation of the county’s authority to do so, Roth said the county is willing to assist PGV.

DLNR Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources logoIn regard to the necessity of an environmental review, Roth said the county needs to review all records before the PUC before deciding whether an environmental review is required by statute.

Roth also said that the county would be willing to serve as the accepting authority, as allowed by state law and after consultation with both DLNR and OEQC.

Case said in a June 22 letter to the PUC that the DLNR is not willing to assist PGV and declined to comment on the PUC’s findings regarding an environmental review because the department does not have regulatory jurisdiction over the project.

Under the proposed PPA, the rate paid by the utility to PGV will be fixed and no longer linked to the price of oil.

As part of the amended agreement, PGV agreed to modify its current facility to provide an additional 8 megawatts of energy and firm capacity, which will further reduce electric bills and the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity.

According to the March 31 order suspending the docket, PGV voluntarily prepared an environmental impact statement in 1987, which was approved by Hawaii County.

While the 1987 study would otherwise satisfy environmental review requirements, changes to PGV’s generator proposed in the PPA require a supplemental environmental review, the order states.

Because the pending application proposes to extend PGV’s life until 2052, the PUC order said the previous EIS would not suffice because the length of the agreement, from the date of approval to 2052, extends three decades beyond what is covered by the original EIS.

Mike Kaleikini

PGV meeting

PGV will host its quarterly virtual community meeting at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Representatives from Hawaiian Electric and Hawaii County also will provide updates, and Yoichi Ebisu, an acoustical engineer who has been working with PGV on sound mitigation, will be present, according to a news release.

The meeting can be viewed at a link found online at punageothermalproject.com.

PGV, which restarted in early November — more than two years after the 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano forced it to stop producing electricity — continues ramping up to full production capacity.

“We are currently operating at 25 megawatts of power and are targeting to get another generator back online by the end of July, which we estimate will bring us up to 30 MW of generating capacity,” said Mike Kaleikini, PGV’s senior director, Hawaii affairs, in a news release.

“PGV power purchase agreement still in limbo”
Monday, July 12, 2021, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2021/07/12/hawaii-news/pgv-power-purchase-agreement-still-in-limbo/

Puna Geothermal Venture Community Meeting – July 2021

Puna Geothermal Venture KHON2 KHON Ad Ormat
This ad announces Puna Geothermal Venture’s community meeting in July 2021. This ad was on the website of local Hawaii news station KHON2 News (KHON2.com).

Puna Geothermal Venture will hold its quarterly virtual community meeting at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Representatives from Hawaiian Electric Co. and Hawaii County will provide updates. An acoustical engineer who has been working with PGV on sound mitigation, Yoichi Ebisu will be there according to a news release.

To participate in the Zoom meeting, go to https://punageothermalproject.com/ and click on the meeting link during the meeting time.

The public can submit questions in advance at https://punageothermalproject.com/public-meetings/.

Video recordings of previous meetings are available at https://punageothermalproject.com/public-meetings/.

Puna Geothermal Venture KHON2 KHON Ad Ormat
This ad announces Puna Geothermal Venture’s community meeting in July 2021. This ad was on the website of local Hawaii news station KHON2 News (KHON2.com).

Puna Geothermal Venture at 2021 Hawaii Energy Conference

OrmatPuna Geothermal Venture presented at the Hawaii Energy Conference.

Energy experts are leaving no volcano unnoticed and no offshore wind possibility unexplored when it comes to Hawaii’s race to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

… “There’s a great acceleration going on right now throughout our state,” Maui County Energy Commissioner Alex de Roode said during the Hawaii Energy Conference on Thursday [June 24].

The annual conference gathers regional and national experts on energy policy, strategies, leadership and innovation to speak to hundreds of attendees across various industries.

This year’s virtual event was held Tuesday and Thursday [June 22 and 24].

Panelists on Thursday discussed untapped options, including geothermal expansion beyond Hawaii island to Maui and to Oahu …

Mike Kaleikini

Although Puna Geothermal Venture is the only utility-scale geothermal project in the state, Mike Kaleikini, the company’s senior director of Hawaii affairs, said geothermal projects may expand beyond Hawaii island. However, location makes all the difference, of course, when it comes to geothermal energy.

“The further north that one goes on the Hawaiian Island chain, the less likely of finding a really viable resource,” he said. “And that’s why on the Big Island in Puna, at the southern part of the island, because of the very active volcano Kilauea and of course Mauna Loa, success or just the ability to have a viable resource, exists.”

The state has done surveys around Hawaii, and volcanoes in Oahu’s Waianae and Mokapu areas, along with options on Haleakala and on Molokai, are possibilities for geothermal projects.

“We’ve been here since 1993, and really some of the challenges in developing or looking for a resource on Oahu or Maui is finding folks that are willing to do that” because of time, costs, permitting, cultural protocol and other requirements, Kaleikini said.

“There is a potential, but it’s just that we’re looking for folks that are willing to go out there and explore,” he added.

“Hawaii options for green energy abound: 191 MW of utility-scale projects in the works for Maui”
June 26, 2021, Maui News, by Kehaulani Cerizo
https://www.mauinews.com/news/local-news/2021/06/hawaii-options-for-green-energy-abound/

PUC asks state, county for input on PGV

OrmatMonths after suspending an application for an amended power purchase agreement between Hawaiian Electric and Puna Geothermal Venture — pending the completion of a supplemental environmental review — the state Public Utilities Commission is seeking input from both Hawaii County and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

In a proposal filed with the PUC last month, PGV requested that the suspension order be rescinded, after which the power plant said it would seek to engage with either Hawaii County or DLNR to determine whether an environmental review is required, and if so, what level of review would be needed.

As part of the proposal, PGV said it would immediately undertake, at its cost, whatever action the county or DLNR deems is necessary.

“This proposed approach would also enable the commission to complete its review and consideration of the (power purchase agreement) without being delayed by an environmental review process that PGV estimates very conservatively could take at least two years and cost potentially $2 (million) to $3 million,” PGV said in the May 14 filing.

But before the PUC can consider PGV’s proposal, it needs to “determine the DLNR’s and the county’s positions relative to environmental review,” the commission wrote in a June 4 order lifting the suspension of the docket in a limited scope to do just that. The suspension order otherwise remains in full effect.

A letter was sent June 4 from the PUC to Mayor Mitch Roth and DLNR Chairwoman Suzanne Case asking if the county and department are willing and able to engage with PGV on the matter; whether they agree with the PUC’s finding that the project requires an environmental review pursuant to state statutes; and if they agree that an environmental review is needed, would they be willing to be the accepting authority.

Case said in a June 22 letter to the PUC that the DLNR is not willing to assist PGV and declined to comment on the PUC’s findings regarding an environmental review because the department does not have regulatory jurisdiction over the project.

Cyrus Johnasen, a spokesman for Roth, confirmed that a letter from the PUC has been received and said the county will respond accordingly, likely this week.

“Our administration’s main priority is the sustainability of our island home,” Johnasen said. “For us, any initiative that takes us further away from our reliance on fossil fuels is a step we are willing to take. That said, we are still reviewing the request and will determine our county’s ability to engage once the proper parties are consulted internally.”

A spokesman for PGV did not respond to questions in time for this story.

Under the proposed PPA, the rate paid by the utility to PGV will be fixed and no longer linked to the price of oil.

By eliminating the volatility of oil prices from the rate paid to PGV, the new fixed-price contract will ensure that bills are more stable, Hawaiian Electric said previously.

As part of the amended agreement, PGV agreed to modify its current facility to provide an additional 8 megawatts of energy and firm capacity, which will further reduce electric bills and the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity.

According to the March 31 order suspending the docket, PGV voluntarily prepared an EIS in 1987, which was approved by Hawaii County.

While the 1987 study would otherwise satisfy environmental review requirements, changes to PGV’s generator proposed in the PPA require a supplemental environmental review, the order states.

“For an EIS to meet its intended purpose, it must assess a particular project at a given location based on an explicit or implicit time frame,” the order said. “The 1987 EIS contemplated a 35-year useful life of PGV’s generator — from 1987 to 2022. The 1987 EIS specifically contemplated decommissioning PGV at the end of its useful life.”

Because the pending application proposes to extend PGV’s life until 2052, the PUC order said the previous EIS would not suffice because the length of the agreement, from the date of approval to 2052, extends three decades beyond what is covered by the original EIS.

“PUC asks state, county for input on PGV”
By Stephanie Salmons, Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Thursday, June 24, 2021, 12:05 a.m.
https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2021/06/24/hawaii-news/puc-asks-state-county-for-input-on-pgv/

Puna Geothermal Venture Will Participate in Hawaii Energy Conference

Mike Kaleikini

Puna Geothermal Venture’s Mike Kaleikini will participate in a panel at the Hawaii Energy Conference. The conference will take place on June 22 and 24. PGV’s parent company Ormat announced this news in two Twitter posts, including one with video:

Puna Geothermal Venture PGV Hawaii Energy Conference Twitter
“Ormat’s Senior Director of Hawaii Affairs, Mike Kaleikini, will serve on a DER and renewable energy solutions discussion panel during this year’s virtual Hawaii Energy Conference June 22 and 24. Register today for this energy transition focused conference”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hawaii Energy Conference: https://hawaiienergyconference.com/ 
The Conference’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/hienergyconference 
Ormat’s June 15 Twitter Status: https://twitter.com/OrmatInc/status/1404946658580779008
Ormat’s June 3 Twitter Status: https://twitter.com/OrmatInc/status/1400485032918020099 

This post has been updated from its original post on June 9, 2021, to include the later Twitter post (dated June 15, 2021).

Our Director Nicole Visits Steamboat Hills Geothermal Power Plant

Nicole Lautze Steamboat Hills Geothermal Power Plant Reno Nevada Geothermal RisingOur Director Nicole Lautze visited the Steamboat Hills Geothermal Power Plant, Reno, Nevada. This 84-MW power plant provides electricity to tens of thousands of homes and offsets millions of tons of CO2. As for Nicole, she visited while attending a Geothermal Rising Board Meeting. In the picture from left to right are Vicki Lindberg, Mark Gran and Jon Trujillo of CalEnergy, Josh Norrdquist of Ormat, GR Exec Director Will Pettitt, and Nicole.

UH Mānoa Researchers Tracing Origins Of Groundwater On Hawaiʻi Island

Hawaii Public Radio featured our research:

Diamond K. Tachera, Nicole C. Lautze, Giuseppe Torri, and Donald M. Thomas, 2021. Characterization of the isotopic composition and bulk ion deposition of precipitation from Central to West Hawaiʻi Island between 2017 and 2019Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studiesv. 34, April 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.ejrh.2021.100786.

Diamond Tachera Profile Picture Ike Wai
Our PhD student Diamond Tachera

How is rainwater connected to our aquifer system? A group of researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa wanted to trace the origins of groundwater from central to leeward Hawaiʻi Island.

Rainwater composition does not change when it hits the ground. The team was able to look at the unique chemical compositions of the rainwater’s hydrogen and oxygen isotopes to trace the origins of groundwater.

This is important because Hawaiʻi’s main source of fresh water comes from groundwater. Diamond K. Tachera is a graduate student at UH Mānoa and the lead author of this study.

“With the isotopes, we can essentially show the state that there’s groundwater here in this aquifer system that’s coming from two or three aquifer systems away,” she said. “If we’re not understanding how all of the waters are connected, we’re not really managing our water resources to the best of our ability.”

Diamond Tachera academic conference poster groundwaterTachera hopes to further this study to help resource managers better understand Hawaiʻi’s water supply.

“I hope that in the future, we can reframe how we think about water resources, and essentially our water security. If the state isn’t thinking about how connected these water systems are, there’s a lot of implications for whether pollution could affect neighboring aquifer systems,” Tachera said.

“I think that it’s not just the amount of water that we’re pumping, but also the quality of water is important to think about when we’re managing water systems,” she added.

Hawaii Public Radio HPR Logo“UH Mānoa Researchers Tracing Origins Of Groundwater On Hawaiʻi Island”
May 12, 2021, by Zoe Dym, Hawaii Public Radio
https://www.hawaiipublicradio.org/post/uh-m-noa-researchers-tracing-origins-groundwater-hawai-i-island#stream/0

UH Children’s Center Visit

Our director “Aunty Nicole” hosted preschoolers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa Children’s Center last week. From the UH Children’s Center:

Nicole Lautze Walking Trip to POST Building

This week we took had a walking trip the POST Building to visit Aunty Nicole to learn more about volcanoes.

Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions we couldn’t go inside the building but we were able to have a beautiful discussion outside of the building where Aunty Nicole brought out some lava rock samples and a water bottle full of water to demonstrate how pressure builds just like in a volcano until it pushes through the surface. The children were introduced two different types of Hawaiian lava flow, which are Pāhoehoe and ʻAʻā. Pahoehoe has a more smooth texture compared to the rough sharp edges of the ʻAʻā.

Nicole LautzeShe also read us a story called Victor the Volcano by Dougal Jerram.

When Aunty Nicole was done with reading her story, some of the Tuahine friends wanted to share their volcano books that they wrote and illustrated in class and at home. Each child had some facts about volcanoes that they learned about in school and also some fictional edits.

Many thanks to Dr. Nicole Lautze for hosting the kids!

Nicole LautzeNicole Lautze

 

 

 

 

DLNR’s Geothermal Report to the Hawaii State Legislature

DLNR Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources logoDLNR submitted its report about geothermal development in Hawaii to the Hawaii State Legislature. This yearly report covers the royalties DLNR receives from geothermal energy in Hawaii and the status of developing the interisland cable transmitting geothermal energy. Formally known as the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources, DLNR manages geothermal development in Hawaii.

More information about the report: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=DC&billnumber=1&year=2021

Volcanic eruption and hurricane affect rainfall over Hawai‘i Island

Diamond Tachera sampling a rain collector near the Puʻu Lāʻau cabin on Mauna Kea. Credit: Kiana Frank.

A UH news release features our PhD student Diamond Tachera’s research:

To better understand how and where groundwater is recharged on Hawaiʻi Island, a team of earth and atmospheric scientists from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa looked to the source—rainfall. In a recently published study, the team reported a time-series of rainfall data which highlights that extreme events, such as volcanic eruptions and hurricanes, can affect the chemistry of precipitation.

The researchers measured hydrogen and oxygen isotopes and the chemical composition of rainfall from central to leeward Hawaiʻi Island at 20 stations. Rain water isotopes help scientists identify the origin of groundwater and understand the recharge processes in a region.

Hawai‘i Island is characterized by the interactions of Pacific trade wind flow with two 13,000-feet high mountains, as well as one of the largest natural emitters of sulfur dioxide on the planet—Kilauea Volcano.

Fortuitously, the study period included an extreme weather event, Hurricane Lane, a major volcanic eruption at Kīlauea in 2018 and the nearly-complete cessation of long-term volcanic emissions after that historic event.

“These events allowed us the rare opportunity to investigate the impact of volcanic emissions such as sulfate (also known as vog) and a hurricane on precipitation chemistry,” said Diamond Tachera, lead author of the study and graduate researcher in the SOEST Department of Earth Sciences.

Diamond Tachera Profile Picture Ike Wai
Our PhD student Diamond Tachera

Consistent with previous research, the recent study revealed long-term variability in rainfall chemistry due to changes in atmospheric and climate processes in this region. Additionally, the team found significantly more sulfate in the rain samples collected during the Kīlauea eruption and substantially less after the volcanic activity ceased.

“Interestingly, we documented a decrease in the amount of rainfall, which may have been due to increased aerosols from the Kīlauea eruption, as well as isotopic changes in precipitation coinciding with Hurricane Lane,” said Tachera.

The results from this study can be used to better quantify and characterize precipitation—the ultimate source of Hawai‘i’s groundwater.

“In order to better serve communities in Hawaiʻi, specifically in access to fresh water and ensuring better water management, we need to understand where the groundwater is recharging and how it flows in the different aquifer systems,” said Tachera. “This is critical to future water security.”

This research was funded by National Science Foundation EPSCoR ʻIke Wai project, whose goal is to investigate groundwater recharge, storage, and flow within an ocean island volcanic environment.

“Volcanic eruption and hurricane affect rainfall over Hawai‘i Island”
May 3, 2021, by Marcie Grabowski
https://www.soest.hawaii.edu/soestwp/announce/news/volcanic-eruption-and-hurricane-affect-rainfall-over-hawaii-island/

This news release does not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF). ‘Ike Wai is an NSF Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) funded project (award #1557349).

World Geothermal Congress: HGGRC’s Outreach Presentation

For the World Geothermal Congress, our Director Nicole presented “Outreach Efforts of the Hawai‘i Groundwater and Geothermal Resources Center.” The following are info and slides from the presentation.

“[The HGGRC website is] proven [to be] a highly effective tool to disseminate science to our colleagues and both international and local communities. Since our launch on January 1, 2015, the website received over 85,000 visitors and 235,000 hits from around the world.”
https://www.higp.hawaii.edu/hggrc/

“The website features a historic timeline for geothermal in Hawaii and historical photos… The website links to the Geothermal Collection, which is hosted by the UH Manoa electronic repositories, which itself includes documents, photographs, maps … and over 1,000 digital documents that are freely available. We’ve seen roughly 300,000 downloads of these documents in the last 5 years.”
https://www.higp.hawaii.edu/hggrc/projects/geothermal-digital-collection/geothermal-collections/

“The Groundwater Collection includes three important series of work regarding groundwater resources in Hawai‘i. The Hawai‘i Division of Hydrography Bulletins contain the first comprehensive and detailed studies of the geology and water resources of Hawai‘i. Written by prominent geologists Harold T. Stearns and Gordon Macdonald, the Bulletins have long been out-of-print, but are still important references in the field of Hawaiian hydrology.”
https://www.higp.hawaii.edu/hggrc/projects/geothermal-digital-collection/groundwater-collections/

“The Hawai‘i State Water Wells project lists water wells and additional information in tabular/database format. This project digitized all 3,500+ of the water well files at the Department Land and Natural Resources, Commission of Water Resource Management. This legacy collection contains records of early siting, drilling, testing, and initial operation of water wells in the main Hawaiian islands.”
https://www.higp.hawaii.edu/hggrc/projects/hawaii-state-waterwells/

“We also have a social media campaign, which aims to broadcast local to global news related to groundwater and geothermal as well as to publicize going-ons within HGGRC. Through posts and images, our Facebook and Twitter accounts have disseminated information including introductory educational information about groundwater and geothermal, news about HGGRC, historical articles and photographs relating to Hawai‘i’s geothermal development, links to news articles related to groundwater and geothermal in Hawaii as well as outside of Hawaii.”
https://www.facebook.com/hawaiigeothermal
https://twitter.com/HGGRC_Hawaii

“Some members of the public mistook HGGRC as PGV’s parent company Ormat Technologies. When this occurred, we provided Ormat’s contact information.”

“We posted the following disclaimer on our Facebook and Twitter.”

“A really big spike [in hits to HGGRC’s website] at the start of the eruption.”

“Geothermal history timeline–the history of geothermal development in Hawaii–that [page] got the largest number of hits.”
https://www.higp.hawaii.edu/hggrc/projects/geothermal-digital-collection/geothermal-collections/geothermal-development-2/

During the eruption, the Geothermal Collection got a huge spike in its number of visitors.
https://evols.library.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10524/12279

During the eruption, the Geothermal Collection got a huge spike in its number of visitors.
https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10125/21320

The Kilauea eruption ignited interest in the Puna Geothermal Venture’s physical plant, especially when lava was encroaching surrounding areas.
https://evols.library.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10524/46378

For historical research on geothermal development in Hawaii, the news site Honolulu Civil Beat linked to materials in our digital collections.
https://evols.library.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10524/22866

For historical research on geothermal development in Hawaii, the news site Honolulu Civil Beat linked to materials in our digital collections.
https://evols.library.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10524/48054

For more information, check out our conference paper:
Nicole C. Lautze, Alice Kim, Daniel Dores, Theodore Brennis, Colin M. Ferguson, and Donald M. Thomas, 2021. Outreach Efforts of the Hawai‘i Groundwater and Geothermal Resources Center. World Geothermal Congress 2020.
https://pangea.stanford.edu/ERE/db/WGC/papers/WGC/2020/07067.pdf

Big Island Geothermal Agreement On Hold Pending Environmental Review

OrmatThe public will get a chance Wednesday to ask questions about the state Public Utilities Commission halting an agreement between Puna Geothermal Venture and Hawaiian Electric until the company does a supplemental environmental review.

Puna Geothermal Venture regularly hosts the informational sessions, but this 4 p.m. meeting takes on more urgency two weeks after the PUC decision paused the pending agreement because an environmental impact statement has not been done since 1987.

The agreement “proposes to significantly change the timing, scope, and/or intensity of the original action covered by the 1987 EIS,” the March 31 order states. “These changes require supplemental environmental review.”

Extending PGV’s useful life to 2052, as proposed in the agreement, would take it 30 years beyond the lifespan envisioned in the original EIS, the order pointed out.

It also said the proposal aims to increase PGV’s maximum generating capacity by replacing 10 existing energy converters with two larger converters that will increase the power plant’s scope and intensity.

The longer lifespan and changes require further evaluation, the PUC said.

PGV, located in the Puna district of east Hawaii, has been producing electricity from geothermal resources since 1993.

Prior to the 2018 Kilauea eruption, it was providing over 38 megawatts, according to a company press release. Since coming back online in November, it is continuing to ramp up production, reaching 20 megawatts with the goal of hitting pre-eruption levels soon.

Before the eruption, PGV, which was acquired by Ormat Technologies in 2004, provided 31% of all energy delivered to the Hawaiian Electric grid. The company says geothermal energy is a keystone for the state to meet its 100% clean energy goal by 2045.

The electricity generated by PGV is sold to Hawaiian Electric and distributed to customers.

Under the proposed agreement between PGV and Hawaiian Electric, the rate paid by the utility to PGV would be fixed instead of linked to the price of oil.

By eliminating that oil market volatility, Hawaiian Electric has maintained that the new contract would yield more stable electricity bills. The new pricing model was crafted following input by the PUC.

But the suspension of the PUC case puts implementation of those plans on hold.

“For an EIS to meet its intended purpose, it must assess a particular project at a given location based on an explicit or implicit time frame,” the order stated. “The 1987 EIS specifically contemplated decommissioning PGV at the end of its useful life” in 2022.

Kristen Okinaka, spokeswoman for Hawaiian Electric, said the company will provide an update at the meeting.

“We believe the amended contract with PGV can accelerate achievement of Hawaii’s renewable energy goals, help decarbonize electricity and transportation systems, and lower customer bills,” she said in a statement.

In public testimony, some asked the PUC to require the supplemental environmental impact statement, including former state Sen. Russell Ruderman, a Democrat who represented Puna.

In September, the state’s Office of Environmental Quality Control determined that a new or supplemental environmental review for an air permit renewal was not required.

A month later, three lawsuits were filed challenging that decision, according to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. A Hilo judge ruled in favor of PGV in one of those cases, while the other two are still unresolved.

It is unclear what, if any, effects those suits will have on the power purchasing agreement or the PUC decision.

Michael Kaleikini — Ormat’s senior director for Hawaii affairs — told Big Island newspapers last week that the company was reviewing the order and didn’t have further comment.

“PGV is committed to transparent and open communication with our local community, and we look forward to this opportunity to provide an update on operations,” Kaleikini said in a press release.

The public can participate in the meeting through PGV’s website. The link will become live at the start of the meeting.

The public can also submit questions in advance.

“Big Island Geothermal Agreement On Hold Pending Environmental Review”
April 13, 2021, By Tom Hasslinger, Civil Beat
https://www.civilbeat.org/2021/04/big-island-geothermal-agreement-on-hold-pending-environmental-review/

PGV aims to return to full power generation by end of year

OrmatThe Puna Geothermal Venture power plant restarted in early November — more than two years after the 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano forced it to stop producing electricity — and is ramping up to full production capacity.

Hawaii’s only geothermal power plant was isolated by lava during the eruption. Lava also destroyed a substation and covered a few geothermal wells, as well as cut off road access to the facility.

Mike Kaleikini, PGV’s senior director, Hawaii affairs, said Friday the plant now is generating approximately 20 megawatts of power and is targeting a return to full capacity — 38 megawatts — later this year.

Mike Kaleikini

“We’re pleased (with) where we’re at, but we want to get back to full capacity,” he said. “Our target is to get back to full capacity.”

In January, only one production well and two injection wells were operating.

As of Friday, however, Kaleikini said PGV has three production wells and three geothermal reinjection wells in service.

Two more reinjection wells — one new and one restored after being covered in lava during the eruption — are expected to be operational later this month, he said.

“We’ll see how these how these two additional wells contribute, then based on that, we’ll decide what the next steps will be in regards to drilling (additional wells),” Kaleikini said.

“PGV aims to return to full power generation by end of year”
Sunday, April 4, 2021,
https://www.westhawaiitoday.com/2021/04/04/hawaii-news/pgv-aims-to-return-to-full-power-generation-by-end-of-year/

PGV production at nearly 30% capacity

OrmatPuna Geothermal Venture is now producing 11.5 megawatts of power, plant leaders said during a community meeting Wednesday.

The power plant restarted in early November, more than two years after the 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano forced it to stop producing electricity.

Hawaii’s only geothermal power plant was isolated by lava during the eruption. Lava also destroyed a substation and covered a few geothermal wells, as well as cut off road access to the facility.

During the virtual community meeting, plant manager Jordan Hara said PGV is producing about 30% of its capacity.

The company said late last year that production was expected to ramp up to approximately 15 megawatts by the end of the year, should an additional production well be successfully connected to the power plant.

Puna Geothermal Venture Video Conference Mike Michael Kaleikini Jordan HaraOne production well and two injection wells are currently in operation, according to Mike Kaleikini, PGV’s senior director, Hawaii affairs. Kaleikini said that full production capacity is 38 megawatts.

“Our plan is to continue working until we’re at full operations, and we’re targeting the middle of 2021,” he said.

According to Hara, a new well is expected to be completed in March or April.

An application for an amended power purchase agreement between the power plant and Hawaiian Electric — which includes a proposal to modify plant equipment — is still under consideration by the state Public Utilities Commission.

Under the new agreement, the rate paid by the utility to PGV will be fixed and no longer linked to the price of oil.

By eliminating the volatility of oil prices from the rate paid to PGV, the new fixed-price contract will ensure that bills are more stable, Hawaiian Electric said previously. This new pricing arrangement follows guidance provided by the PUC.

As part of the amended agreement, PGV agreed to modify its current facility to provide an additional 8 megawatts of energy and firm capacity, which will further reduce electric bills and the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity.

“PGV production at nearly 30% capacity”
January 17, 2021, by Stephanie Salmons, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2021/01/17/hawaii-news/pgv-production-at-nearly-30-capacity/

Nicole Lautze Elected to Geothermal Rising Board of Directors

Nicole Lautze profile picture
Dr. Nicole Lautze

Congrats to our director Dr. Nicole Lautze for her election to the Geothermal Rising Board of Directors (academic seat)! When running for the board, Nicole said,

“As a board member, I will ensure that GRC is meeting the needs of its members, will promote outreach that emphasizes the unique benefits of geothermal to governmental agencies and communities, and will encourage environmental stewardship, public acceptance, and developing the next generation of geothermal leaders.”

News Release:

Geothermal Rising (formerly Geothermal Resources Council), the world’s largest direct-membership geothermal professional and industry association, is pleased to announce the appointment of five new members to its Board of Directors. All five appointees have been selected based on their wealth of experience, industry knowledge, and commitment to advancing Geothermal Rising’s mission.

“Congratulations to all our new Directors who start on the Board in January. We have a busy program in the New Year with our webinar series starting, the launch of our new website, and preparations for San Diego 2021 getting into full swing, amongst many others,” said Will Pettitt, Geothermal Rising Executive Director. “I’d like to thank all the Directors that have been with us the past two years through some amazing changes to the organization and through the difficulties this year with COVID-19. I’d also like to thank all our candidates for the Board this year; it was a very strong and talented group. As we transition into the New Year we will have a much reduced and efficient Board size and will be needing many volunteers to help advise and guide the organization and our program. Anybody interested to help should reach out to us. Looking forward to a bright New Year for geothermal.”Nicole Lautze Geothermal Rising Geothermal Resource Council

The five newly elected Geothermal Rising Board Members include:

Nicole Lautze, Academic Seat
Mark Gran, Utility Seat
Jericho Reyes, Developer Seat
Laure Mora, At Large Seat
Doug Hollett, At Large Seat

Photos of the new Board of Directors can be seen on the Geothermal Rising website HERE.

As Geothermal Rising enters 2021, we will focus on our core purpose of helping to elevate and build our geothermal community and expanding the public’s awareness, understanding, and perception of geothermal energy. If you are a professional, student, or company in the geothermal industry, please consider joining our association to help make this possible.

About the Geothermal Rising
Founded in 1972, Geothermal Rising (formerly Geothermal Resources Council), is the oldest geothermal association on Earth, serving as the main professional and educational association for the geothermal community and public. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we empower the advancement of human understanding and practical use of geothermal energy through collaboration and communication of robust research, knowledge, and guidance. For more information, please visit http://www.geothermal.org.

“Geothermal Rising Announces 2021 Board of Directors Election Winners: Five New Directors Have Been Appointed for the 2021 Election”
Jan. 5, 2021, News Release by Geothermal Rising
https://archive.geothermal.org/PDFs/News_Releases/2020/GR_%20BOD%20Winners%20Press%20Release_12.18.20-2.pdf

Nicole Lautze Geothermal Rising Geothermal Resouce Council

Puna Geothermal Venture Meetings Scheduled for Upcoming Year

OrmatPuna Geothermal Venture (PGV) has announced meeting dates for 2021. Its next virtual community meeting will be held Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 4 p.m. PGV, along with representatives of Hawaiian Electric Company and the County of Hawai‘i, will give updates and answer questions from the public.

PGV also plans to hold meetings on the second Wednesdays of April, July and October 2021. Whether these meetings will be virtual or take place in person will depend upon the pandemic. Details of future meetings will be announced later.

PGV, a subsidiary of Ormat Technologies, a world leader in geothermal energy, resumed operations on November 5, 2020, two and a half years after the eruption of the Kilauea Volcano disrupted operations. “We are happy the plant is back online and look forward to the opportunity to provide updates on the restart,” said Michael Kaleikini, Ormat’s senior director, Hawaii Affairs.

Mike Kaleikini

The public can participate in the January 13 meeting by clicking a link on PGV’s website: www.punageothermalproject.com. The link will become live at the start of the meeting. The public can also submit questions in advance at https://punageothermalproject.com/public-meetings/

Written highlights and video recordings of previous virtual community meetings are available online at https://punageothermalproject.com/public-meetings/

In addition to participating in virtual meetings, residents who have questions or concerns can call the toll-free line, 808-369-9094. Weekly project updates are posted at www.punageothermalproject.com

About PGV— Puna Geothermal Venture has been producing electricity from geothermal sources since 1993. Prior to the 2018 eruption, it was providing 38 megawatts of power, about 20% of the island’s electric needs. PGV was acquired by Ormat Technologies in 2004. Ormat provides clean, reliable energy solutions from geothermal and recovered energy as well as energy management and storage solutions. Its U.S. operations are based in Reno, NV.

Ormat Resumes Operation of Puna Power Plant

OrmatCompany Release – 11/12/2020
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

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.”

“Ormat Resumes Operation of Puna Power Plant”
November 12, 2020, News release by Ormat
https://investor.ormat.com/news-events/news/news-details/2020/Ormat-Resumes-Operation-of-Puna-Power-Plant/default.aspx

Nicole Lautze: Candidate for Geothermal Rising Board of Directors

Nicole Lautze Geothermal Rising Geothermal Resource CouncilOur Director Nicole Lautze is a candidate for the Geothermal Rising (formerly Geothermal Resource Council) Board of Directors. Her plans as a board member and biography:

Plans: “As a board member, I will ensure that GRC is meeting the needs of its members, will promote outreach that emphasizes the unique benefits of geothermal to governmental agencies and communities, and will encourage environmental stewardship, public acceptance, and developing the next generation of geothermal leaders. Further, I will contribute my scientific expertise, knowledge of geothermal exploration in the Pacific Rim, and experience working with multiple governmental agencies, private organizations, and the communities.”

Biography: “My passion for geothermal is based on my fundamental concern for the planet. I am a tenured faculty researcher at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where I founded and direct the Hawaii Groundwater and Geothermal Resources Center (HGGRC). During my eight years as faculty, I have secured grants/donations worth over ~$24.5 million as Principal Investigator and co-Investigator, and funded the employment of over 50 postdocs, staff members, and students. As a testament to my accomplishments, I received the Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Education Award from the MIT Energy Initiative and the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy in 2017. While my geothermal research has been primarily focused in Hawaii thanks to the DOE-funded National Geothermal Data System and Hawaii Play Fairway projects, I am excited to be now expanding to U.S. territories and other countries.

“While leading the five-year-long Hawaii Play Fairway project it was an honor to work amongst bright and excited colleagues at all levels. Our drilling project on Lanai resulted in not only data that confirmed a potential geothermal source, but also hydrological findings that will inform groundwater management across the state. Outreach is key too. In 2015 I launched the HGGRC website (www.higp.hawaii.edu/hggrc), which has generated hundreds of thousands of hits and reinvigorated some datasets that would otherwise have been lost (including drill core photos).

“I earned a Bachelor of Science in Geology from UCLA (among the top 50 graduating seniors), and a PhD in Geology and Geophysics from University of Hawaii at Manoa. I received two Fulbright fellowships (to Italy and Peru), a National Science Foundation International Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (to Italy), and a U.S. Geological Survey Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellowship.”

Nicole Lautze Geothermal Rising Geothermal Resouce Council

Hurricanes, heavy rain critical for Oʻahu’s groundwater supply

Daniel Dores collecting data out in the fieldLocated within the most isolated archipelago in the world, Hawaiʻi is critically dependent on a clean, ample supply of fresh water. New research led by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa scientists indicates that rain brought to the islands by hurricanes and Kona storms can often be the most important precipitation for re-supplying groundwater in many regions of Oʻahu.

“The majority of Hawaiʻi’s freshwater comes from groundwater,” said Daniel Dores, lead author and groundwater and geothermal researcher in the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST). “In this study, we investigated the relationship between trade wind showers, major rainfall events like Kona storms, and groundwater.”

Dores and a team of scientists from SOEST and the Hawaiʻi Department of Health collected rainfall around Oʻahu and analyzed the stable isotopes of rainwater, chemical signatures in the water molecules. They compared the chemical signatures in rainwater to those of groundwater to determine the source of water in the aquifers—event-based rainfall or trade wind-related rain.

rain chart groundwater recharge“Because windward and mauka showers are so common, it is easy to assume that is the main source of our drinking water,” said Dores. “Also, large rainfall events such as Kona storms result in significant runoff into the oceans. However, our research found that a lot of the rain from Kona storms makes it into our groundwater aquifers and is an important source of our drinking water.”

Hawaiʻi is experiencing substantial changes in trade wind weather patterns, and precipitation events could become more extreme. Co-authors will continue researching to understand more about local and regional groundwater recharge and water quality.

“By better understanding how our groundwater is impacted by these extreme precipitation events, we can better protect the resource itself,” said Dores.

Hurricanes, heavy rain critical for Oʻahu’s groundwater supply
October 13, 2020, By Marcie Grabowski, UH News
https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2020/10/13/rain-critical-oahu-groundwater/

Implications for groundwater recharge from stable isotopic composition of precipitation in Hawai’i during the 2017–2018 La Niña
September 12, 2020; Daniel Dores, Craig R. Glenn, Giuseppe Torri, Robert B. Whittier, and Brian N. Popp; Hydrological Processes
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/hyp.13907

Henk Rogers and the blueprint for a 100% renewable Hawaii

Does wind power have a future in Hawaii, or do you think we should go mostly solar, because of reduced opposition to low-profile solar projects?

Wind power does have a future in Hawaii, especially on the Big Island, but you leave out the biggest potential energy source in the state: geothermal. There is more than enough energy under the Big Island to power the entire state for the rest of time. I’ve been to Iceland and I’ve seen how it transformed their economy without any detrimental environmental or cultural damage. Quite the opposite, geothermal put Iceland on the world map. They went from being a distant fishing community using coal for heat and energy to being 100% renewable and becoming the biggest producer of aluminum in Europe.

Geothermal is more complicated in Hawaii because of our active volcanoes. Do you support an expansion of our geothermal energy supply even with active volcanoes Kilauea, Mauna Loa and Hualalai, all areas that would be, by necessity, the potential locations for additional geothermal facilities? Our one existing plant, Puna Geothermal Ventures, was quite lucky to escape complete destruction in the 2018 Kilauea eruption, but it has yet to come back online.

Geothermal may be more complicated, but not as complicated as not doing it. As long as we don’t put all our eggs in one basket by building one massive plant, we should be fine. Geothermal means volcanic activity no matter where you go. Puna Geothermal was indeed spared. I believe the reason that it’s not yet on-line is transmission lines are still down. Any source of power that includes transmission lines is equally vulnerable.

Given the difficulties with geothermal and biomass, do you see the Big Island’s energy future consisting of a large majority of solar, wind and battery storage, with perhaps some hydrogen production and storage for long-term storage if that’s required (a recent Wartsila study didn’t find any hydrogen storage required for Hawaii due to our climate)?

If we’re smart, geothermal will become the biggest source of renewable energy on the Big Island. If we’re really smart, geothermal will produce serious amounts of hydrogen, enough to export to other Hawaiian islands as a back-up fuel for the intermittent energy sources, wind and solar. If we’re geniuses, we will set up a massive hydrogen export business and sell hydrogen to Japan. We could be the Saudi Arabia of hydrogen.

“Henk Rogers and the blueprint for a 100% renewable Hawaii”
Oct. 21, 2020, by Tam Hunt, PV Magazine
https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2020/10/21/henk-rogers-and-the-blueprint-for-a-100-renewable-hawaii/

Geothermal Prospecting of Koolau and Waianae Volcanoes, Oahu, Hawaii

Senior researchers Nicole Lautze and Don Thomas will present their research on geothermal prospecting in Hawaii. They will present at the Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting via video conference. More info is in the graphic below:

Nicole Lautze Donald Thomas Geothermal Resources Council Meeting

Geothermal Prospecting in Hawaii
By Drs. Nicole Lautze and Don Thomas
Geothermal Resources Council meeting via video conference, Oct. 22, 2020.

https://grc2020.mygeoenergynow.org/geothermal-prospecting-koolau-and-waianae-volcanoes-oahu-hawaii