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 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

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/

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

Unsupervised Machine Learning to Extract Geothermal Attributes in Hawaii Play Fairway Data

Our researchers Daniel Dores and Nicole Lautze, along with three other researchers, will present their research on using machine learning to interpret data and extract geothermal attributes from the Hawaii Play Fairway project. They will present at the Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting via video conference. More info is in the below graphic:

Geothermal Resources Council Conference Nicole Lautze Daniel Dores social media graphic

Unsupervised Machine Learning to Extract Dominant Geothermal Attributes in Hawaii Island Play Fairway Data
Bulbul Ahmmed, Nicole C. Lautze, Velimir V. Vesselinov, Daniel E. Dores, and Maruti K. Mudunuru, Geothermal Resources Council meeting via video conference, Oct. 21, 2020.
https://grc2020.mygeoenergynow.org/unsupervised-machine-learning-extract-dominant-geothermal-attributes-hawaii-island-play-fairway

Fervo Energy Aims to Increase Geothermal Well Productivity

Fervo Energy Elemental Excelerator Tim Latimer

We are pleased to welcome a new crew of ground-breakers and market-makers from the 19 companies in Elemental’s Cohort 9.

It seems fitting that we cross the 100-company threshold for our portfolio here at the outset of what must be a decade of climate action. Because the price of keeping the status quo grows steeper every year, from the human and economic toll of climate-related disasters, fires, heatwaves, and other environmental stresses to the jobs left on the table by not accelerating towards a carbon-free, regenerative economy.

We’re grateful to partner with this latest group of innovators and, with a portfolio that’s now 117 companies strong, work together to commercialize an abundance of solutions to reverse climate change — starting today. In total, we’re funding Cohort 9 with over $7M to anchor $15M of projects, which are designed to scale 10x within two years.

ENERGY
“While we are witnessing the devastation that climate change is already laying on our most vulnerable communities, there are plenty of reasons to remain optimistic. The energy companies in our latest cohort have developed innovative approaches to sustainable urban development, maximizing renewable power generation, and aiding in a just transition to a clean-energy workforce. We are excited to partner with these companies actively scaling up technologies that can transform our communities by offering access to clean, resilient, and affordable power for all.” — Nneka Uzoh, Director of Energy Innovation

Fervo Energy | EQUITY & ACCESS
Scalable and affordable geothermal power for 100% clean energy

Why do we love them?
Geothermal power, which currently accounts for less than 1% of utility-scale electricity generation in the U.S., is poised for a breakthrough. Sourced from heat generated by the Earth’s core, geothermal energy clean, available 24-7, entirely homegrown, and virtually unlimited. But that’s just one piece of why we’re so excited by Fervo’s approach to rapidly scaling and increasing the productivity of geothermal wells. As demand drops out and the economics stop adding up for the fossil fuel industry, geothermal presents an opportunity to immediately transition the tens of thousands of Americans employed by oil and gas companies into a clean-energy workforce. Fervo Energy’s CEO Tim Latimer, who was formerly a shale gas drilling engineer, understands that many of the same skills and even equipment used in oil-field drilling can, instead of producing hydrocarbons, be repurposed overnight to tap into geothermal wells and produce abundant, carbon-free electricity.

 

“Meet the Innovators in Elemental Excelerator’s Cohort 9”
Oct. 5, 2020, Elemental Excelerator
https://elementalexcelerator.com/latest/articles/meet-cohort-9/

Elemental Excelerator Taps Fervo Energy to Improve Geothermal Well Productivity

Elemental Excelerator Fervo Energy

Elemental Excelerator chose 19 companies to lead its ninth cohort — growing the environmental accelerator’s portfolio to 117 companies.

The cohort will work to commercialize a variety of solutions to reverse climate change.

Fervo Energy: A company that intends to increase the productivity of geothermal wells, making geothermal more scalable.

“Elemental Excelerator welcomes ninth cohort”
Oct. 5, 2020, By Megan Fernandes, Pacific Business News
https://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/news/2020/10/05/elemental-excelerator-welcomes-cohort-9.html

Exploration for Blind Geothermal Resources in Hawaiʻi utilizing Dissolved Noble Gases in Well Waters

Our researchers Colin Ferguson and Nicole Lautze will present their research on using noble gases in well waters to search for blind geothermal resources. Blind geothermal resources are geothermal resources in an area that are not obvious above ground (i.e. the geothermal activity has no surface features). Colin and Nicole will present at the Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting via video conference. More info is in the below graphic:

Geothermal Resources Council Conference Colin Ferguson Nicole Lautze Hawaii Play Fairway

Exploration for Blind Geothermal Resources in the State of Hawaiʻi utilizing Dissolved Noble Gases in Well Waters
Colin M. Ferguson and Nicole C. Lautze, Geothermal Resources Council meeting via video conference, Oct. 20, 2020
https://grc2020.mygeoenergynow.org/exploration-blind-geothermal-resources-state-hawaii-utilizing-dissolved-noble-gasses-well-waters

Puna geothermal plant can restart without further review

An aerial view of the Puna Geothermal Venture plant.

The Hawaii Department of Health determined the state’s only geothermal power plant does not need an additional environmental review in its ongoing effort to restart after the facility was shut down by a volcanic eruption.

Puna Geothermal Venture is in the review process for a noncovered source permit, which is effective for five years, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Thursday.

Puna Geothermal Venture and Nevada-based parent company Ormat Technologies Inc. hope to produce electricity again by the end of September following technical delays in rebuilding the Big Island facility.

The 38-megawatt power plant’s geothermal wells were isolated or covered by lava in the Kilauea volcano eruption that began in May 2018. Puna Geothermal supplied 31% of Hawaii island’s electricity before the shutdown.

State Health Director Bruce Anderson said in a Sept. 4 letter that the health department had “taken a hard look at all the environmental factors” and determined a new or supplemental review was not needed for the plant’s reopening.

Opponents of the plant include sustainable energy and environmental advocacy groups Puna Pono Alliance and Malama O Puna.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources earlier this month denied an environmental review request by Pele Defense Fund, an advocacy group for traditional Hawaiian practices.

Puna Geothermal Senior Director Mike Kaleikini said Wednesday that the company continues to make preparations for the plant’s restart.

“We wanted to come online earlier. But the closer we got to the time, there was more work that needed to be done,” Kaleikini said. “Our target is still the end of the month, until such time something else might pop up or whatever.”

The company plans to initially bring online its smallest unit, which produces 3 MW of power. Work will then continue to restore capacity to 38 MW, Kaleikini said.

There is an amended power purchase agreement with Hawaiian Electric Co. for an additional 8 MW currently in the approval process with the state Public Utilities Commission, Kaleikini said.

Puna geothermal plant can restart without further review
Friday, September 25, 2020, By Associated Press via Honolulu Star-Advertiser
https://www.staradvertiser.com/2020/09/25/breaking-news/puna-geothermal-plant-can-restart-without-further-review/

DOH: No further environmental review needed for PGV permit

An aerial view of Puna Geothermal Venture from Feb. 15, 2019.

Puna Geothermal Venture — which hopes to produce electricity again by the end of the month following delays in rebuilding the facility after it was partially destroyed by lava two years ago — has cleared a hurdle in renewing its air pollution control permit from the state.

The Department of Health determined the state’s only geothermal power plant isn’t required to undergo additional environmental review in its ongoing permit renewal process. The so-called noncovered source permit requires renewal every five years.

“The DOH has taken a hard look at all the environmental factors raised in … demands for (environmental review), and it has concluded independently that a new or supplemental environmental review is not required to be conducted by the DOH for renewal … ,” wrote Bruce Anderson, state health director, in a letter to PGV and numerous opponents dated Sept. 4.

Those opponents include Puna Pono Alliance and Malama O Puna.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources on Sept. 8, 2019, denied a request for environmental review by Pele Defense Fund.

OrmatPGV, which is owned by Nevada-based parent company Ormat Technologies Inc., supplied 31% of electricity to Hawaii Island before its shutdown.

Lava from the Kilauea volcano eruption that began in May 2018 isolated or covered the 38-megawatt power plant’s geothermal wells, destroyed the company’s substation and cut off the access road to the facility.

Asked Wednesday if the goal remains for going online by the end of September, Mike Kaleikini, PGV’s senior director said, “We’re still working on it.”

“We wanted to come online earlier, but the closer we got to the time, there was more work that needed to be done,” said Kaleikini. “Our target is still the end of the month, until such time something else might pop up or whatever.”

Mike Kaleikini

Company officials hoped PGV would be operational by the end of 2019 so the plant could sell electricity to Hawaiian Electric Co. early this year. But equipment problems and permitting issues kept that from happening. According to company officials, the coronavirus pandemic also was a factor.

Kaleikini said the company plans to get the smallest of its generation units, which produces 3 megawatts of power, online by the end of the month.

“That would be, probably, the initial startup amount, at the most,” he said. “Our plan has been, and continues to be, that we want to ramp up, and we’re targeting about 29 megawatts by the end of the year. That’s our estimates. But, hopefully, we can go higher than that.”

Work will continue to restore capacity to 38 megawatts, Kaleikini said. He noted there is an amended power purchase agreement with HECO for eight additional megawatts going through the approval process with the state Public Utilities Commission.

Those in opposition to the amended power purchase agreement include parties that sought environmental review of the project.

DOH: No further environmental review needed for PGV permit
Thursday, September 24, 2020, By John Burnett, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
https://www.westhawaiitoday.com/2020/09/24/hawaii-news/doh-no-further-environmental-review-needed-for-pgv-permit/

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Supports Geothermal Energy

Makushin Volcano
Ounalashka Corp./Chena Power estimates the Makushin Geothermal Project will begin operations in the final quarter of 2023. (Givey Kochanowski / U.S. Department of Energy)

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii visited Unalaska in late August in her capacity as a major in the U.S. Army Reserve. … She said she’s excited about the opportunity for geothermal as a clean, renewable source of energy for Unalaska.

“I come from an island state in Hawaii. So I understand uniquely the food security and energy security challenges that exist when you live on an island, where you have maybe five to seven days of food supply at any given time, and where you’re reliant on external sources for energy,” said Gabbard. “The opportunity allows you to increase your food security through being able to power greenhouses and allows you to grow food here year-round. And it’s also directly tied into the security component of this island chain being centrally located in the Arctic region that is now becoming more and more active.”

City of Unalaska inks purchase agreement for geothermal power
September 10, 2020 by Hope McKenney, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Unalaska
https://www.ktoo.org/2020/09/10/city-of-unalaska-inks-purchase-agreement-for-geothermal-power/

VIDEO: Puna Geothermal Officials Take Questions Online

Puna Geothermal Venture plans to restart initial power generation in September. On Wednesday, company officials met with the community online.

Puna Geothermal Venture Video Conference Mike Michael Kaleikini Jordan HaraIn-person community outreach meetings were cancelled back in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are happy to provide our community the opportunity to hear updates and give feedback in a safe format that respects shelter-at-home guidelines,” said Michael Kaleikini, Ormat’s senior director of Hawaii Affairs, in a media release. PGV is an Ormat subsidiary. “We are thankful for the support of our community as we rebuild and prepare to relaunch our operations,” he added.

The online session including questions and answers from the community. Here are some notes from the session:

Most of the questions came from Cory Harden, who is a member of the Sierra Club Hawai’i Island Group (correction: the name “Moku Loa Group” has been changed to “Hawaiʻi Island Group”).

When asked about their emergency response plans, the PGV reps said they “have changed a few items” in the plan, but “as for plugging production and injection wells” and removing pentane, Hara said nothing has been changed since the eruption. “We followed everything to the T,” he said.

There are no plans for hydrogen production at the plant at this time, Hara said.

When Harden asked if PGV will do “enhanced geothermal, adding water to create steam”, Hara answered: “Nope, never have, and we do not intend to.”

Hara said PGV has not drilled a new injection well yet, but they are “looking at potentially one or two more in anticipation for our production.” Kaleikini said although there are new injection wells identified in the application for an underground injection control permit with the EPA, PGV “will only drill a new injection well when it’s needed.”

Kaleikini said PGV has all the permits necessary to restart the facility, however they “are going through a renewal for the injection wells with the EPA”. Existing permits are in force.

Prior to the eruption, PGV was re-injecting about 3,000 gallons per minute (gpm), Kaleikini said. Plant manager Hara added that it was equivalent to about 100 gpm per megawatt. When the plant restarts, they do not anticipate the re-injection rate will be much more than that. “It will be less”, Kaleikini said.

On noise mitigation, Hara and Kaleikini said PGV put up external sound blankets and uses sound walls on the production side. An acoustical engineer has been hired to do a survey, and when they get back to full production, PGV will do another sound survey.

When asked about the location of production well Kapoho State 18, or KS-18, Kaleikini said it is “to the east of well pad E, which is right next to KS-14.”

Work on KS-18 has been completed, they said. They are now working on KS-17.

Paul Kuykendall noted that PGV’s application refers to geological studies that are 30 years old, and asked how is that relevant after the lava flow? “We do not anticipate the geology to be any different than when we originally started operations here in 1991,” Kaleikini said, “and we’re basing that on the preliminary data that we have received from our new wells and the reworking of our existing production wells.”

Harden noted that the hearing on the renewal of the EPA UIC permit is October 7th.

Kaleikini said PGV does not have a waiver from competitive bidding, in answer to a question that was perhaps in reference to a recent Hawaiʻi Public Utilities decision regarding Hu Honua bioenergy in Pepeʻekeo.

When asked if PGV plans to do a new Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement, Kaleikini answered: “We have not performed an EA or EIS, post lava eruption. We have looked into it in great detail, and our position at this time is that we will not be doing one.”

VIDEO: Puna Geothermal Officials Take Questions Online
September 10, 2020, Big Island Video News
https://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2020/09/10/video-puna-geothermal-officials-take-questions-online/

GRC Annual Meeting: Initial evaluation of ground-source heat exchangers for cooling applications in Hawai‘i

Our researchers Daniel Dores and Nicole Lautze will present their preliminary research on using ground-source heat exchangers for cooling applications in Hawai‘i. Ground-source heat exchangers are a cooling system that transfers heat to the ground. Daniel and Nicole will present at the Geothermal Resources Council Annual Meeting via video conference. More info is in the below graphic:

Geothermal Resources Council Meeting Nicole Lautze Daniel Dores conference presentation

Initial evaluation of ground-source heat exchangers for cooling applications in Hawai‘i
Daniel E. Dores, Nicole C. Lautze, Geothermal Resources Council meeting via video conference, Oct. 22, 2020.
https://grc2020.mygeoenergynow.org/initial-evaluation-ground-source-heat-exchangers-cooling-applications-hawaii

Puna Geothermal plans to be back online this month

Puna Geothermal Venture powerplant PGV
The Puna Geothermal Venture Powerplant

The state’s only geothermal power plant is nearly ready to begin producing electricity again following delays in rebuilding the facility that was partially destroyed by lava two years ago, company officials said.

Puna Geothermal Venture plans to restart operations by the end of this month.

The 38-megawatt power plant’s geothermal wells in Puna were isolated or covered by lava in the Kilauea volcano eruption that began in May 2018. Lava destroyed the company’s substation and cut off road access to the plant.

Nevada-based parent company Ormat Technologies Inc. expects to host virtual community meetings to provide operational updates along with other information and to answer questions from the public.

OrmatThe company, which canceled in-person meetings in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, scheduled its first online meeting for Wednesday, followed by another Nov. 11.

Officials said they hoped the Big Island plant would be operational by the end of 2019 so electricity could be sold again early in 2020. But the facility experienced equipment problems and permitting issues when attempting to come back online.

COVID-19 also hampered the work, the company said.

Puna Geothermal supplied 31% of electricity on Hawaii island before the shutdown.

After restarting, the company expects to gradually ramp up to produce 29 MW of power by the end of the year while work continues to restore capacity to 38 MW.

The company plans to expand the plant’s full capacity by another 8 MW in 2022.

“Puna Geothermal plans to be back online this month”
Thursday, September 10, 2020, by Associated Press via Hawaii Tribune-Herald
https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2020/09/10/hawaii-news/puna-geothermal-plans-to-be-back-online-this-month/