SOEST Open House: What’s Inside a Volcano? Rocks, Water, and Geothermal Heat!

You’re invited to the SOEST Open House, and HGGRC will be hosting “What’s Inside a Volcano? Rocks, Water, and Geothermal Heat!” Hands-on activities and demonstrations will involve rocks from deep inside Earth (Hawaii’s volcanoes) and groundwater and geothermal energy. The SOEST Open House will take place on Friday, October 25, from 8:30 am to 2 pm and on Saturday, October 26, from 10 am to 2 pm at the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. Please visit HGGRC at POST 619. More info is on the flier and at the following link: https://www.soest.hawaii.edu/soestwp/2017-soest-open-house/.

Many thanks to the following from HGGRC for contributing: Colin Ferguson (the leader!), Nicole Lautze, Daniel Dores, Diamond Tachera, Ted Brennis, and Ingrid Suter.

PGV drilling new well this week

Mike Kaleikini

Puna Geothermal Venture will begin drilling a new production well this week, according to a letter sent out earlier this month to neighbors and community members.

Drilling will begin on the Kapoho State 18, or KS-18, well on Wednesday and is expected to be completed by Jan. 16, 2020, the letter states.

This work comes as PGV moves to resume operations after being isolated by lava during the 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano.

Lava destroyed a substation and covered a few geothermal wells, as well as cut off road access to the state’s only geothermal power plant, but it was otherwise spared significant damage in the eruption that began May 3, 2018, in lower Puna.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources in August approved permits for two new wells — KS-18 and KS-17 — but PGV officials were still debating a course of action at that time.

During a community meeting in mid-September, PGV officials said they were still deciding whether to drill a new well or clean out an existing one.

“We were planning to drill the new well before the eruption,” said Mike Kaleikini, PGV’s senior director of Hawaii affairs, adding that PGV is refurbishing wells it closed up prior to the eruption.

So far, Kaleikini said several injection wells have been recovered and PGV is in the process of recovering one production well.

PGV will eventually drill KS-17, a reinjection well and the second well permitted by DLNR in August, said Kaleikini.

“We will still continue to recover and refurbish other existing wells,” he said.

Kaleikini said there will be “activity” associated with the drilling of the new well, “but it should not be much more different from what is occurring currently with the refurbishment and recovery of the existing wells,” as the same equipment is used.

PGV is allowed to build as many as 28 wells under a plan of operation approved in 2006.

It currently has 11 wells — five for injection and six for production — that range in depths of 4,000 feet and 8,000 feet.

The KS-18 will have a depth of about 5,000 feet.

Kaleikini said it has been PGV’s plan to be operational, meaning online and generating and exporting electricity, before the end of 2019.

That’s still the goal, he said, and “come next year, we’ll continue to improve on what’s going on in our facility.”

However, a docket from Hawaii Electric Light Co. — with the application for the construction of overhead transmission lines that will reconnect PGV to the HELCO grid — was suspended by the state Public Utilities Commission in August, pending additional information regarding project permits and a renegotiated power purchase agreement between the two companies.

HELCO had been in negotiations with PGV regarding a possible amended and restated power purchase agreement that would, among other things, de-link the cost of power from the price of oil, an order from the PUC states.

The commission had requested quarterly updates beginning on June 1 regarding the status of permits required for the project.

Because it lacks “substantive details on a renegotiated PPA,” and an expected timeline for various permit approvals following a quarterly update submitted on June 3, the commission suspended the docket until Dec. 31 with the expectation that the information will be provided by the end of 2019.

Kaleikini referred questions about that matter to HELCO, but a spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

He said, however, PGV would help HELCO “however we can.”

A PGV information line offers a daily recorded message that gives up-to-date information on plant and well field activities at 934-9072, and a well 24-hour response line for those with questions is available at 369-9094.

PGV drilling new well this week
October 14, 2019, by Stephanie Salmons, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2019/10/14/hawaii-news/pgv-drilling-new-well-this-week/

PGV Plans to Begin Drilling on New Well

The Puna Geothermal Venture plans to start drilling again in less than a week after operations were suspended in 2018 during the Kīlauea eruption. The depth of the well is expected to be 5,000 feet.

According to a notice sent out to all Puna residents, PGV plans to commence drilling operations for the geothermal well Kapoho State on Oct. 18. The estimated completion date is Jan. 16, 2020.

“We appreciate your patience with the ongoing drilling activities and want to assure you that we will take great care in minimizing any drilling-related impacts to our neighbors,” the notice states.

During the eruption, drilling equipment, three geothermal wells and two water wells were covered. Michael Kaleikini, senior director of Hawai‘i Affairs at the facility, said the plan was always to return to operational status by the end of the year, which he expects will happen.

Mike Kaleikini

The plant has 11 wells that range from 4,000 to 8,000 feet. Kaleikini said they were planning to drill more wells but were forced to stop because of the eruption.

Sen. Russell Ruderman, who represents Puna and the town of Pahala in Ka‘u, told Hawaii News Now he believes drilling is still too dangerous.

“They’re taking a risk that wasn’t there before. The entire geological structure they’re drilling into has changed,” Ruderman told HNN. “Right now there’s lava still flowing underneath them that they’re going to drill into.”

Kaleikini couldn’t comment on what Ruderman said. However, he said PGV understands the risks of drilling rift zones and safety is their number one priority.

“We have many experts in the field of geology that we consult with,” he said. “We respect what the eruption has done and changed. We’re not going in blind.”

Kaleikini added they are confident they can start the drilling process successfully and safely.

Further information is available via the PGV information line, a daily-recorded message giving up-to-date information on power plant and well field activities. The information line phone number is 808-934-9072.

PGV also maintains 24-hour response lines, where a company representative will return calls. The response line phone number is 808-369-9094.

PGV is a geothermal energy conversion plant bringing steam and hot liquid up through underground wells. The hot liquid (brine) is not used for electricity at this time. The steam is directed to a turbine generator that produces electricity.

PGV Plans to Begin Drilling on New Well
October 10, 2019, by Tiffany DeMasters, Big Island Now
https://bigislandnow.com/2019/10/10/pgv-plans-to-begin-drilling-on-new-well/

Colin Won Best Student Poster Award at GRC Meeting

Our master’s degree student Colin Ferguson won the Best Student Poster Award at the Geothermal Resources Council Fall Meeting. The title of the poster was “Dissolved Noble Gas Exploration for Blind Geothermal Resources in the State of Hawaii – Part of Hawaii Play Fairway Phase 3.” Co-authored by Principal Investigator Nicole Lautze, the poster included a description of noble gases, site selection methodology, results, and future work plan.

Colin and Nicole attended the Geothermal Resources Council Fall Meeting at Palm Springs, California, on September 15 through 18.

Congrats, Colin!

PGV work drills ahead

Mike Kaleikini

Puna Geothermal Venture is continuing its work toward recovery, plant officials said during a community meeting earlier this month in Pahoa.

The plant closed in May 2018 during the eruption of Kilauea volcano.

Lava destroyed a substation and covered a few geothermal wells, as well as cut off road access to the state’s only geothermal power plant, but it was otherwise spared significant damage in the eruption that began May 3, 2018, in lower Puna.

Although recovery is ongoing, plant manager Jordan Hara told the small crowd gathered Sept. 18 PGV still has “a lot of work to do.”

When it comes to the plant’s equipment, “we’re going pretty good, getting a lot of equipment fixed up, repaired or replaced.”

PGV is currently cleaning out one of its production wells, Hara said, and after that, “we’re in debate of which route we want to go, whether we … drill a new well, or potentially work on another (existing) well, cleaning it out.”

PGV’s tank made in South Korea

PGV is allowed to build as many as 28 wells under a plan of operation approved in 2006. It currently has 11 wells — five for injection and six for production — that range in depths of 4,000 feet and 8,000 feet.

Applications for two new geothermal wells were approved last month by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, but PGV officials said at that time that new wells were still under consideration.

Mike Kaleikini, PGV’s senior director of Hawaii, said after the meeting that PGV still aims to be operational by year-end.

Hara said after the meeting that under ideal circumstances, PGV “would like to at least try to run and test our equipment” by the end of the year. “Now, actually selling power to the grid, (that is) not likely until we have our substation, which is next year. So, we’re shooting to at least start up and run some equipment and make sure everything’s good and test everything.”

When looking at PGV’s overall recovery, Hara said, “I mean, it’s recovery of a whole power plant, right? So you have a lot of electrical stuff that you have to go through. We’ve rebuilt turbines, we’ve rebuilt generators, motors. We have to get a good production well, get a good reinjection well. There’s a lot of stuff that we can’t test until we get HELCO power.”

During the meeting, Hara told the crowd that PGV has had its service with HELCO reconnected.

“We do have one of our main water pumps running off HELCO power, we have brought in HELCO power into our main switch gear, and slowly … we’re getting more equipment on that, which is nice to get off generators.”

PGV is also working with HELCO to tie a neighboring subdivision into its line, “to hopefully get service power to the subdivision below us to help them out — and at no cost to them, on our side, anyway,” Hara said.

After the meeting, Hara said that once PGV gets full service, “which we’re in the process of,” it’ll be all hands on deck to test instrumentation and other equipment that requires electricity.

“Everything’s going,” Hara told the group. “Not easy. A lot of work. But it’s going.”

“We’re making progress,” Kaleikini said. “We’re staying focused on safety. Safety has and always will be our No. 1 priority.”

“PGV work drills ahead”
September 29, 2019, by Stephanie Salmons, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
https://www.westhawaiitoday.com/2019/09/29/features/pgv-work-drills-ahead/

PGV officials discuss ongoing facility repairs at meeting

Mike Kaleikini

Puna Geothermal Venture is continuing its work toward recovery, plant officials said during a community meeting Wednesday afternoon in Pahoa.

The plant closed in May 2018 during the eruption of Kilauea volcano.

Lava destroyed a substation and covered a few geothermal wells, as well as cut off road access to the state’s only geothermal power plant, but it was otherwise spared significant damage in the eruption that began May 3, 2018, in lower Puna.

Although recovery is ongoing, plant manager Jordan Hara told the small crowd gathered Wednesday PGV still has “a lot of work to do.”

When it comes to the plant’s equipment, “we’re going pretty good, getting a lot of equipment fixed up, repaired or replaced.”

PGV is currently cleaning out one of its production wells, Hara said, and after that, “we’re in debate of which route we want to go, whether we … drill a new well, or potentially work on another (existing) well, cleaning it out.”

PGV is allowed to build as many as 28 wells under a plan of operation approved in 2006. It currently has 11 wells — five for injection and six for production — that range in depths of 4,000 feet and 8,000 feet. Applications for two new geothermal wells were approved last month by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, but PGV officials said at that time that new wells were still under consideration.

Mike Kaleikini, PGV’s senior director of Hawaii, said after Wednesday’s meeting that PGV still aims to be operational by year-end.

Hara said after the meeting that under ideal circumstances, PGV “would like to at least try to run and test our equipment” by the end of the year. “Now, actually selling power to the grid, (that is) not likely until we have our substation, which is next year. So, we’re shooting to at least start up and run some equipment and make sure everything’s good and test everything … .”

When looking at PGV’s overall recovery, Hara said, “I mean it’s recovery of a whole power plant, right? So you have a lot of electrical stuff that you have to go through. We’ve rebuilt turbines, we’ve rebuilt generators, motors. We have to get a good production well, get a good reinjection well. There’s a lot of stuff that we can’t test until we get HELCO power.”

During the meeting, Hara told the crowd that PGV has had its service with HELCO reconnected.

“We do have one of our main water pumps running off HELCO power, we have brought in HELCO power into our main switch gear, and slowly … we’re getting more equipment on that, which is nice to get off generators.”

PGV is also working with HELCO to tie a neighboring subdivision into its line, “to hopefully get service power to the subdivision below us to help them out — and at no cost to them, on our side, anyway,” Hara said.

After the meeting, Hara said that once PGV gets full service, “which we’re in the process of,” it’ll be all hands on deck to test instrumentation and other equipment that requires electricity.

“Everything’s going,” Hara told the group. “Not easy. A lot of work. But it’s going.”

“We’re making progress,” Kaleikini said. “We’re staying focused on safety. Safety has and always will be our No. 1 priority.”

PGV officials discuss ongoing facility repairs at meeting
By Stephanie Salmons, Sunday, September 22, 2019, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2019/09/22/hawaii-news/pgv-officials-discuss-ongoing-facility-repairs-at-meeting/

Puna Geothermal On Track To Reopen In 2019

PGV avoided a direct hit from lava during the 2018 Lelilani Estates erruption, but the plant’s electical connection, access road, and several geothermal wells were covered.

Hawaii’s only geothermal power plant is still on track to resume operations before the end of the year. Puna Geothermal Venture has been shuttered since the 2018 Kilauea volcanic eruption.

The plant was forced to shut down in May 2018, after fast-moving lava threatened the facility. The generation substation was ultimately spared, but three geothermal wells and PGV’s access road were covered by fresh lava. Connection to the electrical grid was also severed.

In a major recovery milestone, the service connection to utility provider Hawaii Electric Light’s grid was recently restored, allowing work at the geothermal plant to continue without external generators.

Before the closure, PGV used 11 geothermal wells to generate 38 megawatts of power, equal to 31 percent of Hawaii Island’s electricity need. The island’s utility was forced to increase electricity production at fossil fuel-burning facilities to make up the shortfall.

Since the end of the Leilani Estates eruption, Puna Geothermal parent company Ormat cut an initial access road through the fresh lava and is working to recover the three wells covered during the eruption.

In April, the company completed a second access road, one that has been opened to residents of the area. According to Hawaii County, 56 structures still remain in an area near PGV that had been completely cut off by lava, called a kipuka in Hawaiian. The road represents the first corridor for ground vehicle access to the area since the eruption.

Work is also expected to begin on upgrades planned before the eruption. Michael Kaleikini, Ormat’s director of Hawaii affairs, says the company recently received regulatory approval to drill new geothermal wells.

“We haven’t drilled any new wells yet, but we’re planning to soon. What we’re doing is recovering our existing wells. The two production wells are still covered because we have been focusing our efforts on the production wells that were not covered by lava,” Kaleikini told HPR.

The plant director says drilling new wells is periodically required, as existing ones become clogged with rock and less productive. Ormat had been planning to drill several new wells before the eruption-forced closure in 2018. The Hawaii Department of Land and Natrual Resources signed off on the new wells in August.

PGV has an existing agreement with Hawaii Electric Light to provide power to the Hawaii Island grid through 2027. The facility could be ready to reopen as soon as November.

Puna Geothermal On Track To Reopen In 2019
By Ryan Finnerty, September 18, 2019, Hawaii Public Radio
https://www.hawaiipublicradio.org/post/puna-geothermal-track-reopen-2019#stream/0

Thermal Map Of Kilauea Lower East Rift Zone Lava Flow Produced

This wide-angle photo, taken during the overflight that led to the creation of the thermal map, shows the new path of Highway 132 through the fissure 8 lava channels. USGS photo by M. Patrick, 08-29-2019.

HAWAIʻI VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK – Scientists with the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recently conducted an overflight of the lower East Rift Zone flow field to create a thermal map.

A new thermal map of Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone has been published to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory maps page.

The preliminary thermal map shows relative surface temperatures across the 2018 lava flow field in lower Puna. “In general,” USGS HVO wrote, “the surface temperatures correlate with lava flow thickness—compare this map to the lava flow thickness map,” posted on February 19, 2019. “Thicker areas of the lava flows have more residual heat in their interiors, which sustains higher temperatures on the surface.”

For example, in the Kapoho area, where the flow is over 100 feet thick in places, scientists say “there are scattered, small hotspots with surface temperatures greater than 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit). However, most of the lava surface is much cooler than that.”

USGS HVO thermal map published on August 29, 2019.

The high temperatures have presented a challenge for the County as it works to complete recovery Highway 132, which was inundated by lava during the 2018 eruption. Temperatures were measured at over 800 degrees Fahrenheit, in some places, which exceeds the recommended levels for installing an asphalt-treated base, the County says. The Highway 132 recovery must be finished by October 5 in order for the County to receive a full reimbursement for the project cost from the Federal Highway Administration. The County is seeking a time extension.

The new USGS HVO thermal map was constructed from 2,700 individual thermal images collected during a helicopter overflight on August 29. The map is preliminary, scientists say, “so small alignment issues are present in some areas.”

Thermal Map Of Kilauea Lower East Rift Zone Lava Flow Produced
by Big Island Video News, September 1, 2019

Thermal Map Of Kilauea Lower East Rift Zone Lava Flow Produced

Temperature of cooling lava rock still tops 700 degrees as road clearing work continues

Work to clear Highway 132 has been slow-going since the eruption. (Source: Hawaii Tracker)

This week, HVO geologists measured temperatures and documented rock layers exposed as sections of Highway 132 are “ripped” by road crews.

Construction crews have been working to reopen the highway that was buried by lava from fissure 8 during the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption.

Researchers say, in places the rock is incredibly dense and has to be slowly broken apart.

This dense rock is interpreted by HVO geologists to be some of the last lava that erupted and solidified within the fissure 8 channel.

Geologist say, the drill bit used to hammer the rock into pieces, gets hot from the solidified lava, which is still at 752 degrees Fahrenheit, occasionally causing the bit to turn purple from the intense heat.

Once they are pried from the ground, the boulders lose most of their heat over the course of a day.

Officials are hoping to complete the road work by Oct. 5.

If they do meet that deadline, they’ll qualify for 100 percent federal reimbursement.

Temperature of cooling lava rock still tops 700 degrees as road clearing work continues
August 10, 2019, Hawaii News Now
https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2019/08/11/temperature-cooling-lava-rock-still-tops-degrees-road-clearing-work-continues/

HGGRC Meeting on August 9

Our group held a meeting on Aloha Friday. We discussed our upcoming Big Island field work, in which we’ll be gathering groundwater samples and analyze them in our lab in Honolulu. Looking at Colin’s laptop, Colin and Diamond rock their aloha shirts on Aloha Friday. Tori Richard and Manuhealii!

Puna Geothermal Power Plant Refurbishment Should be Completed by End of Year

From Ormat Technologies, Inc. (ORA) CEO Isaac Angel on Q2 2019 Results – Earnings Call Transcript:

CEO Isaac Angel: We continue to make good progress in our efforts to resume operations at Puna. We expect that our power plant refurbishment activities including the work on the substation will be completed on schedule by the end of the year.

Our plants will resume operations as soon as local permitting and transmission network upgrades being undertaken by our local utility partner are completed by early 2020. On the field side during work to renew the plugs from our geothermal wells, we found that two of the production wells were damaged and we will have to repair or re-drill them.

In addition, we continue to work on the other wells. We believe that once we resume operation, capacity would gradually increase as we continue to complete necessary well repairs and trailing. As a vertically integrated company, we have the unique advantage of controlling the entire value chain of geothermal development, this will help us to bring Puna online.

USA, Hawaii: Puna Geothermal Power Plant Refurbishment Should be Completed by End of Year – Ormat CEO
Global Geothermal News, Geothermal Resources Council
https://geothermalresourcescouncil.blogspot.com/2019/08/usa-hawaii-geothermal.html

Daniel Dores and Lanai Drilling

HGGRC’s research coordinator Daniel Dores updated fellow alumni with his involvement in the Hawaii Play Fairway Project in an alumni newsletter. From the earth sciences department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa:

Alumni News
Summer 2019, By Daniel Dores, Nuhou Kanaka Puka (Alumni News), Department of Earth Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa
http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/GG/resources/earth-sciences-news-2019.pdf

Ted’s Thesis Presentation

Congrats to Ted Brennis for successfully presenting his undergraduate thesis, “Geothermal in Hawaii: A Comparison of Wind, Solar, and Geothermal Energy Resources.” For the thesis, Ted researched and wrote about the renewable energy options in Hawai‘i. Through his calculations, Ted demonstrated that geothermal energy is competitive with solar and wind energy in terms of cost and land use. His thesis and accompanying presentation attracted media coverage! Good job, Ted!

Renewable Energy in Hawaii: A Comparative Analysis of Wind, Solar, and Geothermal Energy Resources
https://www.higp.hawaii.edu/hggrc/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Brennis-Ted-2019.07.23-Thesis-Presentation.pdf

Student Justin Higa

Our former undergraduate student Justin Higa believes in geothermal energy:

“Geothermal energy is a viable source of renewable power for the State of Hawaiʻi. Geothermal energy has a significantly smaller carbon footprint when compared to fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. This is especially true in Hawaiʻi, where we must import these resources by boat over thousands of miles of ocean.”

Justin Higa’s work at HGGRC contributed to his professional development:

“Working for Nicole prepared me for life as a graduate student in many aspects. Specifically, I appreciated the hands-on experience and technical skills I gained (operating a gravimeter, Trimble GPS, GPS processing), some of which I use in grad school today. She allowed me opportunities to do field work in Hawaii (Big Island and on Oahu) that taught me skills I also use in the field today.”

The soft-spoken Hawaii local boy is now researching flank collapses in volcanic islands at the University of California — Los Angeles. The master’s degree student was recently featured in a UCLA newsletter for winning a fellowship!

Field School in Hydrogeophysics in Volcanic Environments

In a 3-week summer field course, Drs. Niels Grobbe and Stephanie Barde-Cabusson taught seven students multi-geophysical methods through hands-on learning. Methods included ambient noise seismics, nodal-based, true 3D electrical resistivity tomography, and self-potential. The graduate-level course was Geology and Geophysics 699: Summer Field School in Hydrogeophysics in Volcanic Environments.

This hydrogeophysical course aimed to identify and quantify groundwater flow and distribution in the old stream valley at Makapuu, Oahu. The course covered the entire geophysical workflow, including data acquisition, planning, data collection in the field, data processing, imaging, and hydrogeophysical data and hydrologic modeling — a skill that is transferable to the reservoir scale in exploration geophysics. The course covered challenges and solutions for data acquisition and imaging in basaltic environments.

Class Activities

June 5: The students used small seismic node sensors to record naturally occurring seismic waves to image flow-controlling geological structures and groundwater distribution.

June 6: Dr. Stephanie Barde-Cabusson showed participants how to use self potential, a non-invasive, passive, geoelectrical method used to measure the naturally occurring electrical potential difference caused by subsurface fluid flow between the two electrodes. Two copper-copper sulfate electrodes, a handheld voltmeter, and 300m of electrical wire were used in this method.

June 7: The class deployed 54 seismic nodes in one day.

June 13: The class used ERT, an active geophysical method that images the electrical conductivity distribution of the subsurface of the Earth. Conductivity measurements help identify saturated and non-saturated rock and elucidate the salinity of the groundwater. The method uses an electrical recording box and three nodes with copper-copper sulfate electrodes. Two 4-8” long stakes are then partially placed in the ground to inject a small electrical current from a portable generator with both stakes connected to a current injection box via cable.

More photos can be seen in the Facebook album.

Summer Field School in Hydrogeophysics in Volcanic Environments
https://www.facebook.com/pg/hawaiigeothermal/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2466697076885795

Puna Geothermal plant on track to open later this year

Mike Kaleikini

Mike Kaleikini — the senior director of Hawaii affairs for Ormat, the company who owns the Puna Geothermal venture plant — said that the plant is still on track to open by the end of this year.

“We hope to begin powering up buildings and equipment in July,” Kaleikini said. “Lava covered three geothermal wells, two production wells, one re-injection well, and a substation.”

“We uncovered one of the three wells, and are working on the other wells to clear, test and assess the status of the wells,” Kalekini said.

He also noted that Hawaiian Electric Light Company recently replaced their once-smoldering utility poles with steel ones to restore power to the plant, as well as 30 customers east of the facility.

Kalekini told PBN that once Ormat has a better understanding of the well’s status and integrity, the company can decide how to proceed with re-opening the plant. In the beginning of April, a road was built over the hardened lava channel allowing workers access to the plant, and nearby residents access to their homes.

At a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing last Thursday, Ormat Technologies Executive Paul Thomsen told Sen. Mazie K. Hirono that Ormat agreed to continue engaging all stakeholders as the company moves forward with reopening the facility.

Kaleikini said that the company has been holding community meetings on a regular basis every other month while the facility is in the process of being assessed and repaired. He said that the meetings are typically well attended, with more than 100 attendees at the first meeting in March. The next meeting has a tentative date of July 18.

“So far they have been very productive meetings,” Kaleikini said. “We provided 31% of the Big Island’s energy in 2017 and we provided the lowest cost of energy on the island. We are looking forward to coming back online.

Puna Geothermal plant on track to open later this year
June 25, 2019, By Megan Fernandes, Pacific Business News
https://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/news/2019/06/25/puna-geothermal-plant-on-track-to-open-later-this.html

Puna Geothermal Venture at the U.S. Senate Energy Committee Meeting

Full Committee Hearing on Geothermal Energy in the U.S.

Business meeting followed by a hearing to examine opportunities and challenges for advanced geothermal energy development in the United States.Witnesses:•The Honorable Daniel R. SimmonsAssistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy;•Mr. Timothy R. SpisakState Director, Bureau of Land Management – New Mexico,U.S. Department of the Interior;•Ms. Katherine R. YoungGeothermal Program ManagerNational Renewable Energy Laboratory; •Mr. Tim LatimerCEOFervo Energy; and•Mr. Paul A. ThomsenVice President, Business Development – AmericasOrmat Technologies, Inc.

Posted by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Discussion about Puna Geothermal Venture at 1:27:41 on the video

Mr. Paul A. Thomsen, Vice President of Business Development for Ormat Technologies (parent company of PGV), promised U.S. Sen Mazie Hirono that Ormat will engage the Hawaii Island community:

“As you proceed to reopen the plant, I’d like your commitment that your company will engage with the local community and other interested people on the Big Island to hear their views and concerns,” Hirono said.

Thomsen told Hirono, “… you absolutely have my commitment to do that.”

“Ormat has been proud to operate that facility for some time,” he continued. “It’s a compelling story because we often talk about energy security, and it’s going to be an incredible success story to say that a geothermal facility surrounded by lava was able to weather the storm, (and) come back online. … Geothermal power plants are incredibly resilient.

“You have my full commitment, as we go through the repermitting process, as we build the new transmission lines, this is really going to be a story of rebirth.”

Thomsen thanked PGV leaders for working with the community “to bring the roads back, bring the power back up, and bring new life to the eastern Pahoa area.”

“… We are doing everything in our power to get that facility back up and operating, and frankly hope that the geologic activity that occurred will make those wells hotter, more productive, and maybe we’ll see a greater product out of the Puna Geothermal Venture moving forward.”

The Full Committee Hearing to Examine Geothermal Energy Development examined opportunities and challenges for advanced geothermal energy development in the United States. The hearing was held on Thursday, June 20, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. EDT in Room 366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.

Full Committee Hearing to Examine Geothermal Energy Development
Thursday, June 20, 2019, Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC
https://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings-and-business-meetings?ID=0D0AF494-18B8-4C0D-A907-14F927B529A0

Nicole Teaches an International Volcano Course

Nicole Lautze (back turned against camera) and the group at Pohoiki new black sand beach, discussing how black sand forms when molten lava enters the ocean.

Our star researcher Nicole Lautze co-taught the International Training Program at Hawaii Island.

This eight-week course introduces volcano monitoring techniques to scientists and technicians from volcano observatories in developing countries. The course included five modules, and Nicole taught the “Pulse of the Volcano” module, which covered lava (i.e. types, processes, and deposits) and volcano eruptions. Nicole taught through lectures and field work in the vicinity of the Kīlauea Volcano, and the class visited lava formations from the 2018 Kīlauea eruptions; the Mauna Ulu, a volcanic cone; and Kīlauea Iki, a pit crater. As a hands-on activity, the students analyze tephra from the Kīlauea Iki eruption of 1959 by using mesh strainers.

Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes (CSAV)

More photos can be seen on our Facebook photo album.

This program is offered by The Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes, University of Hawaii at Hilo. Mahalo to Dave Carvalho and Darcy Bevens for the photos and info!

International Training Program
The Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes, University of Hawaii at Hilo
https://hilo.hawaii.edu/csav/international/

US Senate committee hears from official from PGV parent company

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii

Ormat Technologies committed Thursday to continue its engagement with the Puna community and other Big Island stakeholders as the company proceeds to reopen Puna Geothermal Venture.

That assurance came from Paul Thomsen, Ormat Technologies vice president of business development, and was given during a U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing that aimed to examine geothermal energy development.

Ormat owns PGV, which provided about 30% of the power on the island until lava from Kilauea volcano caused the plant close in May 2018, said committee member Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, during the hearing.

Lava destroyed a substation and covered a few geothermal wells, as well as cut off road access to the state’s only geothermal power plant, but it was otherwise spared significant damage in the eruption that began May 3, 2018, in lower Puna.

“As you proceed to reopen the plant, I’d like your commitment that your company will engage with the local community and other interested people on the Big Island to hear their views and concerns,” Hirono said.

Paul Thomsen

Thomsen told Hirono, “… you absolutely have my commitment to do that.”

“Ormat has been proud to operate that facility for some time,” he continued. “It’s a compelling story because we often talk about energy security, and it’s going to be an incredible success story to say that a geothermal facility surrounded by lava was able to weather the storm, (and) come back online. … Geothermal power plants are incredibly resilient.

“You have my full commitment, as we go through the repermitting process, as we build the new transmission lines, this is really going to be a story of rebirth.”

Thomsen thanked PGV leaders for working with the community “to bring the roads back, bring the power back up, and bring new life to the eastern Pahoa area.”

“… We are doing everything in our power to get that facility back up and operating, and frankly hope that the geologic activity that occurred will make those wells hotter, more productive, and maybe we’ll see a greater product out of the Puna Geothermal Venture moving forward.”

Prior to the eruption, Mike Kaleikini, senior director of Hawaii affairs for Ormat, said PGV had regular quarterly community meetings, “when we would share with folks in attendance what was going on at PGV,” as well as visit with nearby community associations.

PGV also met with the “regulatory side,” giving updates to the county, state and federal agencies that have regulatory oversight.

Mike Kaleikini

The company will now host community meetings more often.

“With the restart, we have agreed to have community meetings every other month, and more, if more work (is) going on,” Kaleikini said.

The first post-eruption meeting, discussing plans to regain ground access to the facility and updating residents on the requirements to use a road on PGV’s property to reach homes isolated by the lava flows, was in March and drew more than 100 people. The county and Hawaii Electric Light Co. also provided updates.

A second meeting was convened in mid-May and drew fewer residents.

The next community meeting is planned for mid-July, Kaleikini said, and will continue “every other month in the middle of the month until such time we have more activity that warrants more frequent meetings.”

As part of its community outreach and engagement efforts, Kaleikini said PGV has provided college scholarships to students from Pahoa High and Intermediate School, Kua O Ka La New Century Public Charter School and Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science, and supported local sports teams, educational activities and events.

Kaleikini said PGV and its employees are appreciative of the support they’ve received from the community and from Ormat for its commitment in keeping “everyone employed throughout the entire eruption.”

“Fortunately the eruption stopped when it did stop and allowed us to make plans to return to the facility, actually working on the facility, assessing equipment with the goal of returning back to operations by year end,” he said.

Permit applications for two new geothermal wells were resubmitted to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and are under review, Kaleikini said.

The applications were filed April 4 and were reviewed and returned to PGV with comments earlier this month.

Kaleikini previously told the Tribune-Herald that the 38-megawatt geothermal power plant still is assessing wells that were covered by lava or plugged during the eruption, and described the applications for new wells as a contingency.

PGV is allowed to build as many as 28 wells under a plan of operation approved in 2006.

It currently has 11 wells — five for injection and six for production — that range in depths of 4,000 feet and 8,000 feet.

US Senate committee hears from official from PGV parent company
Saturday, June 22, 2019, By Stephanie Salmons, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2019/06/22/hawaii-news/us-senate-committee-hears-from-official-from-pgv-parent-company/

Honour, Our Global Environmental Science Grad!

Honour Booth conducting research in a laboratory.

Our student Honour Booth!

As a teen, when Booth began surfing regularly on Oʻahu and her mother always reminded her to use sunscreen, she would argue that it contained chemicals that were detrimental to island waters. The question of just how much sunscreen actually goes into the environment remained with Booth into college. This question inspired her to develop her research project with Philip Williams, a UH Mānoa chemistry professor. Booth has attended conferences including the International Coral Reef Symposium. In addition, being selected as a Peter J. Rappa Sustainable Coastal Development Fellow led to her working with the city’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. This spring, she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry.

“A scholarly focus on sustainability and stewardship”
June 10, 2019, UH News
https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2019/06/10/manoa-soest-ges-graduates/

UH Children’s Center Visit

Our director “Auntie Nicole” and “Uncle Colin” hosted 14 preschoolers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa Children’s Center last-week Tuesday. The kids looked at and touched unique rocks and held a drill core that extended over 5 feet! At the Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center, the kids played with a giant inflatable moon and looked at a wall mosaic of the planet Mars, and Dr. Pete Mouginis-Mark introduces them to Mars and the moon.

Auntie Nicole and her helper show the rocks from the department’s collection.

Auntie Nicole and her helper show the rocks from the department's collection.

Auntie Nicole and her helper show the rocks from the department's collection.Nicole holds rocks and explains what they are

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auntie Nicole and her helper show the rocks from the department's collection.Auntie Nicole and her helper show the rocks from the department's collection.The rocks from the department's collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

The preschoolers, Auntie Nicole, and Uncle Colin hold a drill core that extends over five feet!

The preschoolers, Auntie Nicole, and Uncle Colin hold a drill core that extends over five feet!The preschoolers, Auntie Nicole, and Uncle Colin hold a drill core that extends over five feet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The preschoolers visit the Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center, and Dr. Pete Mouginis-Mark introduces them to the wall mosaic of the surface of Mars planet.

The preschoolers visit the Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center.The preschoolers visit the Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center, the preschoolers play with the inflatable moon.
At the Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center, the preschoolers play with the inflatable moon.At the Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center, the preschoolers play with the inflatable moon.At the Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center, the preschoolers play with the inflatable moon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The preschoolers learn about the Earth and the moon from Dr. Mouginis-Mark

The preschoolers learn about the Earth and the moon.The preschoolers learn about the Earth and the moon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The preschoolers learn about the Earth and the moon.The preschoolers learn about the Earth and the moon.
The preschoolers learn about the Earth and the moon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The preschoolers sit outside of the POST building.

The preschoolers sit outside of the POST building.The preschoolers sit outside of the POST building.The preschoolers sit outside of the POST building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many thanks to Dr. Nicole Lautze, graduate research assistant Colin Ferguson, Dr. Pete Mouginis-Mark, and the Pacific Regional Planetary Data Center for hosting the kids! 

DLNR bounces wells application back to PGV

Applications for two new geothermal wells have been reviewed and returned to Puna Geothermal Venture with comments, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources confirmed this week.

The applications were filed April 4 and come as PGV, the state’s only geothermal power plant, moves to resume operations after being isolated by last year’s Kilauea eruption.

The permits require approval from DLNR Chairwoman Suzanne Case.

DLNR is awaiting the revised permit applications to be resubmitted, a department spokesman said.

Mike Kaleikini, PGV’s senior director of Hawaii affairs, said “… we’re working on our side to respond to the comments,” which were “primarily procedural” in nature.

Response to DLNR should be provided within a couple of days or a week, he said.

Kaleikini recently told the Tribune-Herald that the 38-megawatt geothermal power plant still is assessing wells that were covered by lava or plugged during the eruption.

He described the applications for new wells as a contingency.

“We’re committed, we’re definitely committed to returning back to operations before year-end,” he said Thursday.

PGV is allowed to build as many as 28 wells under a plan of operation approved in 2006.

It currently has 11 wells — five for injection and six for production — that range in depths of 4,000 feet and 8,000 feet.

The plant produced 31 percent of the island’s power and about half of its renewable energy in 2017, according to HELCO.

A DLNR spokesman said previously the department had 60 days to review the permit applications, which initially were filed March 1, were resubmitted April 4 after being deemed incomplete.

DLNR bounces wells application back to PGV
Monday, June 10, 2019, by Stephanie Salmons, Hawaii Tribune-Herald
https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2019/06/10/hawaii-news/dlnr-bounces-wells-application-back-to-pgv/