Hawaii Senate Passes Bill on Geothermal Resource Regulation

The Hawaii Senate this week passed a bill designed to ensure that regulations regarding development of geothermal resources are not subject to local restrictions.

State Sen. Russell Ruderman in a March 8 address before the Senate opposed the bill, saying the state has not gone far enough to regulate geothermal in his district — Puna District 2 — where Ormat Technologies’ Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) facility is located. The 38 MW PGV facility is the only geothermal plant in Hawaii.

The bill clarifies that regulation of geothermal resources is exclusively reserved to the state, and would require rules regarding geothermal exploration and development be uniform throughout the state.

Supporters of the bill say that the adoption of county-level regulations can conflict with state regulation and interfere with the ability of a geothermal energy producer to safely and efficiently conduct exploration or production activities, leading to an increase in the cost of production or loss of investment in the production of additional geothermal resources.

The Hawaii House on March 8 received the bill from the Senate.

Lead image: State of Hawaii Legislature Building. Credit: Shutterstock.

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