Hawaiian Coal-Fired Plant Being Converted to Burn Biomass

U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka and U.S. Representatives Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono helped launch Hawaii’s newest renewable energy project at a Hawaiian blessing ceremomy for the Hu Honua Bioenergy Facility in the community of Pepeekeo, on the Big Island’s Hamakua Coast.

Financed, operated and majority-owned by MMA Renewable Ventures, the 24-megawatt (MW) power station will convert locally grown biomass into electricity, supporting the state’s target of 20% renewable energy by 2020.

Local union leader Rickard Baker, division director of ILWU 142 Hawaii, said that more than 95% of the area’s residents approached have signed a petition in support of converting the coal-fired plant into a biomass-to-energy facility.
 
“Like its name, which means ‘to come out of the earth,’ Hu Honua turns to the land to effectively and sustainably meet Hawaii’s power needs,” said Dan KenKnight, director of Hu Honua BioEnergy LLC. “Projects like the Hu Honua Bioenergy Facility play an important role in shifting Hawaii’s energy mix away from imported petroleum toward renewable sources. Our partners at MMA Renewable Ventures bring to the project the management and operational expertise needed to ensure that Hu Honua continues delivering reliable clean energy for decades to come.”
 
Supplying energy directly to the regional utility grid, Hu Honua will deliver enough for approximately 7-10 percent of the island’s total energy needs. Employing plant materials that otherwise go unused, the power plant will stimulate the local agricultural industry and prevent tens of thousands of tons of green waste from taking up scarce space in Hawaii County’s landfills each year, according to Hu Hona BioEnergy. The project is also expected to create hundreds of local jobs.

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