The Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) has executed a contract for design, engineering and construction services for the West Kauaʿi Energy Project in Hawaii with EPC contractor McMillen Jacobs Associates.
This contract award follows a comprehensive request for proposal (RFP) process that began in November 2017.
The West Kauaʿi Energy Project will use solar photovoltaic (PV) energy and pumped storage hydro technology to provide dispatchable renewable energy and is expected to provide up to 15% of Kauaʿi’s energy needs.
Previous reports indicate that the project (also called the Puu Opae Energy Project) will use the Puu Opae upper reservoir connected by a 5-mile-long buried steel pipeline to the Mana reservoir. During the day, solar power would be used to pump the water uphill. The facility could have a capacity up to 25 MW.
“This is a substantial investment for our cooperative, and we have great confidence that McMillen Jacobs can deliver the range of services needed for engineering, design and construction,” said KIUC’s President and Chief Executive Officer David Bissell.
KIUC has been in active development for the project since 2014. The first phase of the contract will involve finalizing project design. Bissell expects to have 60% engineering complete by mid-2019. He added that environmental studies are in progress and a draft environmental disclosure document is anticipated to be ready for public release in early 2019.
KIUC has a goal of using renewable resources to generate 50% of Kauai’s power by 2023. The company owns five hydroelectric projects that provide 7.5% of the island’s electricity, and a 6-MW project is in the permitting process and expected to come online by 2019.
“Barring any significant delays, this project will allow us to meet the KIUC Board of Directors’ strategic goal of reaching 70 percent renewable well ahead of the target date of 2030,” said Bissell. “That’s good for the environment and for our members.”
KIUC is a member-owned cooperative serving 33,000 customer accounts on the island of Kauaʻi. KIUC has surged from less than 10% renewable generation in 2010 to 44% at the end of 2017.
McMillen Jacobs is a heavy civil design-build company specializing in water resources, hydropower, and underground project planning, design and construction.