Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Green Energy Team, LLC (Green Energy) for a biomass-to-energy project to be located near Koloa. This project will reduce Kaua'i's dependence on fossil fuels by 3.7 million gallons per year and provide biomass-fired generation to serve the energy needs of more than 8,500 Kaua'i households.
While KIUC's board of directors has officially committed the cooperative to being 50 percent renewable by 2023, David Bissell, the co-op's acting CEO says with the strong support of KIUC's directors in pursuing renewable initiatives, KIUC can achieve its objective sooner. "With the wide portfolio of projects we are pursuing which includes hydropower, photovoltaic, bio-fuel, battery storage, and additional biomass, we are working towards 50 percent renewable in half that time," Bissell says.
Phil Tacbian, chairman of KIUC's board says, "KIUC is not just accelerating its goals; we are reinventing how Kaua'i is powered. Our cooperative is serious about eliminating Kaua'i's dependence on fossil fuel, and this biomass project is one of a wide array of resources that will get us there."
The project will go far to reinvigorate a diversified agricultural economy on the island, bringing jobs in agriculture, power plant operations and construction, Bissell said.
Green Energy was formed in 2005 to develop renewable energy projects in the state of Hawai'i, and is joined by key partner Standardkessel Baumgarte Contracting GmbH (SBC) of Germany in this biomass-to-energy project.
As a key equity and expertise provider, the Standardkessel partnership facilitates successful financing of the project. "We are very pleased to have Standardkessel's strong engineering and project management resources, and its affiliate's experience in agriculture aspects of providing this long-term, renewable electricity," said Eric Knutzen of Green Energy.
Filip Ackerman, managing director of SBC said, "This is an important project for Standardkessel, and we are fully committed to seeing it through to completion on Kaua'i. The timing is excellent, given the need for permanent jobs here on Kaua'i, the state of Hawai'i's desire to increase renewable energy generation, and KIUC's strategic initiative to deploy renewable energy technologies on Kaua'i. Our project respectsKaua'i's long agricultural history and is sensitive to the Kaua'i environment and culture."
Fuel will be supplied primarily by more than 2,500 acres of short-rotation biomass for conversion to electricity. This helps ensure agricultural use of the state lands to create agriculture related jobs and more affordable energy in the coming decades, while lessening Kaua'i's dependence on foreign oil. The project is considered to be carbon neutral and will maximize the use of natural fertilization processes, including intercropping with alternate rows of nitrogen-fixing trees and the use of fertilizers created as a byproduct of the plant combustion cycle.
The generation system will contribute firm capacity to reach KIUC's supply requirements as defined by the Hawai'i Public Utilities Commission, assuring that Kaua'i can meet its power needs at peak demand. The project also will defer the need to build additional, fossil-fuel fired power generation.
By year-end 2011, KIUC will lead the electric cooperative utility industry deploying new renewable energy technologies with its portfolio of biomass, hydropower, battery storage, and solar generation.