PACIFIC BUSINESS NEWS -- February 18, 2015

Maui renewable energy project put on hold

Maui Electric Co. has decided to hold off on submitting to Hawaii regulators a power purchase agreement with California-based Anaergia Services for a proposed agricultural energy project that would generate up to 6 megawatts of biogas energy, according to a letter from the utility's president to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

In March, Maui Electric received approval from the PUC to begin working on a power purchase agreement with Anaergia Services on the Mahinahina Energy Park project, which would have been located near Maui County's Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility on land owned by the Kaanapali Land Management Co.

The PUC gave Maui Electric, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Co., a waiver from the competitive bidding process and said that a fully executed power purchase agreement for the project must be filed within six months, which would have been in September.

In a letter sent to the PUC on Friday, Sharon Suzuki, president of Maui Electric, said that the two companies are continuing to discuss and explore the alternative option of Anaergia Services providing biogas to Maui Electric in lieu of selling power.

The project would have grown sorghum, an energy crop native to Hawaii, which is able to grow using the quality of water produced at the wastewater facility. The mature crops would have been harvested and converted naturally into a methane-rich gas called biogas in large tanks called anaerobic digesters.

Duane Shimogawa covers energy, real estate and economic development for Pacific Business News.


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