Kalaeloa To Get ‘Green’ HECO Plant

Wednesday - August 22, 2007
By Kerry Miller
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The state’s first commercial biofuel plant is coming to West Oahu, with construction set to begin in early 2008 and operations in 2009.

In May, Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., owner of Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), announced the approval of the project by the state Public Utilities Commission. The $142-million plant will be located at Campbell Industrial Park and will run solely on renewable fuels made from a vegetable product or fat.

“It will be a ‘green plant,’ because all the electricity produced there will be biodiesel,” explained HECO spokesman Peter Rosegg. “The difference (from a normal plant that produces electricity using oil) is that it (the byproduct of burning biodiesel) will be invisible. It burns cleaner than ethanol products.

“Biodiesel is made by taking vegetable oil and processing it and turning it into biodiesel, and using it for petrol,” he added.

Because the plant will burn a little cleaner, Rosegg said its emissions will not contribute to global warming and climate change. He’s also hoping that in the future HECO can use biodiesel that is processed right here in Hawaii, rather than contracting with a fuel supplier off island.

“There are agricultural interests and farmers (who would like that). It would keep money here in Hawaii, it would keep jobs here in Hawaii.”

In June 2005, HECO applied to the PUC to build the plant at the industrial park, adjacent to its Barbers Point Tank Farm. The design features two 40-foot buildings, two fuel tanks 60 feet high, three water tanks 60 feet high and an exhaust stack that’s 210 feet high.

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