Project Details

Project Name:
Honua Ola Bioenergy Facility
Honua Ola Bioenergy, LLC (formerly Hu Honua)
21.5 MW
Tax Map Key:
PUC Docket:
2017-0122, 2012-0212
Project Status:
Proposed/Under Development
Honua Ola, formerly Hu Honua Bioenergy, plans to use the old Hilo Coast Processing Co. coal-fired power plant site to produce up to 21.5 megawatts (MW) of indigenous firm renewable energy by converting locally grown and harvested eucalyptus biomass into power. The $250 million renovated facility intends to utilize a new 30 MW capacity Shin Nippon steam turbine generator to produce power for approximately 14,000 Hawaii Island homes annually. The trees will reportedly initially come from Parker Ranch and Kamehameha Schools lands, which intend to replant and replace harvested trees. In December 2018, it was reported Kamehameha Schools was negotiating with Honua Ola sister company, CN Renewable Resources, to manage, market, and harvest nearly 3,000 acres of eucalyptus in Hilo, Paauilo makai, and near the rim of Waipio Valley. Honua Ola began facility construction and initially anticipated this project would be operational in 2016, however, numerous delays and challenges have affected the project. Concerns about the land and marine environmental impacts from the project have been raised by some community and environmental organizations. In July 2017, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved a the amended power purchase agreement (PPA) filed by Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO), which asked for PUC approval based on projected project benefits, including jobs and reduced levelized pricing of $0.221/kilowatt-hour (kWh) for 30 years (original PPA was $0.253/kWh for 20 years). HELCO expects the project could increase Hawaii island's renewable energy portfolio by an estimated 10%. Honua Ola will reportedly employ 250 workers during construction and 30 facility workers, and will generate 130 forestry jobs. In spring of 2019, the Hawaii Supreme Court overturned the PPA citing Hu Honua's failure to consider reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and denial of due process to an environmental nonprofit organization that was appealling the PUC's approval of the PPA.