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Hawaii Power Company Plans To Begin Drilling Geothermal Well

Courtesy Hawaii County Civil Defense

HILO — Puna Geothermal Venture plans to begin drilling a new geothermal production well on Hawaii Island as part of its recovery from the Kilauea volcano eruption, officials said.

The energy company expects to begin drilling its Kapoho State 18 well Wednesday, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Monday.

The company told community members in the Puna district on the east side of the Big Island earlier this month that the work is expected to be completed by mid-January.

The drilling is part of a resumption of operations after wells were isolated by lava in the eruption that began in May 2018 and destroyed more than 700 homes in lower Puna.

Lava destroyed a substation and covered a few geothermal wells, while cutting off road access to the state's only geothermal power plant. Otherwise, the company was spared significant damage, officials said.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources in August approved permits for two new company wells, including the Kapoho State 18 well with an expected depth of about 5,000 feet (1,524 meters).

The company has five injection wells and six production wells ranging in depth between 4,000 and 8,000 feet (1,219 and 2,438 meters), officials said.

Company officials said during a September community meeting that they were still considering whether to drill a new well or clean an existing one.

"We were planning to drill the new well before the eruption," said Mike Kaleikini, senior director of Hawaii affairs.

The company is also refurbishing wells it closed prior to the eruption and plans to generate and export electricity before the end of 2019, Kaleikini said.

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