Geothermal Plant Reopening Pushed To Second Half Of 2020

Mar 1, 2020

HILO — The Puna Geothermal Venture power plant is expected to restart operations in the second half of 2020, later than a previous estimate, according to its owner.

Ormat Technologies Inc. said the restart of the Big Island plant was held up because of delayed building permitting, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Thursday.

The power production company said in December it hopes it can sell electricity in early 2020.

The company is attempting to resume normal operations at the state’s only geothermal power plant after wells were isolated or covered by lava in the Kilauea volcano eruption that began in May 2018 and destroyed more than 700 homes.

Lava destroyed the company’s substation and covered geothermal wells, while cutting off road access to the state’s only geothermal power plant. The company began drilling a new production well in October.

Permits required for the construction and operation of the substation were recently obtained and initial testing is expected during the second quarter of the year, Ormat's website said.

PGV hopes the plant will operate full capacity by the third quarter, assuming all other permits are received, ongoing efforts to upgrade overhead transmission lines are completed and the field recovery is successful.

Property insurers have accepted Ormat’s claims and are paying the cost to rebuild items damaged in the eruption, including the substation, the company said.

Some insurers rejected claims for business interruption coverage. Ormat filed lawsuits, which the company contends will not affect plans to restart the PGV facility.