HELCO has announced that they will be building an additional geothermal plant on the Big Island. They have selected Ormat to provide an additional power plant with 25 MW of geothermal energy. The location of the new power plant has not been disclosed to the public yet, but all bidders proposed the project for the Puna region.
Ormat was one among six bidders for the project, and currently supplies up to 38 megawatts of geothermal power at its Pohoiki plant.
HELCO states that more than 47 percent of electricity on Hawaii Island is already generated from renewable resources, including hydro, wind, distributed solar and geothermal. They say geothermal technologies provide renewable, controlled dispatchable energy and firm capacity that allow Hawaii Electric Light to schedule and control output from the geothermal plant to its island-wide grid.
Many residents of Hawaii, especially those who reside in the area of the geothermal plants have expressed concern on the safety of the geothermal plant because of any accidental releases of steam and hydrogen sulfide. The county has issued requests for proposals to study the health impacts and risks of geothermal development.