Ormat Technologies, the owner of Puna Geothermal Venture, plans to bring the 38-megawatt power plant online by the end of the year.
CEO Isaac Angel made that statement in the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year financial results released Tuesday.
The state’s only geothermal power plant, and a major renewable power producer for Hawaii Island, shut down last year during the Kilauea eruption.
Lava destroyed a substation and covered a few geothermal wells, as well as cut off road access to the power plant, but it was otherwise spared significant damage.
PGV built a temporary road in December, allowing people and equipment to traverse the hardened lava channel.
The power plant still needs service power lines to connect the plant to the Hawaii Electric Light Co. grid in order to test all of the equipment, but a water well was constructed to restore water service.
Angel didn’t note any major hurdles preventing the power plant from restarting.
“Initial tests from the geothermal injection wells indicate higher temperatures at the reservoir with no sign of any negative impact on pressure,” he said in the statement. “In light of that, we currently estimate that we will be ready for operation by year end 2019.”
Angel also said insurers are paying for costs of the destroyed property, though not all agree that business interruption coverage started May 2018. He said the company is trying to resolve that disagreement.
Despite the shutdown, Ormat saw revenue increase by 3.8 percent compared with 2017.
Mike Kaleikini, senior director of Hawaii affairs for Ormat, said PGV and its landowner, Kapoho Land Partnership, are still working to open an access road to isolated homes off Highway 132.
He said liability issues need to be resolved first, and that could be done in the next few weeks.
Kaleikini said there as many as 20 people working at the site each day.
“We’re gearing up to bring everybody back,” he said.
According to Ormat, the electrical substation is expected to be rebuilt during the last quarter of the year.
A large rig also is being shipped to allow for drilling of new wells if needed.
Email Tom Callis at firstname.lastname@example.org.