HELCO works to restore power at PGV

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Lava flanks Puna Geothermal Venture on June 3, 2018.

Electricity may be restored soon at Puna Geothermal Venture as the Hawaii Electric Light Company works to reconnect the facility to the electric grid.

HELCO spokeswoman Kristen Okinaka said both HELCO and PGV are hard at work to restore the geothermal plant to operational capacity by the end of this year. As part of that process, HELCO is currently extending power lines to the PGV facility over the cooled lava flow.

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“Currently, the biggest challenge is gaining access to damaged areas,” wrote Okinaka in an email.

“We conducted a site assessment with PGV officials for installing a pole line to provide electric service to PGV. It was determined that utility poles can be safely erected along the roadway they constructed.”

PGV spokesman Mike Kaleikini said the power substation serving the facility was damaged during the Kilauea eruption last year.

The lava also obviously wiped out several power poles connecting the facility to the grid.

While the facility does have portable generators on site to provide temporary power, reconnecting with HELCO is necessary to bring PGV back to full operations, Kaleikini said. Initially, power will only be restored to the facility’s control room and administration building.

While power may be restored to PGV within the next several weeks, restoring power to a nearby lava-locked kipuka may take longer. Okinaka said HELCO is working with customers on a case-by-case basis to determine how best to restore power to them.

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PGV has previously stated that it will return to full operational status by the end of 2019. Kaleikini said there are no new developments in that process and that they are still working on assessing the facility.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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