Geothermal energy is provided naturally as a product of the Earth’s heat that over many millions of years created the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii sits in a hot spot in the Pacific Ocean, which scientists believe will continue to produce heat for millions of years to come. PGV started commercial operations in 1993 as a 25 MW Facility, and over the years has gone through several amendments to the power purchase agreements to increase generation.
In 1995, PGV increased its contractual obligation from 25 MW up to 30 MW without adding any new equipment or drilling additional geothermal wells. The additional 5 MW of generation only required an increase in the amount of steam. Both the 25 MW and an additional 5 MW contracts had energy pricing linked to oil prices. However, in 2012, PGV and HELCO negotiated an additional 8 MW contract, bringing the Facility to its present contractual obligation of 38 MW. New electric generating equipment was needed, but no additional geothermal wells were required because the 8 MW Facility was designed to utilize the hot water, or brine, from the geothermal resource.
Prior to the 8 MW expansion, all hot water was routed directly back to the reinjection wells. The 8 MW contract resulted in PGV delinking energy pricing on certain portions of the available capacity, which in turn saved ratepayers millions of dollars from 2012 until the Facility was taken offline in 2018 due to the volcanic eruption. Throughout the entire life of the PGV Facility, community outreach has been an integral activity for PGV operations. Historically, for many different reasons, the PGV project has generated much interest from various stakeholders on Hawai’i Island and throughout the State. Support for and opposition to the PGV project from community members, government agencies, business organizations, government officials, legislators, cultural practitioners, the utility, and many others, have been well documented during the past several decades.
Today, through continued committed Outreach and participation with numerous businesses, civic and community activities, PGV affirms that the majority of the various stakeholders are supportive of geothermal energy production.