Hawaii agency returns utility’s geothermal well applications

Hawaii state officials have returned applications for two new geothermal wells so the utility that submitted the applications can make revisions, a report said.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has commented on the applications submitted by Puna Geothermal Venture in April, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Monday.

The company's response to the agency should be provided within a week, said Mike Kaleikini, PGV senior director of Hawaii affairs.

"We're committed, we're definitely committed to returning back to operations before year-end," Kaleikini said.

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The applications are part of the company's attempt to resume operations after the Kilauea volcanic eruption, which shut down the 38-megawatt geothermal power plant in Puna on the Big Island.

The applications are a contingency as the company assesses wells that were covered by lava or plugged during the eruption that began in May 2018, Kaleikini previously said.

The land and natural resources department must approve the one-year permit applications for new wells.

The state Public Utilities Commission will require PGV and Hawaii Electric Light Company to hold a public hearing regarding construction of new transmission lines to the plant.

The state's only geothermal plant produced 31% of the island's power and about half of its renewable energy in 2017, according to PGV and Hawaii Electric Light officials.

PGV may build as many as 28 wells under an operation plan approved in 2006.

The company now has 11 wells — five for injection and six for production — ranging in depths between 4,000 and 8,000 feet (1,219 and 2,438 meters), officials said.

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