Hamakua Firm
Renewable Energy Project

Project Overview

Proposer Name:  Hamakua Energy, LLC

Parent Company: Hamakua Holdings, LLC (owns 100% membership interests in Hamakua Energy, LLC); Pacific Current, LLC (owns 100% membership interest in Hamakua Holdings, LLC)

Project Name:  Hamakua Firm Renewable Energy Project

Project Capacity (MWs): 60 MW (2 Combustion turbines (44 MW Gross); 1 Steam turbine (16.5 MW Gross); Battery Energy Storage System (“BESS”) rated at 7.5 MWs (30 MWhrs, 4 hours duration)

TMK of Facility Location:

  • TMK (3) 4-5-002-056 (Lot 2-A) (Facility location)
  • TMK (3) 4-5-002-057 (Lot 3-A) (Location of Haina switching station)

Point of Interconnection’s Circuit or Substation Name:  Haina Substation (Switching Station)

Project Description

Project Location

The Hamakua Energy firm renewable energy project is located on the northern coast of the Island of Hawaii at Honoka’a, Hawaii.  The Project is a 60 MW combined cycle power plant fueled 100% by renewable fuel, along with a 7.5 MW/ 30 MWhr BESS (Battery Energy Storage System).

Imagery@2024 TerraMetrics, Map data @2024 Google

Project Site Layout (60 MW CCP)

The “green outline” reflects the current TMK location.  This current site at Honoka’a, Hawaii hosts a 60 MW combined cycle plant with two combustion turbines and one steam turbine.  The current combined cycle plant has been in operation since 2000, providing 60MWs of capacity to the Island of Hawaii for over 20 years.

The renewable project proposes to migrate the existing 60 MW combined cycle plant to 100% renewable fuel.  The Project would utilize the existing facilities and footprint migrating the fuel of the combustion and steam turbines to renewable fuels, prior to the start of the PPA term on 12/1/30

Imagery @2024 Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data @2024 Google

Project Site Layout (7.5 MW BESS)

The “blue outline” reflects the current TMK location of the Haina substation and future location of the Batter Energy Storage System.

Hamakua Energy, proposes to install near the substation on current “blacktop” a 7.5 MW/ 30 MWhr BESS (Battery Energy Storage System).  The addition of the BESS will require additional permitting for the site.

Imagery @2024 Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data @2024 Google

Interconnection Route

The “blue outline” reflects the location of the Haina substation.  This existing substation will continue as the interconnection point of the Hamakua Energy project.

Imagery @2024 Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data @2024 Google

Environmental Compliance and Permitting Plan

Land Use:

Hamakua Energy’s proposed renewable dispatchable generation project will be sited on the 6.6-acre facility site, TMK (3) 4-5-002-056 (Lot 2-A), of the existing Hamakua Energy operation that was constructed under Special Permit No. 939 issued by the County of Hawai’i in 1996 which permitted the construction and operation of a cogeneration power plant facility and released uses and improvements within Hawaii County’s Agricultural zoned district.  Accordingly, no new land use permit will be required for improvements within the boundaries of the existing facility.

The existing utilities electrical infrastructure (e.g., interconnection facilities, switchyard, and transmission facilities) on Parcel TMK (3) 4-5-002-057 (Lot 3-A) are permissible uses for land of classified as “Agricultural” and County zoning of “General Industrial District.”

However, for construction and operation of the new BESS on a portion (i.e., approximately one acre) of Parcel TMK (3) 4-5-002-057 (Lot 3-A) a new Special Use Permit will be required from the County of Hawaiʻi.  HE will be preparing an application for a Special Use Permit for this particular parcel.

Environmental Permits and Approvals Strategy

The following permits require periodic renewal:

  1. Notice of General Permit Coverage (NGPC) covered under the State of Hawaiʻi’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. In Hawaiʻi, certain industrial activities are covered under this general NPDES permit.  Steam-electric power generation facilities, such as the proposed renewable dispatchable generation project, are among the industrial activities covered by this permit.  Coverage under the NGPC lasts for a maximum of five (5) years and depends on when the State NPDES permit expires, which also expires approximately every five (5) years.  For the past twenty (20) years, the NGPC for the existing Hamakua Energy LLC Facilities has been renewed within the 5-year term window.  For example, if the State NPDES permit expires in January 2028, and the NPGC permit expires in 2025, an application for renewal of the NPGC permit would be granted for only three (3) years and expire coincident with the NPDES permit.  Thereafter, both the NPDES and NPGC permits would be renewed every five (5) years for 5-year terms.
  2. The Covered Source Permit (CSP) is for air emissions and is subject to all State Rules and Federal Regulations that are not necessarily referenced in Covered Source Permit. Renewal application shall be submitted no less than 12-months and no more than 18-months prior to the permit expiration date.  Hamakua Energy LLC has applied for renewals accordingly, however, the State Department of Health (DOH) has not issued a new (or renewed) permit since the old one expired in 2014. In the interim, several permit modifications have been submitted and accepted by DOH, including the Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions Reduction Plan, GHG Partnership, Simple-cylce operation, and Operation on biodiesel fuel.  DOH guidance is to operate under the existing permit (expired 2014) and with modifications subsequently approved by DOH and with DOH in process to renew the permit eventually and accordingly.
  3. Other permits will either be renewed prior to their expiration date as has regularly occurred in the past, or do not require renewal.

Project Plan: Summary Overview

City Zoning and Land Use Classification:

There are two relevant land parcels:

  1. Parcel TMK (3) 4-5-002-056 (Lot 2-A) covers 8.4531 acres at the north end of Haina Camp Road, as shown on map from the County of Hawaiʻi Real Property Tax Office, Parcel Map 2A. The Property Class is “Agricultural” (i.e., State Land Use designation of being in an Agricultural District).  As indicated on the Haina-Honokaʻa Zone Map from the County of Hawaiʻi the parcel is in the “MG-1a” zone, or “General Industrial District,” County Zone Map .  The renewable firm dispatchable generation facility will be located on the portion of this parcel (i.e., 6.6 acres) for which Special Use Permit No. 939 was issued by the County of Hawaiʻi on August 8, 1996.
  2. Parcel TMK (3) 4-5-002-057 (Lot 3-A) covers 16.904 acres at the north end of Haina Camp Road, as shown on map from the County of Hawaiʻi Real Property Tax Office, Parcel Map 3A . The Property Class is “Agricultural” (i.e., State Land Use designation of being in an Agricultural District).  As indicated on the Haina-Honokaʻa Zone Map from the County of Hawaiʻi the parcel is in the “MG-1a” zone, or “General Industrial District,” County Zone Map .  This utilities electrical infrastructure (i.e., interconnection facilities, switching station, and transmission lines) are permissible uses on land with the State Land Use designation and County of Hawaiʻi zoning.

Discretionary and non-discretionary Land Use, environmental and construction permits and approvals/ Listing of permits and approvals:

These permits were originally obtained for construction and operation of the existing Hamakua Energy LLC Facilities.  They will be retained and/or renewed, as appropriate and/or required, for the proposed renewable dispatchable generation project.

Preliminary environmental assessment of the site (including any pre-existing environmental conditions)

The existing Hamakua Energy LLC Facility has all of its environmental permits in good standing and has not experienced any violations.  Moreover, during due diligence prior to acquiring the facilities and land parcels from ArcLight Capital Partners LLC in 2017, it was determined that there were no legacy environmental liabilities associated with the acquisition.

Cultural Resources Impacts

Proposal to Identify and Protect Cultural Sites

Located near Honoka’a, on the northern coast of the Island of Hawaii, the Project is located on a 26-acre site owned by Hamakua Energy, LLC.  The project is on a 6.6-acre portion of the site with an existing Special Permit No. 939 issued by the County of Hawaii in 1996, and it not having a termination date, the proposed renewable dispatchable generation project on land Parcel TMK (3) 4-5-002-056 (Lot 2-A) already has all requisite land use permits for the proposed term of the project.

The existing utilities electrical infrastructure (e.g., interconnection facilities, switchyard,  and transmission facilities) on Parcel TMK (3) 4-5-002-057 (Lot 3-A) are permissible uses for land of classified as “Agricultural” and County zoning of “General Industrial District.”

The property was part of the former Hamakua Sugar Company Haina Mill site which was used to process sugarcane into raw sugar.  It is located immediately west of the former Mill complex and is bounded to the south, north and east by paved and unpaved roads formerly part of the plantation roadway system.  In 1992, HSC entered into bankruptcy, and in 1994, after its last harvest, the mill was shut down and dismantled.

The main facilities of the HSC mill were situated within lands zoned for industrial uses and designated as Urban by the State Land Use (SLU) Commission.  A 6.6-acre portion was situated within the SLU Agriculture District.  The existing Hamakua Energy power plant was located largely within the SLU Agriculture District to minimize potential impacts to the surrounding area. When originally permitted these lands were approximately forty (40) to fifty (50) feet lower than the surrounding residential area, reducing potential noise and air quality impacts.

The land on which the plant was built had long been host to industrial activity.  These lands have been disturbed, with a large portion having been paved as part of mill activities.  The Special Permit granted to the project in 1996 (SPP 96-12) affirmed that the power plant is “consistent with the  goals, policies and standards of the General Plan.”  The proposed Project will not create any additional visual or negative environmental impacts.

Archaeological Literature Review and Field Inspection Report

Hamakua Energy LLC performed its due diligence prior to acquiring the facilities and land parcels from ArcLight Capital Partners LLC in 2017.  The special use permit application from Enserch Development Corporation notes in Section IV. Environmental/ Technical Data subsection D Historic Sites “The subject area has been extensively disturbed during its use as part of the HSC sugar mill activities.  Accordingly, no archaeological resources are associated in this area”.

Community Outreach

Hamakua Energy understands that gaining community support is an important part of Project’s viability and success.  To that end, Hamakua Energy is fortunate to have been an integral member of the Honoka’a community since 2017.  Moreover, the existing power generation plant has been operating in the same location of the Project since 2000, without any significant environmental concerns and exemplary safety record from the very beginning.

Most of Hamakua Energy plant’s current personnel live in Honoka’a and the surrounding communities, and several of them have deep roots in the town of Honoka’a dating back to the plantation days.  Hamakua Energy also has employed local Honoka’a residents across two generations.  Plant personnel are active volunteers in the community, contributing to arts, academic and athletic programs in the school district, providing leadership to local the Boy Scout organization, Special Olympics and Relay for Life.  Hamakua Energy’s Community Outreach Plan will expand on our existing positive relationships that we enjoy with the residents of Honoka’a and surrounding towns.  We will continue with our existing community engagement but also take additional steps to ensure that we listen and address any concerns that may arise with the Project including any changes to the existing Hamakua Energy plant, respond to such concerns as we are able to, and honor our commitment to protection of the environment and cultural values of Hawai’i.

Our team looks forward to continuing its history of being a part of the Honoka’a community.


Community scoping

Hamakua Energy’s outreach team will comply with all required public notification and engagement activities. We have met with several individuals that are actively engaged in business and cultural organizations in Honoka’a and neighboring towns, local school administrators, and local elected officials.  The purpose of the meetings were to provide information about the Project at a high level, to gather any preliminary concerns, and solicit input on additional ways that Hamakua Energy can become a more active and engaged member of the community.  To date, we have not been made aware of any initial concerns regarding the development of the Project.

Our next step will be to conduct additional and structured informational meetings whereby we will be inviting the community-at-large.  We will be publicizing our informational events on local newspaper such as Hawaii Tribune-Herald, newsletters issued by local organizations such as the Honoka’a Business Association and posting flyers around town.

The purpose of these meetings will be to proactively explain the Project and its benefits to the community and Hawaii Island and safety features and environmental footprint.  We do not anticipate that there will be any significant change to the visual, environmental attributes, water/ water quality, noise levels or traffic impact of the existing power plant.  However, if any concerns are raised in these meetings, we will address such concerns by developing mitigation strategies with community input and communicating such strategies with those that may be impacted.

Communications strategy

Hamakua plans on using several forms of communication to ensure the community has access to the most up to date project information.  The communications mediums will include:

Website and Social Media: A dedicated project website will be developed to provide a forum where interested parties can go to get current and accurate information about the project.  In addition, we will share frequent updates on social media of project status.

Marketing Materials: Hamakua Energy will invest in the development of the following materials that will be used to support its outreach efforts:

  • Informational fact sheet – flyer/infographics
  • Presentation materials tailored to specific audiences.
  • Statements and letters of support

Stakeholder Briefings: Briefings will be conducted with targeted audiences through one-on-one or group meetings including open houses. Priority will be placed on elected officials, area businesses and key industry stakeholders identified in the Community Outreach section.

Community Outreach

Respondent’s outreach team will conduct one-on-one or small group meetings with area businesses, elected officials and industry partners that may be affected by the project.

  • Elected officials for the Hamakua Coast and Big Island
  • Area businesses and Institutions
  • Key stakeholders for Hawai’i’s clean energy future

Our local outreach team will identify and meet community leaders to engage on the project and address in any questions from the local community.

Community Benefits Package

As part of the project’s community benefit commitment, Hamakua Energy will commit at least $180,000 per each year of the contract term to be spent in support of various community initiatives that are consistent with the Projects core values.  This will include financial support to schools in the Honokaa-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena Complex Area.  Hamakua Energy representative has met with leadership and teachers in the Kohala and Honokaa Complex, to identify grant opportunities that help achieve our goal of environmental awareness, STEM skills and knowledge and work skills that the students can carry thru their lives.  Financial contributions are being considered to support local community food assistance programs, first responders including the volunteer fire department, local chapter of Red Cross, and for the maintenance of public facilities within Honoka’a such as the park facilities and bus stops.

Hamakua Energy will continue to engage with the community to ensure we prioritize and support initiatives that provide the appropriate impact to the community.  Hamakua Energy’s commitment to support programs that define and enrich our communities will not wait to begin with the 2030 on-line date as we will continue to support programs and organizations in the community that we currently support.  Hamakua Energy’s commitment is to significantly increase our current support for local programs and organizations that benefit the community and are in line with Hamakua Energy’s values and interests once Hawaiian Electric obtains approval from the PUC for the PPA with Hamakua Energy.

Contact Us

We appreciate your interest in the Hamakua Energy project.  We look forward to hearing your feedback and comments.

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