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Hawaii’s Geothermal Energy Success Story

September 20th, 2011 · No Comments

Here we will tell you about Hawaii’s geothermal energy success story. The Island of Hawaii sources 20% of its power from Puna Geothermal Venture plant.


Watch amazing archival footage of activity of Kilauea volcano, inside Pu’u O’o crater. The Big Island of Hawaii currently sources 20% of its power from a geothermal plant in Mt. Kilauea.

What comes to mind when you hear of Hawaii? Lots of things, actually. For some, it’s the sandy beaches and clear waters. For others, it’s the lush tropical rain forests that still thrive on these islands. Of course, there are those who think of Hawaii’s active volcanoes.

And for a good reason, too. Hawaii today has become a pioneer in clean renewable energy thanks mainly to well…its volcanoes. The islands sit on several large geothermal reservoirs which could potentially supply most of the state’s power requirements in the future.

At present, a significant part of the power being used on Hawaii’s Big Island is sourced directly from geothermal energy. A plant called the Puna Geothermal Venture in the Mt. Kilauea East Rift zone run by Ormat Technologies is currently supplying 20% of the island’s electricity requirements. Plans are also underway to generate additional capacity.

The Mt. Kilauea plant is a closed system facility meaning that only steam is released into the atmosphere during the power-generation process. It begins with 650-degree Fahrenheit geothermal fluids being brought up to the surface through the plant’s five wells in the East Rift.

The steam used to drive the generators is then separated from the fluids. Liquid pentane is also used to capture heat from the primary extraction process increasing the plant’s output and efficiency. Leftover steam is then vented into the atmosphere while the used-up geothermal fluids are injected back to the reservoir through several injection wells.

Puna Geothermal is under contract with Hawaii Electric and Light to supply the state with 30 MW geothermal energy until 2030. They are now planning to increase their capacity by 8 MW at the Mt. Kilauea and to expand their services to the other islands by developing reservoirs near Mt. Hualalai and off the coast of Maui.

With the use of geothermal power, Hawaii saves the equivalent 144,000 barrels of oil a year in electric power generation. The U.S. is extremely rich in geothermal resources and along with other renewable power sources, it’s high time we use this to wean ourselves from dependence on foreign oil and coal for power generation.

via Clean Technica

Tags: Renewable Energy