FERC rejects app for 30-MW pumped storage project in Hawaii

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sent an Aug. 26 letter to South Maui Pumped Storage LLC rejecting an application for a preliminary permit so the company could do feasibility work on a 30-MW hydro project in Hawaii.

“This letter concerns the preliminary permit application filed on May 19, 2014, for the proposed South Maui Pumped Storage Project No. 14625,” FERC wrote. “In our letter of July 30, 2014, we requested that within 7 days, you file with the Commission additional information needed to evaluate your proposal. You have not filed a written response to our letter of July 30, 2014. Therefore, your preliminary permit application for the South Maui Pumped Storage Project is hereby dismissed pursuant to section 4.32(g) of our regulations.”

The letter was sent to: Bart O’Keeffe, South Maui Pumped Storage LLC, P.O. Box 1916, Discovery Bay, CA 94505.

The South Maui project, said the May 19 application, will enhance the power generation of the county of Maui by 30 MW using seawater from the Pacific Ocean. “The pumped storage portion of the project will support and firm up the wind turbine and solar energy on the system, providing stabilized electrical power to the Island electrical system and its possible support of the interisland underseas transmission cable,” the application noted.

Under a preliminary permit, a developer gets three years of exclusivity to explore project feasibility, with a license application then needed to advance the project further.

Project facilities would consist of a forebay consisting of an inlet dug adjacent to the Pacific Ocean connected by a channel to the ocean, a pipeline penstock, a supply pipeline, an upper reservoir made up of four concrete storage tanks, and an electrical powerhouse. The project is on the island of Maui’s south shore. One component of the project would contain three multi-stage 10-MW variable speed pumps, and the other component would contain two variable speed 15-MW generators. Total pumping capacity and total generating capacity would be 30 MW each.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.