FERC issues permit for 30-MW pumped storage hydro project in Hawaii

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on April 6 issued a preliminary permit, good for up to three years of exclusivity for feasibility work, on a pumped storage project in Hawaii.

On Oct. 20, 2014, South Maui Pumped Storage LLC filed this application for the proposed South Maui Pumped Storage Project, to be located on the Pacific Ocean about 10 miles southeast of the Town of Wailea in Maui County, Hawaii.

The project would consist of these new features: four 400-foot-long, 200-foot-wide, 50-foot-high oval concrete storage tanks; a 12,000-foot-long, 4.5-foot-diameter buried steel penstock; a 150-foot-long, 68-foot-wide concrete powerhouse; two 15-MW Pelton turbine/generators; three 10-MW multi-stage variable speed pumps; an approximately 400-foot-wide, 450-foot-long tailrace/forebay; a 12,000-foot-long, 4.5-foot-diameter buried steel supply pipeline; and two 28-kV transmission lines totaling 8,000 feet, interconnecting with the existing Sempra Gas and Power-owned Auwahi Wind Farm transmission line. The estimated annual generation of the South Maui Project would be 5.2 gigawatt-hours.

A motion to intervene and comments were filed by Auwahi Wind Energy LLC. Auwahi stated that there has been no discussion with South Maui about the project’s proposed interconnection with the existing Auwahi Wind Farm transmission line. Therefore, Auwahi has not agreed to any such arrangement. Said FERC on that point: “The purpose of a preliminary permit is to study the feasibility of the project, including studying potential impacts. The concerns raised in the comments are premature at the preliminary permit stage, in that they address the potential effects of constructing and operating the proposed project. Should the permittee file a license application, these issues will be addressed in the licensing process.”

The applicant contact is: Bart O’Keefe, United Power Corp., P.O. Box 1916, Discovery Bay, California 94505; phone: (510) 634-1550.

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.