Wednesday, September 10, 2008


A Renewable Energy Plant is Coming to Hawaii

By Gina Mangieri

A renewable energy plant is coming soon to Hawaii -- one that promises to slash costs for downtown Honolulu businesses while helping the environment.

Just a block away from the Xcel Energy Center that hosted the Republican National Convention is Minnesota's district energy plant.

So what does this St. Paul Woodwaste-fueled facility have to do with hawaii? 
It's sister company will soon build a clean energy plant in Honolulu -- in the islands, pumping cold deep seawater to help cool downtown buildings.

Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona got an upclose look while in Minnesota for the convention last week. Lt. Governor, Duke "It's an impressive use of technology. Very efficient, so I'm excited."

Here in St. Paul, Ever-Green Energy's clean-burning plant helps heat and cool more than 31 million square feet of office and government buildings. 
It made heating costs lower today than in 1984 and reduced emissions by more than 60 percent. Their Honolulu seawater air conditioning company pledges much of the same for Honolulu.

Anders Rydaker of Ever-Green Energy says, "We can cut electric consumption up to 75 percent and that's a tremendous savings for the Island." Aiona says, "Of course we'll save a lot of money in regards to our electricity."

Here's how it will work. An intake pipe brings cold seawater up from about 1,600 feet deep to what will be a Kakaako-based distribution center.  From there that seawater cools a closed-loop freshwater system that recirculates to dozens of private and government buildings in Honolulu's urban core.

"It's basically pumps and pipes, and with that we can cover most of the downtown," says Anders.  Aiona says, "The fact that you don't have any emissions, any discharge, we don't have anything going into our sewage system."

The 150 million dollar project aims to start construction in January, with service targeted to launch in the summer of 2010. Helping navigate the 42 different permits and environmental steps are several local engineering and consulting companies.  "This is a concept that can be done for more than just downtown as well," says Anders.

They're looking at possible expansion to places like Waikiki, Pearl Harbor and the airport. Because such technology allows for a big cutback on power consumption, the state says it'll go a long way in their renewable energy initiative.

"We as an administration have a goal of 70% intergeneration by 2030 and we're gonna hit it. It's tough but we're determined to hit it, and I think we can with something like this," says Anders.

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