Hawaiian cooperative issues request for qualifications to build energy project including pumped storage

A request for qualifications issued by the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative is the newest indication of work progressing on the Puu Opae Energy Project on the west side of the island of Kauai in Hawaii, U.S.

The RFQ is for “services and equipment supply” for the project. KIUC says it is intended to draw a wide range of responses from as many interested parties as possible for engineering services, equipment supply and construction services. The RFQA closes Nov. 30, 2017, and KIUC will evaluate all information received during December. KIUC says companies will be shortlisted to participate in the upcoming request for proposals during 2018.

This project will incorporate solar photovoltaic technology and pumped storage hydropower. The project will use the Puu Opae upper reservoir connected by a 5-mile-long buried steel pipeline to the Mana reservoir. During the day, solar power would be used to pump the water uphill. The facility could have a capacity up to 25 MW, according to a press release. KIUC says this could provide up to 15% of the island’s energy needs.

In September, the board of directors of the cooperative approved several items to move the proposed Puu Opae pumped-storage project to fruition, including expenditures of up to $350,000 for preliminary surveying, engineering and permitting work.

KIUC has a goal of using renewable resources to generate 50% of Kauai’s power by 2023. The company owns five hydroelectric projects that provide 7.5% of the island’s electricity, and a 6-MW project is in the permitting process and expected to come online by 2019.

The Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) of Hawaii authorized its executive director to negotiate terms with KIUC for development of the project in December 2016. At this time, the generating capacity was reported to be 8.3 MW.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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