FERC receives permit application for seawater-powered Hawaii pumped-storage

United Power Corp. has filed an application for a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission preliminary permit to study development of the 30-MW South Maui Pumped-Storage project, which would use seawater from the Pacific Ocean to power the project on the south coast of Maui Island, Hawaii.

FERC issued Jan. 16 a notice that it accepted the filing (No. 14640) from United Power Corp. on behalf of South Maui Pumped Storage LLC. If granted the preliminary permit would give the developer first priority to the site while it studies its feasibility.

“The South Maui Pumped-Storage project will enhance the power generation of the County of Maui by 30 MW using renewable energy and seawater obtained from the Pacific Ocean,” the application said. “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 inter-island underseas transmission cable.”

Proposed project facilities include 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 composed of four concrete storage tanks and a powerhouse containing three 10-MW variable-speed pumps and two 15-MW variable-speed Pelton turbine-generators. Estimated annual generation would be 5.2 GWh.

Hawaii’s Board of Land and Natural Resources last year approved in principle a proposal by Kauai Island Utility Cooperative to develop a 25-MW pumped-storage project on Kauai’s west side. Paniolo Power Co. LLC last year announced it would seek an engineering-procurement-construction contractor to develop a pumped-storage project of from 10 MW to 200 MW at Parker Ranch on Hawaii Island.

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