Hawaii decides not to pursue 1.5-MW Waimea hydropower project

WAIMEA, Hawaii 6/1/12 (PennWell) — Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie has announced a new 1.5-MW hydropower facility will not be constructed due to recent feasibility studies.

The project’s developer, Kekaha Ditch Hydro LLC, filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in May 2011 and appeared to be on track for construction after Abercrombie allocated US$1 million for the project a week ago as part of Hawaii’s capital improvement initiative.

The plant was to have been built in a FERC-regulated irrigation system and would have been part of a larger watershed protection program.

However, the state’s Department of Agriculture nixed the plan days later, saying the cost of the project outweighed its benefits.

“Because the water flows through the pipeline only when the farmers are drawing water, it would not generate enough power to make it worth the cost of the system,” says Department of Agriculture spokesperson Janelle Saneishi.

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