Puna Geothermal plant did supply 30% of Big Island electricity

Upwards of thirty feet of lava now surrounds Puna Geothermal Venture, which is near Lanipuna Gardens on the Big Island. In 1991 the area had to be evacuated when drillers hit a hotspot, blowing hydrogen sulfide into the air. Russell Ruderman protested the plant then and got arrested. He’s now a state senator and promises massive protests if PGV tries to open again. I’d be concerned too if I lived near it.

PGV supplies upwards of 30% of power for the island of Hawaii. The wells have been sealed. The image here shows that the area around the plant is now surrounded by lava. Just getting in to make repairs and check equipment is problematic. Lava rock can be extremely sharp and jagged. It shreds tires. So, lava has to be cleared or paved over first before anything else can be done. This will be expensive.

Then, after unsealing the wells, will they even be functional? Perhaps the underground sources of heat and steam have shifted. There’s no way to know until the wells are opened, and that will take months. Assuming protests and lawsuits don’t the plant from attempting to reopen.

Hawaii has the most expensive power in the country.  It currently generates much of its power from imported coal and petroleum. It is trying hard to move to 100% renewables because doing so makes economic sense as well as being green. It needs as much renewable energy as it can get. Potentially losing PGV is a huge problem.