- The unavailability of ammonia used for pollution control has reportedly left Hamakua Energy unable to supply 60 megawatts of power to the Hawaiʻi island grid, creating a risk for rolling blackouts.
- Also offline: Hawaiian Electric’s Hill Plant Unit No. 5, which normally supplies 14 megawatts of power. The company’s 15 megawatt Puna Steam plant is also offline for extensive mechanical repairs.
- The need to conserve electricity between the hours of 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. “will likely be needed all week.”
- “We’re all in this together,” says a Hawaiian Electric official, as the utility asks customers across Hawaiʻi island to continue to limit their use of electricity this evening.
From a Hawaiian Electric company news release on Tuesday evening:
Hawaiian Electric is again asking Hawai‘i Island customers to limit their use of electricity this evening, especially from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The need for conservation is prompted by the shutdown of the island’s largest independent power producer, Hamakua Energy, LLC, and will likely be needed all week.
Last night, conservation efforts helped ensure sufficient power was available to meet the early evening peak demand and prevented the need for rolling outages.
“We’re all in this together,” said Kristen Okinaka, Hawaiian Electric spokesperson. “The best way to avoid the inconvenience of a brief outage is to minimize the use of appliances, especially air conditioning and anything that generates heat. Consider shutting off your water heater for a few hours – the water will still be hot later. Every bit you conserve is a big help.”
Hawaiian Electric also asked its larger commercial customers, including government, hotels and retail, to voluntarily reduce electricity use. Hawaiian Electric thanks businesses for their help and asks the public to continue to patronize stores and restaurants – they’ll still be open.
Hamakua Energy normally supplies 60 megawatts of power but is currently shut down due to the unavailability of ammonia used for pollution control. It is not known when the facility will be returned to service. In addition, Hawaiian Electric’s Hill Plant Unit No. 5 is undergoing annual scheduled maintenance. It normally supplies 14 megawatts of power. The company’s 15 megawatt Puna Steam plant is also offline for extensive mechanical repairs. In addition, wind resources are forecast to be lower than usual.
By reducing demand, Hawaiian Electric can ensure enough electricity is available and prevent the need to initiate rolling, 30-minute outages to prevent a loss of power to an even greater number of customers. If outages are necessary, Hawaiian Electric will notify customers in advance through social media. Please check @HIElectricLight on Twitter for updates.