Friday, May 6, 2016

USA, Hawaii: Geothermal Energy Legislation Comes to a Halt

Bill giving state authority over plants dies (Hawaii Tribune Herald)

A bill aimed at giving the Hawaiian state sole regulatory authority over geothermal power plants died in conference committee.

Sen. Lorraine Inouye, the bill’s main sponsor, said lawmakers could not come to an agreement on the measure — opposed by critics of geothermal development — after the House passed a nearly blank version.

Inouye, who said she thinks the state is best able to regulate geothermal facilities, said she introduced the bill at the request of Ormat's Puna Geothermal Venture, which is facing a lawsuit for drilling at night in violation of a county ordinance adopted in 2012. Plant officials say they need to be able to drill around the clock for safety reasons.

If passed, the measure was expected to resolve the issue in favor of the 38 MW power plant.