DLNR bounces wells application back to PGV

HILO — Applications for two new geothermal wells have been reviewed and returned to Puna Geothermal Venture with comments, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources confirmed this week.

The applications were filed April 4 and come as PGV, the state’s only geothermal power plant, moves to resume operations after being isolated by last year’s Kilauea eruption.

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The permits require approval from DLNR Chairwoman Suzanne Case.

DLNR is awaiting the revised permit applications to be resubmitted, a department spokesman said.

Mike Kaleikini, PGV’s senior director of Hawaii affairs, said “… we’re working on our side to respond to the comments,” which were “primarily procedural” in nature.

Response to DLNR should be provided within a couple of days or a week, he said.

Kaleikini recently told the Tribune-Herald that the 38-megawatt geothermal power plant still is assessing wells that were covered by lava or plugged during the eruption. He described the applications for new wells as a contingency.

“We’re committed, we’re definitely committed to returning back to operations before year-end,” he said Thursday.

PGV is allowed to build as many as 28 wells under a plan of operation approved in 2006. It currently has 11 wells — five for injection and six for production — that range in depths of 4,000 feet and 8,000 feet.

The plant produced 31 percent of the island’s power and about half of its renewable energy in 2017, according to HELCO.

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A DLNR spokesman said previously the department had 60 days to review the permit applications, which initially were filed March 1, were resubmitted April 4 after being deemed incomplete.

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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