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Geothermal Update October 16, 2014
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Aloha,

Just a quick update on the approaching hurricane and the planned shutdown of PGV operations to reduce the chance of negative impacts to the surrounding community ... PPA and surrounding area residents want to thank HELCO, Civil Defense, and PGV for this change in storm protocols ... Mahalo

With the continuing lava threat we have not been sending out regular updates. However we remain actively engaged on many levels with the county, state, and federal regulatory and permitting bodies. I will be putting out an update in the near future.

If anyone has questions they can email me or Barb.

I know a lot of you have been concerned about the approaching hurricane threat and what PGV's plans are. I just talked with Daryl at Civil Defense and Mike from PGV, and they both told me out of caution from lessons learned during tropical storm Isselle, that PGV will shut down and as the storm passes by it will be evaluated as to when it is safe to bring the plant back online. I personally want to thank them for the change in procedures. PPA believes that protecting the area residents should come first and we are grateful to all involved for this decision.

For those unfamiliar with the background, on Tuesday, October 14th, an editorial in the Honolulu Star Advertiser referred to how during tropical storm Iselle "transmission lines that ordinarily transfer power to the grid were downed by fallen trees, tripping off the plant. To relieve pressure, the plant released a plume of geothermal fluid containing high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide. More than 100 people living nearby reported with discomfort, complaints including severe lethargy, nausea, red eyes, burning eyes and respiratory problems ... the geothermal accident also underscored the need for better safeguards in the operation of the system, especially under the duress of a major storm. One of the release valves that was supposed to keep pressure from building had become stuck, leading to the release of high concentrations of gas.  Such unanticipated problems show the need for oversight of operations, and the prudence of the request by Hawaii County Civil Defense: PGV must cut back its operations in advance of future wind events and have power backup to maintain its monitoring system."

Shutting down as a precautionary measure in view of the potential threat of severe weather avoids the risk of needing an emergency shut-down and the associated risks of escaping gas, toxic exposure, alarm and potential health impacts in the community. We look forward to continuing to work with PGV, HELCO and government officials in this manner as part of the ongoing effort to improve the situation.

 
Bob
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