Australian firm needs fed permit for wave energy project off Maui


POSTED: Sunday, July 12, 2009

Question: What ever happened to plans to build three wave-energy turbines off the northern coast of Maui to supply electricity to the island?

Answer: The project remains in the works.

Oceanlinx, an Australian renewable-energy company, announced plans last year to build the turbines in waters off Pauwela Point.

The company had planned to have them in place by this year, but state officials say the timeline has been pushed back.

Andrea Gill, an energy specialist in the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, said the company is awaiting word on a permit application from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Once that permit is approved, the company will begin the process of attaining the proper state and county permits, she said.

Oceanlinx officials and Gov. Linda Lingle announced the project in February 2008, and the Legislature that year approved $20 million in special-purpose revenue bonds to support it.

The wave turbines were said to have the capability of generate 2.7 megawatts of power—enough to power about 1,600 homes on the Valley Isle.

The wave turbine platforms—each about the size of a three-bedroom house—would sit above the water and capture air beneath the structure. As waves flow, air is forced back and forth through a column, powering a turbine generating electricity that can then be sold.

Star-Bulletin staff update was written by B.J. Reyes. You can write us at “;What Ever Happened to ...”; Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 7-210, Honolulu 96813; call 529-4747; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).