Army to lease land to Hawaiian Electric for bioenergy project

By Erin Voegele | February 12, 2016

The Army has announced the availability of the record of decision (ROD) to lease land and grant easements on Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Airfield to Hawaii Electric Co. for the development of a 50 MW biofuel-fueled power plant, known as the Schofield Generating Station. The ROD applies to the construction, ownership, operation and maintenance of the power plant along with associated power poles, high-tension power lines, and related equipment and facilities.

According to a notice published in the Federal Register, the action was the preferred alternative identified in the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed project. The EIS evaluated the impacts on land use, airspace use, visual resources, air quality, noise, traffic and transportation, water resources, geology and soils, biological resources, cultural resources, hazardous and toxic substances, socioeconomics, and utilities and infrastructure.

The notice explains that the ROD identifies potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts associated with the project, none of which were found to be significant adverse effects.

The Army is expected to lease Hawaiian Electric 8.13 acres of land to develop the power plant, along with a 2.5-acre interconnection easement. Power generated by the plant will ordinarily supply power to all Hawaiian Electric customers through the island-wide electrical grid. During outages that meet certain criteria, plant output would first be provided to certain Army facilities, up to their peak demand of 32 MW. In the event of a full island outage, the generating station could be used to restart other generating stations on the island.

The Army published a notice announcing its intent to prepare a joint environmental impact statement for the project in early 2014. In December 2014, Wärtsilä Corp. announced plans to supply a 50 MW Smart Power Generation power plant to Hawaiian Electric Co. as part of the Schofield Barracks project. A few months later, in early 2015, the Army opened a comment period on its draft environmental impact statement for the project. 

Additional information is available on the Federal Register website.