Power plant proposal thrashed out at hearing, Pepeekeo site visit
by Peter Sur
The president of Hu Honua Bioenergy answered community concerns about a proposed power plant under oath Wednesday and gave a tour of the shuttered facility that he hopes to reopen.
The final witness in the contested case hearing in Hilo was Hu Honua President Rick McQuain, who appeared before hearings officer Robert Crudele and the 16 opponents, called intervenors, who are against the proposed $70 million biomass plant.
Once the final briefs are submitted, Crudele will review the evidence and make a recommendation to the county’s Windward Planning Commission. The seven-member commission will then decide whether to approve Hu Honua’s request to change a 1985 special management area permit that authorized a coal-fired plant.
Hu Honua wants to generate electricity by burning chipped eucalyptus trees, processing about 260,000 tons of biomass per year. The company wants to use the former Hilo Coast Processing Co.’s coal-burning plant in Pepeekeo, which closed in 2004.