Terry Oliver, a four-decade forestry veteran, has high hopes for the eucalyptus timber industry on the Big Island.
As the harvest operator and marketing manager for GMO Renewable Resources LLC in Hawaii, Oliver manages Tradewinds Forest Products LLC’s 13,800 acres of eucalyptus grandis, a hybrid developed to grow straight and tall quickly, Oliver said Wednesday.
More importantly, the tree stump sprouts after being cut down, growing big enough to harvest again after seven years, about the same amount of time Oliver estimated it would take the company to cut down the trees it now has. Already, some tree sprouts have shot up more than 20 feet since first being cut last year, and trees cut last spring are nearing 16 to 18 feet.
“There should never be an end because of the way they regrow themselves,” Oliver said. “It will be time to start over again.”
Oliver was hired a few months ago and began working at the site in November. It’s his job to help investors behind the project make money, eventually. It would be better sooner than later, he said, laughing a little.
“We’re quite proud of it actually, to come in and do this,” he said. “We’re going to be here.”
At the present logging site, not far from Honokaa, five workers harvest the timber. Since work began in the spring, the company has sent three ships, the most recent earlier this month with 6 million board feet of lumber, to Asia. Oliver said the larger logs are used for plywood core, while the smaller pieces, from the treetops, as well as the bark, can eventually be used to power energy generation.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture inspects the loads before the ships leave the country, he added.
HILO, Hawaii >> Hamakua eucalyptus is being cut down and sent to Oahu to see how it will work as fuel in a generator operated by AES Hawaii Inc.
West Hawaii Today reported today that American Forest Management has cut about 20 acres of 14,000 acres leased from Kamehameha Schools for the test project. The trees will regrow from the stumps and a second cutting should be available in seven to 10 years.
The logs are to be chipped once they reach Oahu and tested for emissions during burning.
AES has tested a variety of fuel at its Campbell Industrial Park plant since it opened in 1992, but it relies mostly on coal to generate electricity it sells to Hawaiian Electric Co.
The experiment is due to use about 3,300 tons of eucalyptus.
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.