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Hawaii Government offers $1.3 million for natural energy lab

HAWAII - Governor Linda Lingle has released $1,302,000 for improvements to the infrastructure of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) on the Big Island.

"NELHA uses natural resources to continue innovative economic progress in our state. NELHA is doing an outstanding job in furthering our Administration’s efforts to foster the growth of renewable energy," said Governor Lingle.

The funds will be awarded to:

  • NELHA Onshore Distribution System: $540,000 will finance the planning, design and construction of additional infrastructure and distribution pipelines that will be added to an existing seawater system. The project will allocate the necessary funds to forecast tenants’ future demand for seawater for aquaculture, micro algae-based products and research, as well as for desalinized deep sea drinking water sourced and bottled at NELHA, which is Hawai‘i’s largest export.

  • NELHA Groundwater Environmental Monitoring Wells: $312,000 will be applied toward the construction of additional groundwater monitoring wells. This latest development will guarantee that the new wells will cover areas of property where recent tenant and business expansion has occurred. It will also expand the possibilities for a future Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power plant.

  • NELHA/HOST Park Road and Utility Distribution System: $400,000 will finance the planning and design phase for utilities to be placed in access roads to undeveloped acres of land south of the main NELHA access road, mauka of the Kona International Airport runway. This funding will run concurrently with $500,000 from the Federal Highway Administration for planning and design of the roadways. The road system is essential to enable the development of new lands at NELHA for ocean and technology related activities, as well as to provide a secondary access roadway for the Kona airport.

  • NELHA/HOST Park Infrastructure: $50,000 will be used to connect two existing 12-inch water mains to complete a system-wide upgrade. This upgrade will allow for greater fire suppression capability in the area.

NELHA has been recognized as the world’s foremost laboratory and test facility for OTEC and OTEC-related research. The facility has been funded by the State of Hawai‘i with significant US Department of Energy and private sector participation.