Draft Environmental Assessment for West Kauaʻi Energy Project Published for Review and Comment
Puʻu ʻŌpae Reservoir during sugar operations

Puʻu ʻŌpae Reservoir during sugar operations

Intake gate at Kawaikōī Diversion in Kōkeʻe

Līhu‘e, Kaua‘i, HI – 08/23/2021 – A draft environmental assessment (EA) in support of Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative’s West Kauaʻi Energy Project (WKEP) was published today by the State of Hawaiʻi Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC). The public will have 30 days from the date of publication to comment on the document.

“This is an important milestone for the project,” stated KIUC’s President and Chief Executive Officer, David Bissell. “We hope members of the public and other interested parties will take the time to review the document and provide comments by the deadline of September 22.”

The West Kauaʻi Energy Project; an innovative pumped-storage hydro and irrigation project coupled with solar and battery storage being undertaken by KIUC and its renewable energy partner, AES. In addition to providing up to 25% of Kauai’s power supply and bringing KIUC to more than 80% renewable generation, the project will create economic development and agricultural opportunities for Native Hawaiians and the west side communities of Waimea and Kekaha by delivering irrigation water to lands owned by the Department of Hawaiian Homelands and the Agribusiness Development Corporation.

The 1,500-page draft EA includes cultural, archaeological, flora and fauna and socio-economic studies as well as a stream habitat assessment and hydrology analyses; all of which have been ongoing since 2018. “Environmental compliance is a critical step in the development process,” said Bissell. “We believe this document is comprehensive, and look forward to receiving public input.”

The document can be accessed on the OEQC website, https://health.hawaii.gov/oeqc/, in the latest edition of “The Environmental Notice.” The document may also be found on the project website, www.westkauaienergyproject.com, where it can be downloaded or viewed in searchable format, with links to appendices and an email form for submitting comments.