Boiler Leak Shuts HI Power Plant

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 @ 04:09 PM gHale

A leak in a boiler component forced Ohau, Hawaii, residents to go into electricity conservation mode after two power generators went out of service.

While one power generator is now working, another remains out of service.

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Hawaiian Electric (HECO) asked customers to conserve power last Monday night because of problems at Kalaeloa and Waiau power plants.

With demand for electricity up and two major generators down, HECO went into conservation mode. By mid-evening, crews fixed one of the problems.

“There was a leak in the component in one of the boilers so we needed to make sure that was corrected before we could bring it back into service,” said HECO spokesman Darren Pai.

Pai said workers found the problem at Waiau this past weekend during scheduled maintenance. After fixing the problem, the all-clear went out to customers despite Kalaeloa not up and running. Officials said in that case there’s an issue with the connection between the power plant and the electrical grid. Crews are still trying to figure out how to fix that problem.

HECO officials said they’re trying to improve their energy storage to prevent these types of situations in the future.

“Energy storage can be a number of different technologies, batteries or some other technologies, essentially what they do is store energy to be used at a later time,” Pai said.

But these types of projects won’t be in service for another three years. HECO is also looking at time-table pricing, basically charging different rates for different times of the day.

As for the Kalaeloa power plant, it continues to operate at about half of its maximum output. HECO did not know when the problem would end up fixed.

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