Kauai News

KIUC receives first delivery of locally produced biodiesel

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From left: Jenna Long, Director of Operations, Pacific Biodiesel Technologies; Brad Rockwell, Chief of Operations, KIUC; Kealii Kahaapea, Supply Chain Supervisor, Pacific Biodiesel Technologies; David Bissell, President and CEO, KIUC; Jeff Garcia, Supervisor, Kapaia Power Station, KIUC; Brooks Braun, Manager, Kapaia Power Station, KIUC. (Photo Courtesy: KIUC)

Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative has received its first delivery of locally produced biodiesel as part of its new fuel supply contract executed last month with Pacific Biodiesel Technologies.

Under the agreement, Pacific Biodiesel Technologies, owner and operator of the biodiesel refinery on Hawai‘i Island, will supply biodiesel for the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative to be used to partially fuel its 27.5 megawatt Kapaia Power Generation Station. The liquid-fuel-fired combined cycle power generation facility is the utility cooperative’s largest generator.

“This biodiesel contract allows KIUC to test the use of biodiesel storage and use at its generating stations while further reducing the use of fossil fuel for electricity generation. In the future, biodiesel may be a critical source of renewable energy as part of KIUC’s accelerated pathway to 100% renewable energy by 2033, which is more than a decade earlier than the State of Hawai‘i’s mandated timeline of 2045,” said President and CEO David Bissell. “We are pleased to source this 100% renewable fuel from Pacific Biodiesel. Supporting local biodiesel production helps ensure greater energy security for our island state.”

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In a press release issued last month, the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative reported it continues to lead the state in renewable power generation: achieving 60.2% renewable for 2022. In addition, the cooperative recorded the lowest electricity rates for all the islands for the past 12 months, attributed to its high percentage of renewables.

Solar contributed 39.8% of the cooperative’s generation in 2022. Other renewables contributing in 2022 were hydro (10.7%) and biomass (9.8%).

“Kaua‘i is a shining example for the world to see that a 100% renewable future is achievable, especially for vulnerable island communities that are on the front lines of the climate crisis,” said Pacific Biodiesel Founder and President Robert King.

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Founded on Maui in 1995, Pacific Biodiesel annually produces more than 5.5 million gallons of premium distilled biodiesel at its refinery on Hawai‘i Island. Biodiesel is produced primarily from used cooking oil that Pacific Biodiesel recycles from restaurants statewide, including those on Kaua‘i. Pacific Biodiesel’s founders are also farming sunflowers and other crops as a feedstock for local biodiesel production and for the production of culinary oils and animal feed, supporting greater energy security and food security in Hawai‘i.

Earlier this year, members of the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative Team team toured the Pacific Biodiesel refinery on Hawai‘i Island.

“We enjoyed showing them our processing plant and the quality of biodiesel that they will be receiving. We are excited to have them as new partners,” said Pacific Biodiesel Director of Operations Jenna Long.

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Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative employs 142 people on Kaua‘i; Pacific Biodiesel has nearly 100 employees statewide, with more than 50 of those employees working at its Kea‘au refinery.

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