The U.S. Army has issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare a joint Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed lease of Army land at Schofield Barracks to the Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., for the construction and operation on that land of a 50-megawatt (MW) biofuel-capable power generation plant. The EIS is designed to meet the requirements of both the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act (HEPA), as a matter of efficiency and cooperation with the state’s decision-making process. The Army and the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), will use the analysis in the EIS to determine the potential effects of implementing the proposed action and alternatives. The Army also intends to integrate this NEPA process with the consultation and public participation requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
The proposed action, referred to as the Schofield Generating Station Project (SGSP), consists of the following:
- The Army’s lease of 10.3 acres of land, and the related granting of a 2.5 acre interconnection easement, on Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Airfield to Hawaiian Electric.
- DLNR’s granting of a 1.2-acre easement and a 0.7-acre Conservation District authorization allowing for the construction of a 46-kV electrical power transmission line between the SGSP site and Hawaiian Electric’s existing Wahiawa substation.
- Hawaiian Electric’s construction, ownership, operation and maintenance of a 50-MW capacity biofuel-capable power generation plant and 46 kilovolt sub-transmission line required to connect the SGS plant to the Hawaiian Electric grid. Hawaiian Electric would be the sole owner of the plant and the electrical power transmission facilities.
The purpose of the proposed action is to meet the common needs of the Army and Hawaiian Electric for secure, reliable and renewable power generation.
The project is needed to provide Hawaiian Electric with a quick-starting facility to help maintain grid stability. Its location away from the shoreline will help it contribute to grid reliability and continuity in the event of a tsunami or other natural disaster. Locating the facility within a secured military installation also provides for greater physical security, which contributes to continuity of operation in case of a man-made threat. The project will also help Hawaiian Electric make progress toward the state of Hawaii’s Renewable Portfolio Standards.
For the Army, the project would be a source of renewable power that would enhance energy security for Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Army Airfield and Field Station Kunia if loss of service occurs from the normal sources of electricity supporting these installations. It would also help achieve the Army goals of producing renewable energy on Army-owned real property.
Additional project information can also be found at the Energy Initiatives Task Force website.