Is Geothermal Fracking Good For Hawaii?

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Wikepedia defines Hydraulic Fracturing or “Fracking” as follows:

Hydraulic fracturing is the fracturing of rock by a pressurized liquid.

Although Fracking is a technique used most often for extraction of natural gas, it is also used in geothermal energy extraction.  There are differing opinions on whether the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) Plant in Puna, Hawaii is fracking today.

Hawaiian Electric Light Company (HELCO) is soliciting proposals now to increase the geothermal power output in Hawaii County from 38MW to 88MW.  Several of the companies involved in the bid do utilize Enhanced Geothermal Systems which includes techniques to fracture and permeate the rocks.

Is Geothermal Fracking good for Hawaii?   While many connected to the geothermal industry believe it is, and many others distance geothermal from fracking all together, there is growing evidence that both the drilling and the injection of cold water into hot rocks used in geothermal energy plants does fracture the rocks, which can induce earthquakes and through contamination of the atmosphere and water tables can affect our health and safety.

There have been at least three studies released in 2013 that confirm the correlation between fracking and induced earthquakes.  Details and links to these studies are included on the pages above.

On November 6, 2013 the Big Island of Hawaii enacted Ordinance 13-115 to ban Fracking in Hawaii County.  There are however, no similar restrictions state-wide.  If you would like to support a statewide ban on Fracking, please sign the petition at the link below:

To sign the petition please CLICK HERE

Petition Background:  We are proposing that Hawaii officially ban Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) within the state and coastal waters, and Hawaii only purchase Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) from companies who guarantee the LNG was not obtained from Fracking.
PART ONE:  Fracking  can harm our health and environment and create unnecessary risk to the citizens of Hawaii. PROPOSED SOLUTION ONE:  Prohibit Fracking  within Hawaii and its coastal waters, including any expansion of Geothermal Fracking.
PART TWO:  (Part Two is not included in the current bills, Part One is the immediate need.)  Increased use of Liquified  Natural Gas within Hawaii promotes and rewards Fracking in the mainland, it will very likely increase Hawaii energy costs when the gas  price is increased, (as expected), and it will delay the Hawaii conversion to renewable energy and independence from fossil fuels. PROPOSED SOLUTION TWO:  Either convert Hawaii’s energy sources directly to wind and solar energy, and/or provide strict limitations on the purchase of natural gas.   These limitations should guarantee natural gas imported to Hawaii is obtained from non-Fracking sources and the price is no higher than the market price for all natural gas.


Geothermal Fracking on the Big Island

August 7, 2014 Incident at PGV – Hydrogen Sulfide released into the neighborhood

PGV response to incident of August 7, 2014

PGV Plant cited for 14 EPA violations

The similarity between geothermal and oil and gas fracking risks.

The above link provides an analysis of the litigation risk of both geothermal and oil/gas fracking.  Following is the summation of this legal opinion by Wiley Rein, LLP:

“In sum, due to the similarity of the basic fracking process utilized by both natural gas and geothermal companies, the likelihood for comparable claims and lawsuits being asserted against these industries is high, most notably with respect to claims arising out of earthquake damage and well blowouts. While both natural gas and geothermal companies alike face the potential for pollution claims, the kinds of allegations asserted may differ, at least in so far as geothermal companies reportedly rely more on saltwater injection and less on chemical additives in their fracking operations than natural gas companies.”

Based on the fragile nature of our Aina, it is crucial we ban Hydraulic Fracturing in Hawaii, just as  the other 406 city, county and state governments have done throughout the US.

Additional references and examples why geothermal fracking should be banned in Hawaii:

Geothermal Plant shut down due to induced earthquakes in Basil, Switzerland

Geothermal Plant shut down in California due to induced earthquakes.

Ormat Geothermal Plant shut down due to volcano activity in Guatemala

Geothermal fracking and induced earthquakes.

Water on fire???  Can Natural Gas Fracking really make this happen?  It can and it does.

Watch an interview with Josh Fox on the documentary movie Gasland II.

Puna Pono Alliance – Leading the effort for the citizens of the Big Island and Hawaii


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