Schofield Power Plant could be Oahu’s electrical lifeline during a disaster
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Deep in the heart of the Schofield Barrack military base, the Schofield Generating Station produces power for the Hawaiian Electric grid and is ready in the event of a disaster.
It is the innermost power plant of HECO.
âOur other power plants Waiau, Kahe and Campbell Park are all prone to tsunami or extreme tsunami floods. This power plant is the only power plant that is well above sea level, âsaid Michael DeCaprio, Director of Generation at HECO.
The $ 148 million facility was built through a public-private partnership between HECO and the Army.
It passed a pivotal test last month when HECO passed out Schofield, Wheeler Army Airfield and Field Station Kunia. Within six minutes, the station switched on to power it up.
“For us, this demonstrated the concept that in the event of a hurricane or disaster, we can quickly get energy and the installation back on stream,” said Col. Dan Misigoy, Commander of the US Army Garrison Hawaii.
This is important because during a major disaster, Wheeler could have the island’s only operational runway to bring in supplies and serve as a staging area for FEMA.
The 50-megawatt power plant stands on eight hectares that HECO has leased from the army. It has been feeding electricity into HECO’s power grid for three years.
âOne of the key advantages of the facility is that it has properties that allow us to integrate more renewable energies,â said DeCaprio.
In 2006 Army Garrison Hawai developed the concept for the power plant.
âAll the strength had to go up the hill, up the mountain, and then come out to us. So we thought a wireless solution would be to build a power plant directly on the base, âsaid Keith Yamanaka, Energy Manager for Army Garrison Hawaii.
The biodiesel station has several generating units. During an island-wide failure, it can help to start the other HECO power plants.
The Schofield Generating Station is now an example that other Department of Defense facilities can follow to provide power when the grids go dark.