FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HU HONUA NAMES JOHN KOMEIJI TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Advisory Committee Composed of Hawaii Business Leaders also Formed
(HONOLULU, April 14, 2016) – Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC announced it has added business leader John Komeiji to its board of directors. Komeiji is the General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Hawaiian Telcom. In addition to strengthening the Hawaii presence on the board, other prominent members of the local business community have agreed to participate on the company’s advisory committee:
- Duane Kurisu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aio LLC
- Dennis Teranishi, President and CEO of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR), the parent nonprofit of Energy Excelerator, an incubator for energy technology startups
Hu Honua has taken the old sugar mill plant in Pepeekeo on Hawaii Island and completely renovated it from the ground up, creating a state-of-the-art bioenergy facility that will convert locally grown biomass into electricity. Hu Honua will provide Hawaii Island residents with a renewable and sustainable source of energy that will reduce the state’s dependence on imported fossil fuels, while creating much-needed local jobs in construction, operations and in supporting industries, including forestry and transportation.
“We want all stakeholders to know that we are committed to being one of the best managed Hawaii-based companies in the energy industry,” said Jennifer M. Johnson, the principal investor in Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC, and Co-President of Franklin Resources, Inc., a global financial services company with $742.6 billion in assets under management. “We are very fortunate to have some of Hawaii’s most accomplished business leaders joining our team, and I believe that speaks to Hu Honua’s capabilities and potential to do great things for the state. We hope to renegotiate our power purchase agreement with Hawaiian Electric Light Company and move forward on creating a cleaner, more sustainable Hawaii together.”
New board member Komeiji said, “I am excited to be part of this project. It will provide a strong boost to the local economy, protect our environment, and give Big Island consumers protection from the volatility of the global oil markets, which, over the years, has made the price of electricity fluctuate unpredictably.”
“Ms. Johnson, along with affiliated investors, has committed an additional $125 million to complete work on the plant. Given her commitment and her experience in managing a global financial institution with a market capitalization of more than $22 billion, I believe Hu Honua is on sound financial footing,” said board member Duane Kurisu. “I am enthusiastic about this project’s future and the benefits it will deliver to Hawaii Island and the Hamakua Coast where I grew up.”
“With close to three million tons of standing timber available and more than 30,000 acres already under cultivation, there is already enough feedstock to fuel our plant in perpetuity. Gaining access to sufficient feedstock is not a concern for this project,” said Johnson.
To date, more than $135 million of work has been accomplished at the Hu Honua facility, with the project now approximately 50 percent complete. The plant can be operational in 2017 if work can resume in the near future. This will be good news for the East Hawaii economy, with the project anticipated to provide more than 200 local construction jobs, and once completed, the plant will employ 30 workers to operate it. More than 150 jobs will also be generated in forestry and ancillary services.
About Hu Honua
Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC is located in Pepeekeo on the Hamakua Coast of the island of Hawaii. When completed, the Hu Honua facility will be able to produce up to 30-megawatts (MW) of clean renewable baseload power, which means the plant can deliver power for grid stability 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When operating at capacity, Hu Honua will be able to produce 14 percent of Hawaii Island’s electricity needs and displace approximately 250,000 barrels of oil per year. With delivered prices of diesel fuel currently at $80 a barrel, that amounts to $20 million dollars that will not leave the state to purchase foreign oil but can be plowed back into the local economy. Hu Honua will generate base-load power, modernize the HELCO grid and increase system reliability. Hu Honua will also mark a significant step in improving air quality, reducing our carbon footprint and meeting the state’s commitment to producing 100 percent of Hawaii’s electrical power needs from renewable energy by 2045.
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