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Boiler leak caused issues at Waiau plant, power problem remains unsolved

Boiler leak caused issues at Waiau plant, power problem remains unsolved

One power generator on Oahu is fixed but another is still out of service.

This comes a day after Oahu residents were asked to conserve electricity.

Hawaiian Electric asked customers to conserve power Monday night because of problems at Kalaeloa and Waiau power plants.

With demand for electricity up and two major generators down, HECO
went into conservation mode. By mid-evening, crews fixed one of the

“There was a leak in the component in one of the boilers so we needed
to make sure that was corrected before we could bring it back into
service,” said HECO spokesman Darren Pai.

Pai said the problem was discovered at Waiau this past weekend during scheduled maintenance.

The all-clear was given to customers despite Kalaeloa not being
fixed. Officials say there’s an issue with the connection between the
power plant and the electrical grid. Crews are still trying to figure
out how to fix that problem.

“Are you surprised by what happened last night?” KHON2 asked.

“Unfortunately, we’re not surprised,” said Jeff Mikulina, executive
director of Blue Planet Foundation. “Things like this happen. We have
large fossil fuel power plants and they’re prone to failure.”

Mikulina says it’s all about building a smarter system that doesn’t rely on fossil fuel.

HECO officials say they’re trying to improve their energy storage to prevent these types of situations in the future.

“Energy storage can be a number of different technologies, batteries
or some other technologies, essentially what they do is store energy to
be used at a later time,” Pai said.

But these types of projects won’t be in service for another three
years. HECO is also looking at time-table pricing, basically charging
different rates for different times of the day.

While Mikulina believes these are all good plans, he says these efforts should have already been put into place.

“Hawaii should be the leader in clean energy. We’re already a little
bit behind the time. We can accelerate this, transform the grid, add
energy storage,” Mikulina said.

As for the Kalaeloa power plant, it continues to operate at about
half of its maximum output. HECO did not know when the problem would be


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