Waiau Repower - Community Outreach
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Who we are
Founded in 1891, Hawaiian Electric is one of the oldest companies and largest employers in Hawaii. It is the company’s kuleana, responsibility, to work closely with communities to keep them informed about our activities and to understand the impact our operations may have on residents and businesses.
We have long recognized the value of building trust through early and meaningful engagement and communications. In this collaborative process, we strive to remain flexible and continually learn and adapt according to the needs and preferences of the community. We respect different perspectives and ideas and are committed to embracing the environmental and cultural values of Hawaii in our ongoing efforts to ensure a better outcome for all involved.
Gaining support for the proposed repowering of Waiau Power Plant is critical to the success of the project. Of more importance, our outreach efforts are intended to build long-term trust and create lasting value in the community.
The purpose of this community outreach plan is to demonstrate the company’s commitment to engage early and often with key stakeholders, to keep them informed about the proposed project concept and, if selected, continue updates throughout the project development, construction and operations. We intend to address any concerns early, and as appropriate, incorporate changes into the project design, where possible.
It should also be noted that this community outreach / engagement plan and the community benefits package are iterative, living documents that will be updated as community stakeholders change, and community needs and priorities evolve over the years. The importance of remaining flexible and adaptable reflects our intent to develop and implement a plan that is relevant to affected stakeholders over the life of the project.
The project is described in simple, laymen’s terms with maps and images that describe the project location, need for firm generation resources on Oahu and how the project will meet the required needs. During early engagement efforts, the below items were shared with identified community members and can be found in the detailed community outreach plan:
- Stakeholder invitation to initial sharing session on March 7, 2023 (Appendix A)
- Project fact sheet (Appendix B)
- Project email to key elected officials (Appendix C)
- March 7, 2023, presentation slides (Appendix D)
- May 18, 2023, news release “Hawaiian Electric proposes to repower Waiau Power Plant” (Appendix L)
Hawaiian Electric’s multi-faceted approach to community scoping initially engaged key community leaders in the Pearl City zip code based on the census data and population characteristics associated with the project location. With broader understanding of community sentiments and issues through ongoing community outreach, Hawaiian Electric intends to expand community involvement as leaders retire or need to address other priorities, and as other leaders emerge including youth leaders, environmental, cultural and faith-based members, etc.
Additionally, Hawaiian Electric began developing a Framework for the Community Benefits Package, including identifying individuals in the community from diverse backgrounds representing societal, cultural and environmental interests who can speak to the needs and concerns of the community. The framework also will seek consensus approval of the host community that should be eligible to receive community benefits. And, with community input, the framework will evaluate what community projects, initiatives, and programs should be supported by the community benefits.
Community Advisory Group
Individuals who participated in an initial sharing session were invited to serve on a Community Advisory Group, which will help guide the development of the framework, the final Community Benefits Package and annual disbursements. The advisory group, comprised of key community leaders and stakeholders, will help inform and oversee the development of the Community Benefits Package and ensure that it’s robust, thoughtful and meaningful. The group will expand to include additional stakeholders as they are identified. The role is not permanent, allowing members to withdraw if other priorities or demands require their attention.
From March 7, 2023, to August 9, 2023, Hawaiian Electric’s early community outreach efforts was extensive over the six-month period and exceeded 50 hours by the outreach team to host sharing sessions with Pearl City area community members. The informal format – which included a presentation about the project, community benefits, as well as Q&A facilitated by our community consultant – allowed open, candid and transparent dialogue between community leaders and company representatives.
Additional communication touchpoints with key stakeholders including elected officials and interested community members from West Oahu, also occurred:
- Feb. 22, 2023 - Introduction to Waiau Repower project and invitation to community leaders to participate in a sharing session on March 7, 2023.
- March 6, 2023 - Information sharing via email with elected officials in Pearl City
- March 7, 2023 - Presentation and Q&A with key community leaders at Momilani Community Center
- March 13, 2023 - Information sharing via email with West Oahu / Kalaeloa Clean Energy Ohana
- March 27, 2023 - Information sharing via email to Pearl City community leaders re: formation of a Community Advisory Group
- April 14, 2023 - Update to Community Advisory Group re: bid submittal and planning for an info sharing session with West Oahu leader Cynthia Rezentes
- May 1, 2023 - Invitation extended to May 30 sharing session with Cynthia Rezentes
- May 18, 2023 - News release “Hawaiian Electric proposes to repower Waiau Power Plant” shared with Community Advisory Group, elected officials and key stakeholders
- May 30, 2023 - In-person sharing session with guest Cynthia Rezentes, at Pearl City Public Library
- June 1, 2023 - Recap of sharing session with Cynthia Rezentes provided to Community Advisory Group, including attendees and non-attendees, and invitation to participate in a tour of Waiau Power Plant
- June 30, 2023 - Waiau Power Plant tour, including presentation and Q&A with Community Advisory Group
- July 3, 2023 - Clarification to Pearl City Neighborhood Board members about their representation as individual community members on the Community Advisory Group
- Aug. 9, 2023 - Presentation and Q&A with the Pearl City Lions Club
Due to the Aug. 8, 2023, windstorm and wildfires on Maui, Hawaiian Electric’s RFP Team responded to the Public Utilities Commission inquiry on Sept. 14, 2023, for a status update and any modifications needed to the Stage 3 competitive bidding procurement. On Sept. 19, 2023, the company respectfully requested an extension for the announcement of the Final Award to Dec. 1, 2023. An update was sent to stakeholders upon the PUC decision to extend the final awards selections.
Community Benefits Package
To achieve maximum benefits for the community, Hawaiian Electric commits $3,000 per megawatt per year allocated to the Community Benefits Package for the Waiau Repower project. Due to the length of time before the potential in-service date of the proposed project, roughly 6-10 years ahead, it’s anticipated that the needs and priorities of the community may change. Therefore, the community benefits package is meant to be adaptable and flexible.
Stakeholders have expressed a strong desire to support youth and students, and to involve them in discussions about community benefits. Additionally, stakeholders want to support climate resilience and improve community infrastructure to ensure the area can withstand more disruptive storms and flooding. Hawaiian Electric also has considered other potential benefits, from air quality monitoring to addressing the impacts of homelessness in the area.
Stakeholders also have the option to consider a third-party administrator – such as a 501(c)3 nonprofit foundation – to disburse community benefits with approval from the Community Advisory Group. Full details can be found in the Community Outreach and Engagement Plan.
Hawaiian Electric also is committed to hiring local labor to the extent that the skills and expertise needed for the project can be obtained here in the state. Additionally, the company intends to pay wages and benefits appropriate to the skilled trade needed to construct and install the project.
Local Community Opposition or Support
To date, community leaders, elected officials and other stakeholders have expressed interest in the proposed Waiau Repower project. There has been no formal opposition to the project at this time. Due to the nature of competitive bidding, all stakeholders were informed that more details will be shared after the Final Awards announcement.
Our first community-wide meeting will be held on January 16, 2024 at which time further details of the project will be announced and community feedback sought during the 30-day public comment period. Additionally, an email address will be maintained throughout the life of the project to ensure ongoing communications with the community.
Ongoing Community Outreach
Interested stakeholders can be included on an email list that will provide updates on the status of the project, any construction-related news, and requests for presentations by the community outreach team. Visit our Contact Form page to sign up.
Please refer to the Community Outreach and Engagement Plan for the full Communications Plan and Community Outreach Schedule.
Keep Me Connected
To stay connected on the latest news and updates about the Waiau Repower project, please join our email list. By joining this group, you’ll be among the first to get project status updates and notices about future community meetings.