Hawaii Energy Lab Receives $3M Grant

June 8, 2012, 12:46 PM HST · Updated June 8, 3:31 PM
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The Gateway Energy Center, above, is a component of the NELHA, which has received a $3 million federal grant. NELHA photo

By Big Island Now Staff

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority has been given a $3 million grant to foster development of alternative energy and biotechnology, Commerce Secretary John Bryson announced earlier this week.

The grant from the Economic Development Administration, an agency under the US Department of Commerce, will help fund the renovation of an existing business incubator located in the technology park into a demonstration facility for alternative energy and biotechnology.

The new facility will provide 10,000 square feet of leasable space in a LEED Silver-certified building for business tenants that have completed the research stage for their products but still need further technology development and demonstration before taking their products to market.

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“Hawaii is at the forefront of clean energy research and development and the projects and initiatives underway in our islands will help lessen Americaʼs dependence on imported oil while diversifying our economy and creating new jobs,” Sen. Daniel Inouye said in announcing the grant.

“By experimenting with biotechnology and alternative energy sources at Keahole Point we can move our nation closer to a time when the majority of our power is generated from clean, sustainable sources,” Inouye said.

According to Bryson, the project is expected to eventually create nearly 1,000 jobs and generate $1 million in private investment.

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority is a state agency that operates an ocean science and technology park at Keahole Point near Kailua-Kona. Its facilities include large pipelines that bring up cold water from 2,000 feet below the ocean’s surface and others drawing warmer water from 45 feet down for use in various forms of aquaculture.

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