A cattle ranching company in Hawaii, Parker Ranch Inc., said Jan. 16 that the Parker Ranch Foundation Trust has entered into an agreement with an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources LLC that provides NextEra with long-term access rights to PRFT lands to develop wind energy.
"We have been aggressively seeking ways to reduce the cost of electricity for our community and our island by using the potential renewable energy resources available on PRFT's Hawaii Island lands," said Neil "Dutch" Kuyper, President and CEO of Parker Ranch. "During this time, we have also been seeking capital and technical expertise from potential development partners. We have been working collaboratively with NextEra Energy Resources for more than a year and believe that they are the ideal partner to use PRFT's wind resources."
According to GenerationHub, in 2013, Parker Ranch commenced a utility-grade integrated resource planning effort with assistance from Siemens, Booz Allen Hamilton and Pace Global to evaluate alternative energy strategies for Parker Ranch and the surrounding communities of Waimea and North Kohala as well as the Island of Hawaii.
"Our work with Siemens identified several valuable scenarios using PRFT's wind resources, combined with storage, that could drive down electricity rates and cut our excessive vulnerability to volatile imported oil prices," said Kuyper. "Reducing Hawaii Island electricity rates, slashing our reliance on imported oil and decreasing carbon emissions are all important to us because the cost of energy is tied to everything we do."
Through its Paniolo Power Co. unit, Parker Ranch said it is continuing to evaluate the merits of pumped-storage hydro and the economics of utility-scale battery solutions in the generation mix.
PRFT and Parker Ranch have recently completed comprehensive strategic planning efforts and each has decided to elevate the pursuit of renewable energy-related opportunities to be one of their highest strategic priorities.
Parker Ranch was established in 1847 and remains one of the largest and oldest cattle ranches in the United States. In 1992, following the death of sixth generation Parker descendant Richard Palmer Kaleioku Smart, it became owned by the charitable Parker Ranch Foundation Trust. Parker Ranch Inc., established in 1995 and wholly-owned by PRFT, continues cattle ranching and is proactively leveraging its and the trust's extensive land and natural resources to support the trust's beneficiaries, achieve a secure energy future, expand the sustainability of local food systems, and facilitate the general betterment of the Waimea area.
Paniolo Power was established in April 2014 to pursue community-based and reasonably priced clean energy for the Waimea and Kohala communities as well as for Hawaii Island.