Gay & Robinson, Pacific West Energy Will Develop Hawaii’s First Ethanol Plant
Gay & Robinson Inc. and Pacific West Energy LLC announced today a partnership to develop the first fuel ethanol plant in America to create renewable power and clean-burning ethanol fuel from sugarcane. The new 12-million-gallon-per-annum plant will use sugar juice and molasses as feedstock.
The newly created partnership, Gay & Robinson Ag-Energy LLC, will also ensure the continuation of the Gay & Robinson agricultural enterprise, one of the oldest in Hawaii. Approximately 230 jobs will be preserved, and a large area of West Kauai will be maintained in sustainable agriculture.
The initial $80 million phase of capital investment will include installation of a new biomass boiler and turbine generator to efficiently produce renewable electricity. Design and engineering work has begun, and an air permit for the ethanol plant has been secured. Future business plans call for additional stages of energy production, including biodiesel production, a methane recovery system, the processing of municipal solid waste, hydro power, the conversion of biomass into liquid fuels and solar energy production.
“We’re excited to partner with Pacific West Energy and begin transforming G&R from a commodity raw sugar producer to a provider of renewable and alternative energy for Kauai and Hawaii,” said Alan Kennett, President of Gay & Robinson.
By generating electricity and ethanol from renewable feedstock, the business will help lower Hawaii’s extremely high energy costs. In addition, new investment will be made to expand sugar cane cultivation and employ new cultivation and harvest techniques that will maximize biomass and reduce the burning of sugarcane wherever possible.
“We are grateful to the Robinson family for partnering with us as we seek creative solutions to Hawaii’s energy needs,” said William Maloney, President of Pacific West Energy, LLC. “G&R enjoys some of the highest sugarcane yields in the world, with abundant sunshine and water resources. These factors, coupled with a highly productive work force, new capital and an experienced and innovative management team, will make G&R and Kauai a shining example to the world of sustainable economic development.”
Concurrent with the partnership transaction, Pacific West completed an equity funding round led by Officers Row Capital LLC, a venture capital firm based in Vancouver, WA, specializing in energy and telecommunication. Richard Keller, President of Officers Row, will become Chairman of Pacific West, with Mr. Maloney serving as President.
About Gay & Robinson Ag-Energy LLC
Gay & Robinson Ag-Energy LLC is a partnership between Gay & Robinson Inc., one of Hawaii’s oldest businesses, and Pacific West Energy to develop an integrated, renewable energy facility in Kauai, featuring the state’s first ethanol plant.