Blackout not expected in Hawaii even if lava reaches power plant, officials say

Officials in Hawaii said power customers shouldn't worry about a blackout.

May 23, 2018, 5:57 AM

The Puna Geothermal Venture in Hawaii is secure, and if lava did encroach on it the danger of a toxic gas release is "very low," authorities said.

Hawaii Electric Light officials also confirmed to ABC News on Wednesday that even if lava destroyed the power plant, there's no danger of a blackout because it was taken offline after Kilauea began erupting on May 3.

Older, diesel-powered plants have been brought online to provide electricity, Jim Kelly, a spokesman for HEL, told ABC News.

PHOTO: A lava fountain erupts at night along a recent lava flow from a Kilauea volcano fissure on Hawaii's Big Island, May 22, 2018, in Kapoho, Hawaii.
A lava fountain erupts at night along a recent lava flow from a Kilauea volcano fissure on Hawaii's Big Island, May 22, 2018, in Kapoho, Hawaii.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Tom Travis said "the well field is as safe as we can get the well field."

"The probability of anything happening if the lava enters the well field is very, very low," he added. The public "should feel pretty comfortable that there should be no untoward events from Puna Geothermal Venture. Assuming that the lava doesn't change its pattern or its flow. Each time it changes we have to re-evaluate and look at other issues."

PHOTO: Lava erupts from a Kilauea volcano fissure on Hawaii's Big Island, May 22, 2018 in Kapoho, Hawaii.
Lava erupts from a Kilauea volcano fissure on Hawaii's Big Island, May 22, 2018 in Kapoho, Hawaii.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
PHOTO: The fissure complex remains active in Kilauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone, Hawaii, May 22, 2018.
The fissure complex remains active in Kilauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone, Hawaii, May 22, 2018.
ZUMA Press via Newscom

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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