LIHU’E (AP) – The last remnant of Kauai’s Lihue Plantation is set to close Friday, and Amfac/JMB’s last 20 employees on the island will be laid off.
Amfac closed both Lihue Plantation and the Kekaha Sugar Company two years ago, ending a century and a half in the sugar business on Kauai.
However, Lihue Plantation’s electricity generating system remained open to fulfill a long-term contract with Kauai Electric Company.
A new gas turbine generator that went into service last summer has negated the need for the plant. Kauai Island Utility Co-op, which recently acquired Kauai Electric, agreed to let the contract with Amfac/JMB expire early.
The plantation’s generating system was powered by bagasse – the material remaining when sugarcane is processed – purchased from Gay & Robinson, the only surviving sugar company on the island and one of only two in Hawaii.
Gay & Robinson has expressed an interest in moving the power plant to its west Kauai mill at Kaumakani and selling the electricity to the Kauai Island Utility Co-op.