Puna Geothermal, owned by Nevada’s Ormat Technologies, was shut down shortly after Kilauea began spewing lava May 3. The plant harnesses heat and steam from the Earth’s core to spin turbines to generate power. A flammable gas called pentane is used as part of the process, though officials earlier this month removed 50,000 gallons of the gas from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions. They also capped the 11 wells at the property to try to prevent a breach.
Lava-filled fissures have torn apart chunks of the southeastern side of the Big Island over the past three weeks as Kilaeau has become more active.
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