Clean, cool and green, is how the company is selling the new technology. Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning plans to take deep ocean water through pipes that will chill the city's downtown high rises.
The plan calls for driving about 100 piles about a quarter to a half mile offshore.
"The piles are intended to secure the pipes to the floor, and it’s in a surf zone where the pipe is subject to movement," said Seawater Air Conditioning CEO Eric Masutomi.
The activity may cause vibrations which could affect marine life, like dolphins and whales.
The National Marine Fisheries Service issued a permit to cover the inadvertent taking or harassment of marine mammals. The permit runs through next year, but the company will not start any ocean work until after peak whale watching season.
The company will be required to have marine mammal scientists on board to monitor the impact on a number of species.
Masutomi said the project's Environmental Impact Statement is expected next month, as is a decision from the State Health Department to begin the ocean work.
So far, the company has contracts to cool four downtown businesses.
The Hawaiian Electric Company is one of the early signers, along with First Hawaiian Bank.
Two other major players are in the mix: Finance Factors on one end of Bishop Street and Waterfront towers on the other end of Kakaako.
The company is looking to serve 40 clients and is in the process of converting letters of intent into hard contracts.
"We are well on our way and we hope we will get the bulk of them by the end of the year. Once we get that, then we are assured we have enough customers to actually begin construction," said Masutomi.
Most of the work will involve micro tunneling below city streets in the Bishop Street corridor.
The only above ground structure will be a cooling tower planned for a lot located just behind the Gold Bond building.
Now that all its contractors are in place, the company is also planning on alternate downtown routes because of the city’s rail project.