Energy

Support for Independent Electricity

Friday, April 17th, 2015

IAM News Release

I Aloha Molokai (IAM) applauds and heartily supports Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa’s decision to explore the creation of an independent electric utility for the islands of Maui County.

As we understand it, the Mayor’s proposal would involve purchasing MECO and creating either public utilities or co-ops similar to KIUC on Kauai. IAM would be happy to assist with this effort in any way we can.

IAM has followed the melodramatic negotiations between the HECO companies and Florida-based energy giant NextEra with increasing concern. We share the Mayor’s skepticism as to just exactly how this buy-out would benefit Hawaii ratepayers.…

Molokai Weighs In On NextEra Merger

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Representatives of NextEra, the Florida-based energy company proposing a merger with Hawaiian Electric, visited Molokai last week with plans to hold an open house to meet residents and answer questions. Concerned community members, however, had other plans.

Standing in a circle amid NextEra’s large, colorful posters and blue-shirted staff, local attendees requested a meeting format in which all their answers could be answered at once and heard by all.

“We want to know what is going on, as a group – that’s Molokai style,” said local activist Walter Ritte.

NextEra officials, joined by Maui Electric representatives, obliged.  With no seating planned for the open house format, everyone stood for the next three hours and discussed the merger and its implications for Hawaii’s energy future.…

Solar Applications in Limbo

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Solar Applications in Limbo

Sixty-five applications for rooftop solar on Molokai currently remain in limbo at the hands of Maui Electric Company (MECO), according to company Communications Director Kau`i Awai-Dickson.

Most rooftop solar panels in the state are installed under a program called Net Energy Metering (NEM), which pays customers the retail electric rate for excess energy generated from their panels.

At 51 percent, Molokai has the highest percentage in Hawaii of rooftop solar compared to the island’s peak demand.

“Hawaii leads the nation as far as rooftop [solar], and Molokai leads the state,” said Mat McNeff, MECO manager of engineering, at a meeting on Molokai last month.…

NextEra Energy Open House

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric News Release

The public is invited to provide input, learn more about NextEra and how the proposed merger with Hawaiian Electric Industries will advance a more affordable clean energy future for Hawaii. The companies will be hosting a series of 13 open house informational meetings across Hawaii to introduce residents to NextEra Energy and the benefits of the companies’ pending merger as well as to provide members of the public with the opportunity to provide input directly to company officials.

On Molokai, the open house will take place on April 9 at Kaunakakai School Cafeteria from 5 to 8 p.m.…

Bright Ideas for Saving Energy

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Community Contributed

By Maya Lima and Gaby Miguel, Kilohana sixth graders

Did you know that you can save a lot of energy and money by simply flicking off a light?   On Feb. 18, Kilohana School held an Energy Expo for their school community.   At the expo, Kilohana’s fifth and sixth graders gave presentations on how to save energy and money at home.  Parents and students walked from station to station to learn about energy conservation.

One of the student presenters, Gabrielle Miguel told audience members, “One cool way to save energy is to wash your clothes with cold water and buy Energy Star appliances.”  According to Miguel, washing clothes in cold water can save a family more than $63 a year.…

Proposed Solar Program Changes

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Proposed Solar Program Changes

Molokai has the highest percentage of renewable energy compared to total electric usage of any island at 51 percent, according to Maui Electric Company (MECO). With that high percentage, however, comes challenges for the island’s small electric grid – as well as unfair prices for customers without solar, claims MECO. The company is proposing changes that would temporarily halt the installation of rooftop solar on Molokai – and many customers and local solar companies aren’t happy about it.

In a program called Net Metering Program (NEM), customers with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are paid by the utility company for excess energy the panels generate at retail rate.…

Ikehu Molokai Energy Update

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Ikehu Molokai News Release

Aloha and Happy New Year!  We want to express our gratitude to the entire community for welcoming us in the past with great warmth and hospitality, and engaging as partners in planning for the Ikehu Molokai renewable energy project.  Our vision for the project reflects those sentiments and values embraced by residents and expressed at many community meetings for a healthy, sustainable, and energy independent island. Success of the Ikehu Molokai project will only be accomplished as a long term collaboration between community groups, residents, and the Ikehu Molokai planning team.

As you know, the Ikehu Molokai project has been proposed to convert the island’s electricity to renewable energy.  …

Learning Tech Together

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Learning Tech Together

Sixth graders build solar-powered cars in class during the Tech Together program. Photos by Bianca Moragne.

Huddled outside in the hot sun, Kaunakakai Elementary sixth grade students raced solar-powered toy cars that they built in the classroom as part of the two-week Tech Together: Ka Ulu Ana Program.

Tech Together is a 10-day in-class program that delivers science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, to sixth grade students statewide through stimulation and interactive activities. Three Molokai schools, Kaunakakai, Kualapu`u and Kilohana, participated in the program this year with a curriculum focused on renewable and non-renewable energy technology, sustainability and the correlation between Hawaii culture and energy needs, said Vaito`i Tuala, Trainer Two, or lead classroom instructor, when she visited Molokai two weeks ago.…

Electric Co. Proposes Demand Response Program

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Hawaiian Electric News Release

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are proposing a portfolio of programs to provide customers more options for saving on their electric bills while supporting the adoption of more clean energy, reducing the use of more expensive fossil-fueled generation and relieving stress on the electric grid.

The programs are outlined in the utilities’ Integrated Demand Response Portfolio Plan filed with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) recently.

The plan lays out new and enhanced “demand response” programs for residential, commercial, industrial and water pumping customers. Under the programs, customers receive financial incentives for shifting energy use to certain times of the day or voluntarily allowing the output of certain appliances or equipment to be adjusted if necessary to help maintain reliable service for our island grids.…

Hikiola Goes Solar

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Hikiola Goes Solar

ProVision Solar News Release

The Hikiola Cooperative in Ho`olehua has installed a 12-kilowatt grid-connected solar array that will provide almost all of the power needed to run the coop.  First organized in 1976 as a farm supply and marketing cooperative, Hikiola shifted to making supplies available to both farmer-members and the greater community.  Paying one of the highest rates for electricity in the nation (52 cents/kilowatt-hour this month), small businesses on Molokai have more than ample incentive to go solar electric.

“We are thrilled with the installation of the PV system,” said the Coop’s long-time manager Tina Tamanaha. “The use of alternative energy is a positive step in our mission to lower the cost of supplies for our agri-business patrons.”

Marco Mangelsdorf, President of ProVision Solar, and the installer of the Net Energy Metered photovoltaic system, noted that “with the abundant sunshine on this part of the island, the system should really crank out the solar kWhs. …