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 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. …
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.…
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.…
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. …
By Barbara Haliniak
I am not a renewable energy expert. But I do know that when you want to be successful in executing an island plan, make sure you get the community involved in the planning stages. Otherwise you will probably run across many challenges that could have been prevented by not being inclusive. This column is not to debate renewable energy for our island, but to speak loudly on the exclusion of important information regarding projects that will affect all households prior to community meetings or introduction of legislative bills.
This legislative session, House Bill 1942, “Authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds to assist Princeton Energy Group or Princeton Energy Group’s related entity, Ikehu Molokai LLC, with financing and refinancing costs relating to the planning, design, and construction of a renewable energy project with energy storage technology on the island of Molokai.” The special purpose revenue bonds totaled $50 million; the ACT has an effective date of July 1, 2014 and lapse date of June 30, 2019. …
Sust`aina ble Molokai News Release
Sust` aina ble Molokai has published the second piece in our Molokai-pedia project the Molokai Energy assessment. This assessment follows Agricultural Needs Assessment that helped to inform the needs in the community for food security and farmer economic security.
Due to the information gathered, we are able to pursue the development of a Molokai Food hub that will be able to help local farmers gain access to local markets on island, help our students by gaining access to local food through the cafeteria and eventually establishing off island markets for our farmers long term economic security.…
By Emillia Noordhoek
Editor’s Note: Emillia Noordhoek, executive director of Sust`ainable Molokai, traveled to Europe to attend the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year. This is the third in a three-part series about the Panel’s conclusions and how global climate change will affect Molokai and the world.
Samso is an island off the coast of Denmark in the Baltic Sea that is 16 miles long by four miles wide, with a total area of 44 square miles. The island’s electricity is powered 100 percent by renewable energy and they are connected to the mainland by a cable to sell the over-production to the rest of the grid.…
State and federal energy officials got a clear message from Molokai residents who voiced their continued opposition to a potential undersea transmission cable in Hawaii that would transport energy interisland.
“I’m totally pro-renewable energy which is why I’m very concerned and upset by this document,” said Molokai resident and energy expert Mike Bond, referring to the Hawaii Clean Energy Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). “The one thing that concerns me the most is the tacit acceptance of the undersea cable… I think the cable is a disaster — it’s hyper-costly, and in my view, a political, corporate scam.”
The PEIS is a 1,000-page-plus document that analyzes potential environmental impacts associated with a wide variety of clean energy technologies and activities across the state.…
At Molokai’s Maui Electric Pala`au Power Plant, there’s a room filled with panels of switches, dials and screens. There, an operator who works 24/7, keeping Molokai’s lights on. There’s a constant hum inside the control room from the plant’s 13 huge diesel generators.
“We’re attuned to this noise,” said electrician Brian Tachibana. “If it changes at all, these guys will pick it up.”
Slight changes in frequency could mean a drop or surge in power, which require minute adjustments in settings by the operator.
They also watch the clocks – not so they can tell when their eight-hour shift is up, but as a way to monitor the frequency being generated.…