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Ikehu Molokai Project Update

Ikehu Molokai News Release

As most Molokai residents know, the Ikehu Molokai project has been proposed to convert the island’s electricity to 100 percent renewable energy.  The project aims to bring down the cost of electricity, stabilize the grid, make the grid able to absorb more rooftop solar systems, make Molokai self-sufficient in energy and more in control of its energy future, and create jobs.  The Ikehu Molokai project will produce electricity for Molokai only, with no connection to a cable or export to other islands.

The Ikehu Molokai team has been working on the design and financing of the project.  A detailed update has been posted to their website ikehumolokai.com. Below are highlights of the update.

The project will go forward in phases.  The first phase, scheduled for 2016, is projected to get Molokai to about 40 percent renewables.  The Ikehu team believes that this first phase will give the community a chance to see some results without committing to a full change-out to renewables.  It will also give Maui Electric a chance to integrate a large energy storage system smoothly into their operations.

There are three alternate locations, one by Manila Camp and two next to the existing Maui Electric power plant.  During community meetings and online, Manila Camp residents have objected to having the project near their homes.  The location next to the existing power plant is recommended by the Ikehu team.

The Ikehu team recommends photovoltaic energy for Phase One – no wind power, hydroelectric, or wave energy.  In the opinion of the Ikehu team, photovoltaic energy fits best for Molokai:  low-impact: quiet, low-rise, no fire risk, negligible impact on wildlife, water, or human safety.  The team has analyzed all forms of renewable generation and found no significant advantage for any other technology over photovoltaics, in terms of cost reduction for Molokai.

The goal of the Ikehu Molokai project has been to reduce the cost of power for Molokai.  The team reports that with current projected cost of development (about $36 million), Phase One of the Ikehu Molokai project is projected to save Molokai $786,000 per year in electricity costs, or an average about $300 per year per meter.  Later phases of Ikehu Molokai are expected to bring the island to 100 percent renewable electricity and achieve additional savings.  The team will be working with the community and with Maui Electric to ensure that recommendations proposed and supported by the community are technically and economically viable.

The Ikehu Molokai team will hold more community meetings in the near future.  Meetings will be announced here and at ikehumolokai.com.  In the meantime, the Ikehu team invites comments and questions from the Molokai community on the Ikehu Molokai website.


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