Energy

More Rooftop Solar Coming for Molokai

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

Molokai is at the forefront of the country’s renewable energy future, and residents got a chance to talk story with their utility company, Maui Electric, ask questions and share what’s important to them last week.

With more than 100 Molokai customers waiting to install rooftop solar, photovoltaic (PV) challenges took a front seat at the discussion. Those residents had filed applications under the Net Energy Metering (NEM) program — which pays customers the retail electric rate for excess energy generated from their panels — before the program was discontinued to new applicants last October.

Jamie Cook, Maui Electric’s director of renewable energy projects, said 107 applicants are currently waiting in the queue to be approved — the same number that were waiting in March of this year.…

NextEra Electric Merger Rejected

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

A $4.3 billion merger deal between Hawaiian Electric Companies and Florida-based NextEra Energy was rejected last week by the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Many Molokai residents, along with others around the state, had raised concerns about the merger and what it could mean for Hawaii’s energy future. Commissioners of the PUC shared many of those concerns in the decision they issued last Friday.

Commissioners based their rejection on two major factors: whether the merger was in the public interest, and if the utility company was fit and able to perform the service currently offered. The PUC identified five major areas of concern: 1) benefits to ratepayers; 2) risks to ratepayers; 3) Applicants’ clean energy commitments; 4) the proposed Change of Control’s effect on local governance; and 5) the proposed Change of Control’s effect on competition in local energy markets.…

Study on Electric Utility Suggests ‘Paradigm Shift’

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

A recent study on Maui County’s electric utility could play a large role in shaping the future of Molokai’s electric service. The independent study, contracted by the county to consulting company Guernsey, examined alternate forms of electric utility ownership and operation models. Released two weeks ago, it recommended that Maui County seek an Independent Systems Operator (ISO) or Regional Transmission Operator (RTO) to oversee the electric grid and energy market.

“The County desires to move to 100 percent renewable and sustainable energy as quickly as practicable, and has concerns about the prospects of this progress under the status quo,” states the study.…

Biochar for Molokai

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, UH CTAHR County Extension Agent

Josiah Hunt of Pacific Biochar is the mover and shaker in the use of biochar in Hawaii and other areas of the world, and will be presenting a workshop on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. at UH Maui College-Molokai Farm located in the Molokai Agricultural Park.

Although the word “biochar” may be new, the idea of using charcoal for food production is not new. In the Amazon Basin, unearthed areas have been found to contain layers of biochar that enriched the poor soils of these high rainfall regions. High rainfall in the tropics can leach or wash away key nutrients, especially bases such as Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium, key elements for optimal plant growth, and these conditions are found in high rainfall areas of Molokai.…

Molokai Island Energy Project Update

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Princeton Energy News Release

Aloha! Princeton Energy Group and Half Moon Ventures want to express our gratitude to the Molokai community for welcoming us once again with great hospitality and warmth this past May. It was wonderful to visit with old friends, as well as develop new relationships on the island, as we continue to work together as partners on the Molokai Island Energy Project (formerly known as Ikehu Molokai). We held extensive community meetings throughout the island and received valuable feedback from residents. We continue to believe that the Molokai Island Energy Project will be accomplished by a long-term collaboration between community groups, residents, and the planning team.…

Fuel for Thought: Molokai’s Gas Prices

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Fuel for Thought: Molokai’s Gas Prices

Molokai’s gas prices are dropping–but still hover well above Hawaii’s average. Photos by Colleen Uechi.

Recently, many Hawaii residents have been breathing a sigh of relief at the gas pump. Across the state and the country, prices have dropped more than a dollar over the past year and are continuing to fall.

A year ago, gas prices in Hawaii averaged $4.21 cents a gallon, according to price-tracking website GasBuddy.com. Prices are now at $2.89. The average throughout the U.S. is even cheaper, as prices have tumbled from $3.34 to $2.29 a gallon within the last year.

On Molokai, prices are also declining, but the overall rates are more than a dollar more expensive than rates on neighboring islands.…

Molokai Joins Opposition to NextEra Merger

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Molokai residents voiced largely opposition two weeks ago to a proposed merger between Hawaiian Electric and NextEra, a Florida-based energy company. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is gathering public feedback on the proposed $4.3 million merger and will make a decision within the next six months. Molokai’s feedback, said Commission Chair Randall Iwase, has been in keeping with what they’ve heard so far around the state.

“The commission is not required to hold these sessions, but it was opinion of all three commissioners that it was important and appropriate to hear from the public,” said Iwase.

A majority of Molokai attendees testified that they opposed the merger.…

Vet Center Told ‘No Solar’

Friday, September 18th, 2015

MVCV News Release

The Molokai Veterans Caring for Veterans (MVCV) has been looking into installing solar panels on the roof of the new Veterans Center. But vice commander Longie Dudoit who was trying to get quotes on the project has hit a road block and he has been told by Sun Electric that solar panels cannot be installed on Molokai at this time. This is a frustrating situation that we hope can be resolved soon. If you have any questions, please call the vet center at 553-8387. There will be a meeting regarding electricity in Hawaii and especially the proposed Hawaiian Electric merger with NextEra Energy on Saturday, Sept.…

County to Complete Utility Study

Friday, September 18th, 2015

County of Maui News Release

The County of Maui is moving forward with plans to a study on the electric utility options for the community, and results will be complete by mid-October. The study will examine alternate businesses models and whether the proposed NextEra merger is in the best interest of residents. The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development has selected an Oklahoma based firm to complete the study.

Guernsey, which had an Oahu office from 1999 to 2007, is an engineering, architectural and consulting firm which once worked with Hawaiian Electric and the U.S. Army when the military wanted to privatize its electrical systems on Oahu and Hawaii Island.…

NextEra’s Commitment to Hawaii

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Community Contributed

Opinion by Eric Gleason, President of NextEra Energy Hawaii

Gov. David Ige’s recent comments raised important questions about our pending merger and Hawaii’s clean energy future, questions that we continue to work diligently and transparently to address. We want to make our position clear and reiterate our full and unequivocal support of the State of Hawaii’s goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. We believe our proposed partnership with Hawaiian Electric provides the best path forward to achieving what is, without question, an aggressive, yet very attainable, goal. Together, we can get there.

The renewable energy law signed by Gov.…