Community Energy Meeting a Success
Molokai Clean Energy Hui News Release
More than 50 Molokai residents and clean energy experts Zoomed in to the Molokai Clean Energy Hui’s first community meeting on Aug. 4.
“Our top priority today is to ask for your help by providing your mana‘o and getting the word out about the upcoming Molokai Community Energy Resilience Action Plan (CERAP) so that this can be a truly community-led and island-wide process,” said Leilani Chow, Hui Coordinator and Sust’aina ble Molokai (SM) Energy Program Manager.
Matt Yamashita, Executive Hui and SM Board member, recapped Molokai’s renewable energy history. When Sust’aina ble Molokai surveyed nearly 300 residents in 2012, there was overwhelming support for transitioning to community-friendly renewable energy. Rooftop solar on Molokai exploded in 2010-2015 with one of the highest per capita rates in the nation until the grid was overloaded. Since 2016, all attempts to develop utility-scale renewable energy projects on Molokai have been unsuccessful.
“The Molokai CERAP planning process will work with all stakeholders to reach a goal of 100 percent renewable energy (RE) for electricity while honoring community concerns,” explained Audrey Newman, another Executive Hui and SM Board member.
The process will develop community agreement on grid improvements, equitable cost savings, initial clean transportation projects, and more. Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) Director Dr. Rick Rocheleau and Mark Glick, HNEI Specialist on Energy Policy, joined the meeting and committed to working with the Hui and Molokai community to provide expert technical analysis and guidance throughout the planning process. Residents raised important questions about technology reliability and safety, obstacles to success and useful models.
“Community input is essential, and everyone must become akamai about renewable energy to help plan and build a resilient energy system for the next 30 to 50 years,” Exec Hui member Cheryl Corbiell emphasized.
In upcoming meetings, the community will learn about RE options and be asked to assess and prioritize RE technologies; cost-effective sites; grid improvements; centralized or decentralized configurations, and other factors.
The Hui is working closely with Hoahu Energy Cooperative Molokai on the Molokai CERAP.
“These two community-based organizations have complementary missions,” explained Todd Yamashita, Hoahu President and Hui member. Ho’ahu is preparing to bid on Molokai’s first community-based renewable energy (CBRE) utility-scale solar project, or “shared solar” which uses subscriptions to provide energy savings for people without rooftop solar.
The next Molokai CERAP scoping meeting will be in October or November, planning will commence in January 2022 and will be completed from 12 to 18 months. The Hui will meet with the community throughout the planning process.
The Hui needs everyone to talk to family and friends and get involved. Visit the Molokai Renewable Energy Facebook page to see the meeting video, stay informed and provide feedback, or contact the Hui at firstname.lastname@example.org.