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Ikehu Molokai Project

Princeton Energy News Release

It is our goal to keep island residents informed of the progress of the Ikehu Molokai project.  As everyone knows, the grid on Molokai has some problems, like high costs for Molokai residents and businesses, blackouts and brownouts, and a high carbon footprint.  The Ikehu Molokai project aims to address these problems by converting the island’s electric system to renewable energy. The project is a joint effort between Princeton Energy and Molokai Ranch.

Maui Electric Company (MECO) has done their part to solve these problems, taking financial losses to minimize rate hikes, and working with the University of Hawaii’s Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) to install a battery system to stabilize the grid.  However, we believe that the best long-term solution is to use Molokai’s abundant renewable resources.  If done properly, this will eliminate carbon pollution, bring down rates, and further stabilize the grid. It will also make the island better able to withstand energy emergencies and fluctuations in the world price for carbon fuels.

We have held numerous meetings with groups of residents on the island and will continue to have meetings throughout the project’s lifetime. Last year, we decided to bring the project to the community early on, before any decisions had been made about Ikehu’s details.  While this has meant that we are unable to answer many important questions yet, we have received lots of valuable input, including concerns about the location of the project, its impact on nearby residents, and the right choice of technology.  This has enabled us to better adapt the project to better fit the needs of the Molokai community.

Originally, we had expected the most cost-effective option to be a large photovoltaic field near Manila Camp, coupled with a pumped storage hydroelectric system.  However, after receiving feedback from the community and further engineering work, we are now taking a broader approach.  Currently we are analyzing the full range of technology options, including photovoltaic, solar thermal, biomass, wind, pumped storage hydroelectric, battery storage and energy efficiency.  Some of these options may enable us to move portions of the project away from residential areas.

We will have more meetings with the community in the next few months to present the alternative project designs and locations.  Also, we should be able to indicate cost savings for island residents for each option.  Please keep an eye on the project’s website ikehumolokai.com for the schedule of meetings, as well as a list of community meetings held to date.  In the meantime, please send any comments or questions you might have to Dathan Bicoy at dbicoy@molokairanch.com.

Finally, we want to go on record again, as we do on our website, that the Ikehu Molokai project is for Molokai only.  We will not connect to any inter-island cable or ship power to other islands.


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