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Your Dream for Molokai Energy

Molokai Clean Energy Hui and Hoahu Energy Cooperative News Release

The Molokai Clean Energy Hui (MCEH) will begin an island-wide, community-led renewable energy planning process this year. When you dream about renewable energy in the future, does it include electric planes, electric tractors, 4×4 pickups that do not need gas, cheaper power bills, or solar battery backup so you are not affected by blackouts? What is your dream?

Molokai’s renewable energy plan’s success is dependent on community participation. MCEH’s first Zoom community meeting is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 4. Plan to attend because renewable energy affects your ohana’s future, and join the “Molokai Renewable Energy” Facebook group for updates and information.

On June 29, MCEH and Hoʻahu Energy Cooperative Molokai asked the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to envision Molokai’s renewable energy future through the community’s eyes at an unprecedented PUC status conference concerning two Hawaiian Electric Company renewable energy Request for Proposals (RFPs) for Molokai. Together, Hoʻahu and MCEH asked the PUC to improve the draft Community-Based Renewable Energy (CBRE) RFP for roughly 20 percent of Molokai’s renewable energy needs (2.5 MW) at Pala’au, so it could provide better benefits to the Molokai community. The recommendations would apply to any renewable energy developer and included removing noncompetitive terms; address environmental concerns; more equitable equipment disposal, site and lease terms; and value community benefits such as local employment in the selection process.

MCEH and Hoʻahu also requested PUC and HECO support for MCEH’s proposed Molokai Community Energy Resilience Plan. MCEH is partnering with Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) to provide technical expertise, analysis, and guidance to identify the best ways to achieve maximum renewable energy, and transition Molokai’s economy to renewables, including initial steps for more electric vehicles. The planning time frame is approximately 18 months.

To avoid a piecemeal approach, the Molokai representatives recommended closing the newly proposed Molokai RFP, which called for an additional 4.4 MW and battery storage at Pala’au. Community engagement has not started for this RFP. Closing the Molokai RFP would mean a short delay in renewable energy development. However, the delay would allow for well-informed community input and flexibility to build a highly resilient energy system for over 75 percent of Molokai’s electricity needs for the next 30 to 50 years. Island-wide planning upfront and collecting informed community feedback will ultimately fast-track the projects needed to achieve 100 percent renewable energy and lay the foundation for clean energy transportation as well.

Mahalo to the many advisors and leaders who helped MCEH and Hoʻahu begin the process towards Molokai’s renewable energy roadmap. Watch the video of the PUC status conference at youtube.com/watch?v=oOppWORjGgk. Molokai residents need to dream big today to mold tomorrow’s energy future. What is your dream for Molokai’s renewable energy road map?

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