Community input needed in reaching 100 percent renewable energy for Molokai

Release Date: 4/12/2017

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MOLOKAI, April 12, 2017 - Maui Electric is inviting Molokai residents to participate in an upcoming community discussion, 100% Renewable Energy for Molokai, to share input on the island's clean energy future. Sessions start at 5 p.m. with light refreshments, followed by the discussion from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on:

  • Wednesday, April 26: Maunaloa Community Center 
  • Thursday, April 27: Kilohana Community Center
  • Tuesday, May 9: Mitchell Pauole Community Center

Each session will feature a brief overview of Molokai's current energy system and provide the opportunity for attendees to give feedback and ask questions of Maui Electric representatives. Please RSVP to Kuhea Asiu by Monday, April 24 at (808) 872-3244 or email kuhea.asiu@mauielectric.com.

Last December, Maui Electric proposed updated plans with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission that maps out a possible path for Molokai, Maui and Lanai to exceed the state's renewable energy milestones - the most ambitious in the nation. It is a detailed plan charting the near-term actions that will lead to the use of renewable resources to meet 100 percent of Hawaii's power generation needs by 2045.

For Maui County, in the near-term, using a mix of technologies, such as solar, wind, battery storage, and biofuels could help Molokai achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2020, Lanai by 2030 and Maui by 2045 or sooner. Molokai particularly provides a unique opportunity to accelerate these plans as the island's small electrical grid system makes it possible to demonstrate different innovative and groundbreaking pilot projects ahead of the state's goal. Solutions are also currently being examined to address the island's existing system challenges when it comes to integrating more as-available renewable energy, such as rooftop solar.

"We want to hear from Molokai residents on what they want for their communities when it comes to moving toward a 100 percent renewable energy future for the island," said Sharon Suzuki, president of Maui Electric Company. "Reaching this energy goal is a huge undertaking that will require everyone - residents, government leaders, businesses, community and environmental groups - working together to refine and ensure a clean, reliable and affordable energy future for the island."

As part of its plans for Molokai to reach 100 percent renewable energy, Maui Electric recently installed a new battery storage system in partnership with Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI). The battery is currently being tested at the company's Palaau base yard. The company also debuted pilot time-of-use rates that encourage Molokai residents to use energy when it is most abundantly available like during the day when solar power is plentiful. Maui Electric is also in the process of launching its E-Gear photovoltaic (PV) pilot program that includes the use of storage technology.