Maui Electric hosts community meeting on efforts to reach 100 percent renewable energy

Community input also needed on modernizing island's electrical grid

Release Date: 8/3/2017

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MOLOKAI, August 3, 2017 – Maui Electric Company will host a community meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 15 at the Mitchell Pauole Community Center to share comments collected from Molokai residents and businesses on the company's efforts to achieve 100 percent renewable energy for the island. The meeting will start at 5 p.m. with light refreshments, followed by updates from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

"Please join us to hear what your fellow neighbors had to say about achieving a greener energy future for Molokai," said Sharon Suzuki, president of Maui Electric. "We'll also be sharing updates on our overall efforts to provide the community with more reliable service through a modernized electrical grid."

Since March, Maui Electric has hosted 13 roundtable discussions with more than 150 Molokai residents, business owners, and students. Held in various locations, including Kaunakakai, Maunaloa and Kilohana, the sessions provided information about the island's energy system, followed by discussion about how residents envision the island’s sustainable energy future.

"By coming together and having open discussions about what kind of energy future makes sense from the perspectives of Molokai residents and businesses, it helps our combined efforts," Suzuki said. "It will take everyone – residents, government leaders, businesses, community and environmental groups – working together to make plans that ensure a cleaner, more reliable and affordable energy future."

Ahead of the Aug. 15 community meeting, the company is also seeking the community's input on its draft strategy to modernize the power grids on Molokai, Maui and Lanai to help bring on more renewable resources, increase reliability and give customers new choices to control their energy use. The draft Grid Modernization Strategy filed with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in June describes the scope and estimated $205 million cost to update the energy networks of Maui Electric, Hawaiian Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light over the next six years.

The draft plan and related documents are available at Public comments on the plan can be submitted to until Aug. 9, 2017.

Highlights of this near-term grid modernization work include:

  • Distribution of smart meters strategically rather than system-wide, such as for customers with private rooftop solar on saturated circuits and customers interested in demand response programs, variable rates or energy use data
  • Reliance on advanced inverter technology to enable greater rooftop solar adoption
  • Expanded use of voltage management tools, especially on circuits with heavy solar penetration to maximize circuit capacities for private rooftop solar and other customer resources
  • Expanded use of sensors and automated controls at substations and neighborhood circuits
  • Enhanced outage management and notification technology

Public comments will be included in the final grid modernization plan to be submitted to the PUC at the end of August.