Molokai, Hawaii is a stunning island with a unique energy landscape. Thanks to the Clean Energy Hui planners and Sust'ainable Molokai staff, the community has been working hard to develop and implement renewable energy projects. Recently, the Hawaiian Electric team announced the selection of a developer to build and maintain the largest renewable energy project and the first to offer the island's shared solar program. This is an incredible opportunity for local businesses to get involved in the development and implementation of renewable energy projects. The projects are already operational and in the process of being developed in Hawaiian Electric territory.
Customers can become subscribers to these projects by agreeing to pay a portion of the production of the subscribing organization's renewable energy project. This helps reduce dependence on imported oil and stabilizes costs by signing power purchase agreements (PPAs) with renewable energy suppliers. Subscriber organizations can be any organization, such as a neighborhood, a club, a homeowners' association, a church, a union, a charitable organization, an environmental organization, or a company that develops renewable energy facilities. The Hawaiian Electric recently released a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify new opportunities for renewable energy projects in Maui. The Energy Department (DOE) Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP) is also working to improve energy resilience and combat climate change.
The president of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, Leo Asunción, noted that “the time has come to adopt a new model that not only encourages support for clean energy projects on the islands, but, more importantly, empowers communities as partners that fully participate in the development of renewable energy projects that directly affect them.”Clean Energy Hui planners and Sust'ainable Molokai staff have held more than 2000 conversations with residents over the past year, collected 713 surveys on people's renewable energy goals, and participated in more than 30 focus groups and 16 community events to spread the message and gather feedback. Since March, they have been contacting communities on the island to provide them with up-to-date information on current and future renewable energy projects on the island of Hawaii. Customer distributed energy resources (DER), such as private rooftop solar systems or battery storage systems installed in customers' homes and businesses, are also contributing to creating a clean and resilient energy network based on diverse renewable energy sources at different power generation scales. Local businesses can join this revolutionary renewable energy planning process by becoming subscribers to these projects or by installing their own DER systems. By doing so, they will be helping to reduce dependence on imported oil and stabilize costs while contributing to creating a clean and resilient energy network.