Funding Renewable Energy Projects in Molokai, Hawaii: A Comprehensive Guide

The island of Molokai is in a unique position to access funding for renewable energy projects. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture's loan program offers loans to farmers and aquaculture farmers for photovoltaic (PV) energy, hydropower, wind power generation, methane generation, biodiesel production, and ethanol production. Additionally, the Nooksack tribe located in Deming, Washington can benefit from the Renewable Energy Assistance Program (REAP), which provides guaranteed loans and grants to agricultural producers and small rural businesses to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. To make the most of these opportunities, the community of Molokai has developed a Community Energy Resilience Action Plan (CERAP).

This plan outlines 10 key energy projects and will carry out an energy assessment to understand how renewable and resilient energy options such as microgrids, energy storage systems, and other technologies can be integrated into their current grid. It will also provide a more in-depth analysis to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of technical and economic approaches to the implementation of specific renewable energy projects. Clean Energy Hui planners and Sustainable Molokai staff have held more than 2,000 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. The results of the analysis will help Sitka take advantage of previously identified renewable energy opportunities to meet expected energy demand.

The Energy Transition Innovation Partnership Program (ETIPP) provides each community with a personalized team of energy resilience experts from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to help them achieve local energy goals. There are different funding channels available for renewable energy companies that they can use depending on the development phase of their project including conventional credit institutions, private equity firms, and venture capital firms. The Renewable Energy Permitting Wizard tool is also useful for landowners, community members, and project investors to properly locate projects to minimize potential impacts, costs, conflicts, delays, and expenses by illustrating the types of county, state, and federal permits that may be required for an individual project. The Green Energy Market Securitization Program (GEMS) is an innovative and sustainable green finance initiative designed by the Hawaii State Energy Office to make clean energy improvements more affordable and accessible to Hawaiian consumers.

In conclusion, Molokai has access to a variety of funding sources for renewable energy projects. Through the Hawaii Department of Agriculture's loan program, REAP grants, GEMS program, ETIPP regional partners, Renewable Energy Permitting Wizard tool and CERAP action plan they can explore renewable and resilient energy technologies such as battery storage, microgrids, electric vehicle charging stations, wind generators and more. This will help them prioritize renewable energy projects and obtain grants with the goal of combating prolonged power outages.

Catherine Geml
Catherine Geml

Extreme bacon specialist. Proud food specialist. Freelance travel nerd. Lifelong web practitioner. Hipster-friendly food advocate. Freelance social media scholar.

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