Using Renewable Energy Sources to Reduce Water Pollution in Molokai, Hawaii

Hawaii is a prime example of a state that is committed to developing alternative energy sources to reduce its reliance on oil imports. In recent years, numerous studies have been conducted to assess the viability of biomass energy development in the state, and several projects are already underway on a small scale. Batteries that store excess renewable energy and are discharged when it is unavailable can extend utility and improve the predictability of renewable sources. The debate over the development of offshore wind energy has mainly focused on projects related to Oahu, as it has the highest population, electricity use, and limited land space for renewable energy development.

Reports have shown that it is difficult to predict how well a given approach can work to produce energy on a large scale, including how it would fit into existing energy distribution and marketing systems, and how it would compete for existing financial resources. Tree plantations are unlikely to be used for large-scale electricity generation in Hawaii due to the availability of other potential sources of electrical power. The information available should enable those setting up a new distillery to evaluate different vinasse management systems with respect to their particular circumstances, compare them with available energy sources, calculate costs in terms of energy and other system requirements, evaluate by-products with respect to local markets, and evaluate emissions with respect to local environmental regulations. The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources has indicated that up to 160,000 acres in the state could eventually be planted as energy trees.

In partnership with the Hawaii National Marine Renewable Energy Center, connected to the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute and the University of Hawaii, wave buoy manufacturers can test the performance of their wave buoy designs. The community 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 with their current grid, especially as their population grows, energy demand increases, and the climate increasingly affects energy supply. Renewable natural gas (RNG), also known as biogas, is a form of gaseous energy created from the decay of organic matter such as wastewater, biosolids, food waste, or animal manure under anaerobic conditions or in conditions without oxygen. The State Energy Plan states that Hawaii's objective is to reduce its dependence on imported oil by conserving energy and developing indigenous sources.

Block Island seeks to identify renewable energy sources that can be used to generate electricity on the island and reduce dependence on electricity and imported fuels. On Molokai, additional biomass energy sources are being developed to meet their plans for self-sufficiency in electricity before 1985. Molokai currently generates all its electricity from diesel fuel but the Molokai Electric Company is using its own funds to purchase a boiler that can burn various fuel materials including biomass materials such as hay, pineapple waste, and eucalyptus and leucaena wood (a fast-growing legume tree). In many cases solar energy is used to pump water “upstream” from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir making these facilities 100% renewable. The community will carry out strategic energy planning to explore renewable and resilient energy technologies including battery storage, microgrids, electric vehicle charging stations, and wind generators.

The results of the analysis will help Sitka match previously identified renewable energy opportunities with expected energy demand.

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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