Renewable Energy Revolution in Molokai, Hawaii: How Much Land is Needed?

Hawaiian Electric is offering a CBRE training event for potential proponents on the performance requirements of the Molokai CBRE RFP, the Intermediate-Level Standard Contract (Intermediate Level SFC) and the Lanai CBRE RFP, the Dispatchable Renewable Generation Power Purchase Agreement (RDG PPA). On the islands, several marginal renewable energy projects are at different stages of development that could ultimately contribute to Hawaii's green portfolio. These are the foot soldiers of one of America's most ambitious renewable energy revolutions. Renewable natural gas (RNG), also known as biogas, is a form of gaseous energy created from the decay of organic matter, such as biosolids from wastewater, food waste, or animal manure under anaerobic conditions or in conditions without oxygen.

The Hawaiian Electric team is providing technical support to the Molokai Clean Energy Hui in its planning process to develop a portfolio of clean energy projects to make 100% renewable energy on the island feasible, respectful of Molokai's culture and environment, and with strong community support. On Molokai, one of Hawaii's smallest major islands, excess residential solar energy reaching the grid has become a safety issue. To address this issue, Hawaiian Electric partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop areas based on an analysis of the best technical conditions for wind and solar power generation. Hydrogen production can be programmed to take advantage of excess renewable energy that would otherwise be wasted (reduced); likewise, the use of hydrogen to produce electricity can be programmed to meet peak electricity demands. Hawaiian Electric submitted phase 2 of the draft rates and appendices of the Community Renewable Energy Program (CBRE), and the requests for proposals and model contracts for low and moderate income (LMI) customers, Molokai and Lanai, for the Commission to review and take additional action in accordance with Order No.

The founders of Pacific Biodiesel, Bob and Kelly King, grow sunflowers and other crops on their Maui farm, demonstrating a community model of sustainable agriculture, renewable fuels and food that is helping Hawaii achieve a clean energy future. A renewable energy zone will allow the efficient interconnection of clean energy projects that may include solar, wind or battery energy storage, among other resources, through the creation of grid capacity. 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 company is excited about this opportunity to allow access to the benefits of renewable energy to a wider range of customers. Overall, Molokai's new short-term goal would be to add 6.4 MW of renewable energy capacity to the existing capacity of just over 2 MW, increasing the island's total renewable energy to 8.5 MW.

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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