In Molokai, Hawaii, the utilization of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power has become increasingly popular due to the numerous advantages that come with it. Cost savings, reduced carbon footprint, support for the state's renewable energy goals, increasing the value of homes, and energy security are just some of the benefits that come with using these sources. To this end, Molokai New Energy Partners recently signed an agreement to build a 4.88 MW solar power plant on leased land on the island, which will include a 3 MW, 15 MWh lithium-ion battery storage system. Hawaii has positioned itself as a leader in the search for a future free of fossil fuels, and other states are watching to see if it can deliver on its promise to become America's first green energy economy. Solar and wind energy have become competitive with other energy sources in recent years alone, and the technology is becoming increasingly reliable and cost-effective as battery storage improves.
California, New Mexico, Washington, New York, Nevada and Maine have already followed Hawaii's example and have adopted legislation requiring 100% dependence on clean energy at various dates in the future. However, there are many obstacles that must be overcome in order for Hawaii to achieve its goal of becoming a green energy economy. These include some as fundamental as the difficulty of transmitting electricity between the eight main islands that make up this archipelago, and others as unpredictable as facing the presence of an endangered bat the size of a salt shaker that is attracted to wind turbines. Everyone will have to go through a substantial cultural change, encourage changes in consumer habits, and move utility companies away from conventional forms of energy that have existed for more than a century. Everyone will also have to overcome practical problems such as the renewal of power grids to keep pace with the proliferation of solar energy on rooftops. Without its own fossil fuel reserves, Hawaii has the highest energy costs in the country.
There are many renewable sources to take advantage of (sun, wind, waves, volcanoes), but the state has needed a change in political will and a drop in the prices of photovoltaic energy and turbines to get away from oil, gas and coal. The Marine Corps and the University of Hawaii at Ma—NOA are exploring the potential of wave energy. Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning wants to use water pumped from the depths of the sea to cool buildings in downtown Honolulu. Makai is cultivating a process that uses the temperature difference between cold deep water and warm surface water to generate power. The cooperative continues to be a pioneer in the field of “solar energy plus storage” with its extensive Lawa'i solar park serviced by sheep that shear the grass.
The nearly 200-acre network of gleaming solar panels incorporates the world's largest operational solar energy and storage facility with a capacity to store 100 megawatt-hours of electricity. Solar energy is by far the fastest-growing renewable energy source in the state. Kauai has long been a haven for two endangered species of seabirds - Newell's Sparrow and Hawaiian Petrel - but conservationists are concerned about the effect of turbine blades on seabird populations. The north coast of Oahu was once home to native Hawaiians who farmed rich farmland before it was transformed into sugar and pineapple plantations with Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino workers arriving to work the land. Gil Riviere is concerned that this push for renewable energy could jeopardize that promise. As co-director of Keep the North Shore Country he is on the front line of efforts to block the development of Na Pua Makani wind project due to Hawaiian gray bats which weigh only half an ounce but are notoriously difficult to count as they are solitary and easily disappear in tree top shelters. In conclusion, using renewable energy sources in Molokai provides numerous benefits such as cost savings, reduced carbon footprint, support for state's renewable energy goals, increasing value of homes, and energy security. However there are many obstacles that must be overcome in order for Hawaii to achieve its goal of becoming a green energy economy.
Everyone will have to go through a substantial cultural change, encourage changes in consumer habits, move utility companies away from conventional forms of energy that have existed for more than a century and overcome practical problems such as renewal of power grids.