Exploring the Environmental Benefits of Renewable Energy Sources in Molokai, Hawaii

Molokai has a long history of renewable energy proposals from outside developers that have been met with resistance due to a lack of community benefits and resident approval. Hawaiian Electric, the local utility company, is now taking steps to address the changing supply chain issues affecting generation and renewable energy projects. On Molokai, one of Hawaii's smallest major islands, excess residential solar energy reaching the grid has become a safety concern. The Ho'ahu community solar cooperative proposal, under Hawaiian Electric's Community-Based Renewable Energy (CBRE) program, would generate approximately 2.5 megawatts of solar energy with the addition of battery storage.

This project would be located on 16 acres near the Pala'au power plant site. 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 without oxygen. In the past, Hawaiian Electric has been criticized for not taking into account the cultural needs of Native Hawaiians when developing other forms of renewable energy. Across the islands, a variety of alternative renewable energy projects are at different stages of development that could contribute to Hawaii's green portfolio. Hawaiian Electric is addressing the changing supply chain disruptions affecting some renewable energy projects.

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. Relying on a single energy source makes us more vulnerable to energy markets, unexpected events, and natural changes in energy sources. The Molokai Clean Energy Resilience Action Plan focuses on both renewable energy and emergency planning. Hawaiian Electric currently has four Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to identify new opportunities for renewable energy projects on Oahu. While the use of renewable energy will reduce the use of oil in Hawaii to produce electricity, it will not eliminate the need to import crude oil or refined products to Hawaii as long as fuel is needed for land and air transportation. The debate on the development of offshore wind energy has focused on projects related to Oahu since it has the largest number of inhabitants, highest electricity consumption, and limited space for the development of renewable energy.

Todd Yamashita from Molokai is president of the Ho'ahu Energy Cooperative, Molokai - another key local organization involved in planning the island's energy future. As we investigate the environmental advantages of utilizing renewable energy sources in Molokai, Hawaii, it is essential to consider all aspects of sustainability - from cultural needs to emergency planning - in order to guarantee that any proposed projects are beneficial for all stakeholders involved. The environmental benefits associated with renewable energy sources are numerous. Renewable sources such as solar and wind are clean sources that do not emit pollutants into the atmosphere like traditional fossil fuels do. Additionally, they are more reliable than traditional sources since they are not subject to price fluctuations due to market forces or geopolitical events. Furthermore, they can provide a more secure source of power since they are not dependent on a single source or technology.

Finally, they can help reduce our dependence on foreign sources of fuel and create jobs in local communities. In order for renewable energy sources to be successful in Molokai, it is important that all stakeholders are involved in the decision-making process. This includes local residents, businesses, government officials, and environmental groups. It is also important that any proposed projects are economically viable and provide tangible benefits for all involved parties. Additionally, it is essential that any proposed projects take into account cultural needs and values as well as environmental concerns. As we continue to explore the environmental impacts of using renewable energy sources in Molokai, Hawaii, it is important that we consider all aspects of sustainability in order to ensure that any proposed projects are beneficial for all stakeholders involved.

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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