During the latest Maui Energy Conference, officials from Hawaiian Electric Company detailed a plan that would make Molokai the first Hawaii Island to no longer use any fossil fuels for power. The 2,000 customers on Molokai are currently drawing electricity from the oil field Palaau Power Plant, which generates 12 megawatts, as well as another 2.36 megawatts of installed or approved rooftop solar.
The beginning stages of the Molokai Island Grid Initiative involves testing a battery storage system which is fundamental to providing power-on-demand throughout the day when it’s generated by intermittent sources such as solar energy. The battery system also serves as a stabilizer to the grid, to keep power going for the area, should the generator ever go off-line.
Some of the steps included in the initiative are reducing and stabilizing energy costs, expanding the range of locally produced renewable energy sources, improving grid reliability and resiliency, promoting education of clean energy, and creating job opportunities in the sector.
HECO has stated that by using a combination of solar, wind, biofuels and battery storage, Molokai could be using 100 percent renewable energy by 2020.