Moloka‘i: First Off the Grid?

Mar 31, 2017

Downtown Kaunakakai
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to a new battery storage system, Molokai may be the first Hawaiian island to go entirely off the grid. We get more on that story from PBN editor-in-chief A. Kam Napier.


    
At the recent Maui Energy Conference, officials from Hawaiian Electric Company, parent company of Maui Electric Co., detailed a plan that would make Molokai the first Hawaii island to completely kick the fossil fuel habit. The 2,000 power customers on Molokai are currently drawing on the oil-fueled Palaau Power Plant, which generates 12 megawatts, as well as another 2.36 megawatts of installed or approved rooftop solar.

 

The first step of the Molokai Island Grid Initiative involves testing a battery storage system, which is essential to providing power-on-demand throughout the day when it’s generated by intermittent sources such as solar energy. The battery system is also meant to provide near-term stability to the grid, keeping the lights on should a generator ever go off-line.

 

The next phase of the grid initiative involves reducing and stabilizing energy costs, expanding the range of locally produced renewable energy sources, improving grid reliability and resiliency, promoting clean energy education and creating job opportunities in the sector.

 

HECO says that by using a mix of solar, wind, biofuels and battery storage, Molokai could be on 100 percent renewable energy by 2020.