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Maui Electric Reports 35.4% Renewable Energy Use

Posted March 4, 2016, 08:09 AM HST Updated March 4, 2016, 08:43 AM HST
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Hawaiian Electric Companies filed a report yesterday with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, detailing its annual renewable energy portfolio.

Company representatives say the Big Island of Hawai‘i led the state with 48.7 percent of customer electricity use coming from renewable resources in 2015. Maui County, including Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i, recorded 35.4 percent and O‘ahu achieved 17.2 percent of electricity used from renewable energy sources.

Maui's first windfarm project, the Kaheawa Windfarm, is located in Maalaea. The Ulupalakua project is designed to capture wind resources on the other side of Maui's isthmus along the Slopes of Haleakala. Other wind projects that have been discussed for Lāna'i have been met with controversy over potential transport of wind energy off-island. Aerial photography by Wendy Osher.

Maui’s first windfarm project, the Kaheawa Windfarm, is located in Māʻalaea. Maui also has a windfarm at Auwahi along the south east slopes of Haleakalā.  Other wind projects that have been discussed for Lāna’i have been met with controversy over potential transport of wind energy off-island. Aerial photography by Wendy Osher.

Representatives say the achievement far exceeded Hawai’i’s 2015 RPS goal of 15 percent and came from the use of a diverse mix of renewable sources, including waste-to-energy, biomass, geothermal, hydro, wind, biofuels and solar.

The RPS reported to the PUC represents the calculation for the entire year. However, company representatives say Hawai‘i Island hit a renewable high of 68% in December 2015; Maui County hit 63% in April 2015 and O‘ahu reached 42 percen in May 2015.

“These are achievements that everyone in Hawai‘i can be proud of,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO.  “Integrating renewable energy resources for the benefit of all customers is a top priority and these results highlight Hawaiʻi’s nation-leading commitment.

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“A balanced portfolio of renewable resources is critical to our successful transition from imported oil.  Energy conservation and storage, rooftop and grid solar, wind power, geothermal and demand response programs will all continue to help us reach that goal while providing value to our customers,” Oshima said.

Electricity generated using renewable energy sources increased by 39,153 megawatt-hours in 2015. The total amount of electrical energy generated from customer-sited, grid-connected sources increased by an estimated 128,060 megawatt-hours, a 24.9 percent increase compared to the previous year.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are preparing updated power supply improvement plans for achieving Hawai‘i’s future RPS goals of 30% by 2020, 40% by 2030, 70% by 2040 and 100% by 2045.

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