IAM News Release
After five productive meetings the time has come to bring the general public up to date on the Molokai Clean Energy Initiative, or MCEI. These monthly meetings are held at Kulana ‘Oiwi here on Molokai. They are sponsored by I Aloha Molokai (IAM) and chaired by IAM President Kanohowailuku Helm. Our goal is to provide a forum for communities, organizations and other stakeholders to meet together, share ideas, and envision an affordable clean energy future for everybody.
IAM is a nonprofit, volunteer community organization, originally formed to oppose the Big Wind turbines slated for Molokai’s west end. Two years ago, Molokai Ranch approached us to discuss other issues of concern to the community. We promised we would talk, as soon as the wind turbines were taken off the table. This past spring, the Ranch canceled its lease agreement with wind developer Pattern Energy. At our first MCEI meeting, we were able to keep our promise to the Ranch, and the Ranch is still participating in our discussions.
Another incentive for the MCEI came from our legislature. Last session, Rep. Mele Carroll drafted a resolution to allow Molokai to opt out of Big Wind and the cable. Two House committees amended and expanded our draft into a call for bottom-up planning statewide. This became House Concurrent Resolution 189, which passed unanimously. The MCEI is our effort to honor this resolution and to set an example of bottom up planning for the rest of the state.
We are confident this effort will continue. We invite everyone to join us, or to set up similar initiatives of their own on other islands. So far, our participants have included Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Molokai Ranch, Maui County Energy Office, Maui Public Works, Department of Hawaiian Homes, Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii State Energy Office, Office of the Consumer Advocate, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, Maui Electric Company, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kohala Center, Ti Leaf Group, Sustainable Molokai, Habitat for Humanity, Island Petroleum, and many others.
MCEI has already been a success. Most participants continue to attend, and also to meet and form partnerships on their own. Although we have been able to explore the pros, cons, and costs of a Molokai utility coop, IAM has not yet chosen to support any particular project or organization. Where everyone’s power and wallet is at stake, we want to proceed with caution. Once we decide to support a particular option, we will present it to the whole community for discussion and consideration. All the information and options presented in our meetings are being recorded in minutes and collected in a matrix, which is updated each month. Matrix and past minutes are available upon request.
For more information, go to ialohamolokai.com, ialohamolokai.org, or call 808-213-1321.