Community meeting to discuss Ikehu Molokai energy project this Saturday in Maunaloa

| December 12, 2013 | 4 Comments

A meeting notice has gone out to discuss the Ikehu Molokai energy project to convert Molokai to 100 percent renewable electricity.

The meeting takes place at the Maunaloa Community Recreation Center this Saturday, Dec. 14, at 2 p.m.

This graph shows how solar power would change over to hydroelectric power at night to keep the Molokai electric grid running smoothly. Yellow bars represent solar generation, green shows hydroelectric generation and red shows losses. Under the plan developed by Princeton Energy Group, the electric grid would have greater stability while operating losses for the utility would be eliminated.

This graph shows how solar power would change over to hydroelectric power at night to keep the Molokai electric grid running smoothly. Yellow bars represent solar generation, green shows hydroelectric generation and red shows losses. Under the plan developed by Princeton Energy Group, the electric grid would have greater stability while operating losses for the utility would be eliminated.

Molokai Ranch is working with Princeton Energy Group to develop a renewable energy project, called Ikehu Molokai, to benefit the residents of Molokai.

As described in more detail at, the Ikehu Molokai project’s goals include: 1. lowering and stabilizing electric rates for Molokai, 2. reducing or eliminating the carbon footprint of the island’s electric system, and, 3. strengthening the grid to avoid brownouts and blackouts. The electricity from the project will be strictly for use on the island of Molokai — there will be no connection to any undersea cable for export to Oahu.

Join Steve Taber from Princeton Energy for a community meeting to discuss the Ikehu Molokai project with the Maunaloa community. Taber will review the project details and answer questions from the community. Community involvement and feedback is a priority for the Ikehu Molokai project and critical for its success.

Category: News, Sustainability

About the Author ()

Comments (4)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. sam monet says:


    Trade winds drop, and Hawaii gets muggy By AUDREY McAVOY June 3, 2013 10:27 PM Associated Press: A recent study, published last fall in the Journal of Geophysical Research, showed a decades-long decline, including a 28 percent drop in northeast trade wind days at Honolulu’s airport since the early 1970s.

    Going forward that is 1% fewer trade wind days per year. Right now Hawaii has about 101 days per year that we have no trades. Windmills need wind. The cost of maintenance and decommissioning, or the occasional fire can increase operating and other costs in a system producing less income. Diminishing returns and fires have forced other wind farms to abandon the project and file for bankruptcy.

    In addition we have had 6% less rain annually over the last 25 years. Less rain and hotter days will make water more valuable for farming, residential use, hotels, swimming pools and other non salt water related activities. Water might some day be as valuable as energy.

    Pump hydro is a system with two water reservoirs. Water is run downhill from one to the other through a large pipe. Pipe and turbine energy loss along with the moving parts, maintenance and the cost of motors pumping all that water back uphill makes pump hydro only economically feasible where water is abundant and energy is cheap.

    Evaporation (water loss) is a function of reservoir surface area, wind speed and ambient temperature. As you increase the surface area with two reservoirs, you increase the water loss through evaporation. Does the ranch have enough water to waste this way? see:

    Molokai’s peak electric demand is about 5 megawatts (without the Ranch Lodge and the Kaluakoi tourist services at full occupancy) between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Photovoltaic panels will produce more energy in a drier climate. Putting the PV system at the Ranch’s headquarters will only benefit the Ranch because the Ranch will not need to pay MECO any transmission fees to power the re-opened Ranch Lodge next to the solar array. That PV array might also power up further development of the Ranch lands on the west end taking more energy from the rest of the existing MECO grid.

    The rest of the island will see little if no decrease in current MECO rates as MECO tacks on its transmission and distribution fees to and from the power originating far from its generators in Kaunakakai. GOOD batteries are expensive. Hawaii developers so far have been using low end batteries with resulting fires and other safety and environmental issues. Safe and reliable storage is a complicated issue that will take much more time and space to fully analyze.

    Biodiesel produced on island is a good source of fuel for the MECO generators and for transportation, with very little modification to existing engines running on this bio fuel. It takes time and money to grow crops that will produce home grown biodiesel. If biodiesel is the fuel of choice, start planting a lot of acres right now. Most biodiesel crops take 7 years before first harvest. In 7 years, the cost of MECO power (now about $.50 per kWh could be over $.70 per kWh.

    An alternative to fossil or bio diesel in the short and long term is ethanol produced from renewable crops that are well suited to Hawaii’s environments, current and predicted rainfall and climate even under a global warming scenario. Ethanol can be blended with fossil or bio diesel in a 60% diesel to 40% ethanol mixture. Ethanol from sugar beets produces two completely mechanized crops per year in climates like Molokai, uses about 1/2 as much irrigation water per acre as sugar cane and is environmentally benign. Income to farmers far exceeds any other cash crops per acre. Home grown ethanol can also be blended with gasoline in E10 to E85 transportation fuels. By products include high calorie cattle and hog feed.

    The Ranch proposes selling the power to MECO by way of a The Powoer Purchase Agreement (PPA). A PPA is a very good way to leverage the cost of energy for MECO consumers only if the reduction in cost to MECO is passed throughout to consumers. This cost reduction pass through has NOT been the case with any of the Hawaiian Electric Industries subsidiaries in the past. If MECO can get power at a lower rate, the increased profit margin will most likely be used to offset its past losses on island which have been considerable. The PPA will allow the Ranch to develop the project and reduce its costs through considerable Hawaii and federal incentives that will create a very large profit margin and return on the Ranch’s investment.

    We all know that the Ranch and developer will make a lot of money (perhaps up to approximately $40 million) up front by way of the federal and State incentives. Maybe some of those tax credit and rebates could be funneled back into the community by way of subsidies to cash poor farmers and non profits working with local kids and the elderly. The Princeton team seems to be made up of very well connected, wealthy people who might not mind spreading the wealth, or at least a little part of it. No doubt they will become neighbors, buying up some estates in Kaluakoi, especially if the hotel and golf coarse are reopened with the “cheap” power or using the tax incentive income.

    A coop is a very good idea, however, before the coop takes title to the system, the system (transmission and production) needs to be efficient enough to produce power at a cost that will bring the island in line with other systems of comparable size and technology. Taking over a system that is on the verge of bankruptcy is not a good business plan for the community.

    This Molokai Ranch plan is self serving and will only reduce its current and anticipated energy costs for a re-opened Lodge right next door to the PV array. The Lodge will NOT be on the MECO grid and will not be subject to any transmission or line costs. This is not to say that the Ranch should not have an option of producing power close to its demand at its cost for its benefit. Under the current plan, the Lodge will then have cheap power and might provide badly needed jobs to the Manila town community. This cheap power to the Lodge will not “trickle down” to the rest of the island system. It will simply be siphoned off the 5MW solar array at the source.

    There are other ways to skin the existing MECO energy cat (pardon the expression). A turbine and PV based Micro-grid could reduce MECO transmission cost and increase reliability throughout out the new grid system. The existing MECO generators would simply be back up.

    If the PUC and MECO decide to go with a NON BID solution, then the community will suffer. The community and MECO should not rush into something. Other options are in the works that might make more sense. An option designed and developed by local people with Ka Poe Hawaii Nei on the front burner and profits kept reasonable enough to give the island a system that will produce reliable, green and renewable energy, responsibly, and reduce the cost to consumers at the same time.

  2. mkklolo says:

    The Dispatch report indicates that Princeton has no plans to hold community meetings so it is a bit confusing that they hold this meeting in Maunaloa. If they have any notion that the West End is not going to stand in solidarity with Manila Camp and the rest of the island after they stood so steadfast with us over the windmills…they have another think comming! We have not heard from the Manila Camp folks yet…if it is ok with them, it is okay with me but not otherwise. Divide and conquer is not going to work on Molokai!!!!

  3. mkklolo says:

    So far, everything Princeton/MPL has published seems to put the PV panels on the hillside above Manila Camp…not in Maunaloa, near the MPL headquarters. The output is stated to be for sale to MECO at a slightly reduced cost compared their current production cost.

    Manila Camp is a much shorter wire run to existing MECO facilities so if they are to be the recipient of the PV/hydro output, that makes much more sense. Do you have new info for us?

    There will always be a “better” way to go as technology progresses but the question is “…how long to wait for the ‘ideal’ solution?” This one looks good and is here today if the neighbor and environmental issues are managed and MPL/Princeton can keep their attorneys and corporate liers in check and be open and honest with the community. Those are tall orders.

  4. kalaniua ritte says:

    i just worry about bio fuel….corn any one.remember dis is the ranch,i wonder wat other developement follows dis 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *