Maui Tomorrow is focused on educating the public about renewable energy and climate change, which are important elements of ecologically sound development.
Renewable Portfolio Standard and Power Supply Improvement Plan
In Hawaii we have laws that require an increasing percentage of the electricity supply to come from sources that qualify as “renewable energy.” However, that term is more political than scientific, because it includes sources with low- or no-carbon impacts such as waste-to-energy and other biomass and biofuel technologies that can have significant emissions of methane and carbon.
In February 2017 we co-hosted a public event with Maui Electric Company regarding their plans for 100% renewable energy by 2040. The panel also discussed MECO’s recently updated Power Supply Improvement Plan and answered questions from the audience.
Central Maui Transmission Lines
In March 2017 we met with MECO regarding their planned work on the transmission system in Central Maui. For the most part, this work involves replacing the existing wires with slightly wider/heavier wires as part of an effort to get all the lines on the same voltage. This work will allow the aging Kahului Power Plant to be closed, which is one of our goals. However, we also noted that in certain neighborhoods they were replacing wood poles with metal ones or raising the height, and there could always be neighborhood level opposition based on visual impacts.
Kaheawa Wind Farm: Bird Kill issues
In Spring 2017, Maui Tomorrow submitted written comments on the proposed increase in “take” for the Kaheawa Wind Farm, stating that mitigation efforts need to be more carefully evaluated before the government signs off on more Nene and Hawaiian Hoary Bat kills. The proposed increase for bats is more than 500 percent, and we are taking the position that this indicates either a design flaw or inadequate analysis in the original proposal.
Kahului Power Plant
Since the closing of the sugar mill this plant has been used more by MECO, and is the largest remaining source of air pollution in Central Maui. We have advised MECO that we are not satisfied with the pace at which they are moving to close the plant, which has units that date back to 1949
Access to the Grid for Solar Electricity Systems (PV)
We have also met with MECO to support additional options for Maui residents to acquire solar power. In October 2017 the Public Utilities Commission announced two new programs that should allow for an additional 12 MW of PV on Maui once the rules are finalized later this year. We are planning a joint public event with MECO for January 2018 to explain these new rules.