Maui Electric plans to boost wind energy usage to 95% of energy generated

September 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Condominium prices in Maui County were up 27 percent in February, according to statistics from the Realtors Association of Maui.

Duane Shimogawa
Reporter- Pacific Business News

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Maui Electric Co. said that it has made operational changes that have allowed the Hawaiian Electric Co. subsidiary to increase its use of available wind energy and the utility has plans to integrate this type of renewable energy even more.

The improvements included modifying some of its generator control systems, reducing the use of the four generating units at the Kahului power plant and fully incorporating the battery energy storage system at the Kaheawa Wind II wind farm.

MECO is currently using about 91 percent of available wind energy compared to an estimated 72 percent before making the changes.

These changes have resulted in an estimated savings of more than $22 per year for a typical Maui residential electric bill, MECO said Wednesday.

With more changes on the way, the utility expects to increase the amount of wind energy used to roughly as much as 95 percent to 98 percent, which could save customers up to an additional $10 each year.

“We want to make sure our customers get the maximum benefit of our abundant wind energy resources while still getting reliable service,” MECO President Sharon Suzuki said in a statement. “We’ve made a lot of progress and will be making further changes to ensure our customers benefit even more.”

Future changes include deactivating two of the four generating units at the Kahului power plant next year, retiring all four Kahului generating units by 2019 and modifying the use of generating units at the Maalaea power plant.

As of the end of 2012, 21 percent of the electricity used by Maui Electric customers was generated by renewable sources.

Duane Shimogawa covers energy, real estate and economic development for Pacific Business News.

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