MECO renewable energy percentage rose to 38% in ’18

Maui Electric Co. produced 38 percent of power used in 2018 through renewable sources, up from 34 percent in 2017, the utility’s parent company, Hawaiian Electric Cos., said Tuesday.

The peak renewable energy production for MECO occurred on April 14, when 80 percent of power used was produced by renewables. The peak is generally achieved when demand for power is low and renewable production is high on sunny and windy days, HECO said.

The percentages represent renewable energy used by customers as a percentage of total utility sales, HECO explained.

HECO noted that Ku’ia Solar near Lahainaluna High and South Maui Renewable Resources, near the Maui Research and Technology Park, came online in 2018.

Regulators also approved Molokai’s first large-scale solar-plus-storage renewable project, Molokai’i New Energy Partners, a 2.64-megawatt project, which includes a 3-MW battery energy storage system, in late July.

Moloka’i New Energy Partners is a Chicago-based Half Moon Ventures company that will sell power to MECO. The project was expected to be in service by the end of this year.

HECO Cos., which includes MECO, Hawaiian Electric Co. on Oahu and Hawaii Electric Light Co. on Hawaii island, combined for a 27 percent renewable portfolio standard in 2018, despite the loss the Hawaii island’s geothermal company due to the volcanic eruption.

The percentage was the same as 2017.

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