MECO to bring in renewables, change grid

Renewable energy will be a big part of Maui Electric Co.’s future, with plenty of room for serious investors and partners, said outgoing President Ed Reinhardt.

Near-term projects include plans to seek a developer to help produce between 20 and 50 megawatts of clean energy in two stages on 66 acres by the Central Maui Landfill, with either a wind farm or biofuel plant, Reinhardt said, adding that the company expects to release a request for proposals as soon as this month for the project, which would come on line by 2016 or ’17.

“Biofuel: That’s the future,” he said. “The right thing to do is for us to get away from oil.

“Our goal is we want to stabilize the price of electricity,” he said. “We need to integrate the renewables and change the grid.”

He said incorporating renewables with a thinking electrical grid, large-scale battery storage and MECO’s diesel generators – for now – will help the company and customers weather the fluctuations in both oil prices and renewable energy outputs.

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