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Maui Electric among SEPA Top 10 utilities in nation for energy storage

Photo: Heather Lyn Duarosan

Maui Electric Company is one of the Top 10 utilities in the nation for connecting energy storage to the grid, according to the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA). Maui Electric ranks seventh with 17 watts of storage installed per customer in a survey of 412 utilities across the country.

The Top 10 utilities for most new solar watts in total and per customer, and total energy storage watts and storage watts per customer were recognized at the annual SEPA Utility Conference being held in Tucson. Energy storage is a new Top 10 category this year.

“Energy storage plays an important role in helping to increase use of renewable resources, especially in using as-available energy sources, like solar and wind,” said Sharon Suzuki, president of Maui Electric. “We’ll continue working with our customers and communities to replace imported fossil fuels with more renewable resources and necessary infrastructure, like energy storage, in Maui County.”

Energy storage projects on Maui Electric grids include a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) at the company’s Wailea Substation in South Maui and projects with energy partners at the independently owned Auwahi and Kaheawa wind farms on Maui and the Lānaʻi Sustainability Research solar farm. A BESS is currently being tested on Moloka‘i as well.

“One of the reasons we started the Utility Solar Top 10 lists back in 2007 was to highlight the key, but often unrecognized role utilities were taking in putting new solar on the grid,” said SEPA President and CEO Julia Hamm. “At this pivotal moment in the U.S. energy transition, the industry leaders on this year’s Top 10 lists — such as Maui Electric — will continue to be critical to the growth of solar, storage and other distributed energy resources on the grid.”

The full Top 10 listings are available online at www.sepatop10.org.

Maui Electric has also been recognized as a top utility for installed solar watts per customer list eight times, beginning in 2007 and most recently in 2015.

In 2016, 37 percent of the electricity used by Maui Electric customers came from renewable resources, including customer-sited private solar power, wind and hydroelectricity, making a significant contribution to the 26 percent renewable energy used by customers of Hawaiian Electric Companies’ customers on Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island.

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