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New Maui Biofuel Project

Sorghum is the native crop of choice for this six-megawatt renewable energy project.
March 28, 2014

New Maui Biofuel Project

Maui HomesFor those of you prospective Maui home buyers who are concerned about the cost of living here on the island, you might be interested in a new and important development in Maui's energy future. A new kind of renewable energy source is in the works for the island, and according to recent reports, Maui Electric Co. has earned the approval of Hawaii regulators to begin working on a power purchase agreement for the project. By now, anyone following the news has heard plenty about wind and photovoltaic energy projects on the island, but this is an agricultural energy project, proposed by Anaergia Services, the California-based subsidiary of Anaergia Inc.

You're probably wondering how agriculture is linked to renewable energy. In this case, the answer is a biofuel generated by sorghum, a plant that's native to Hawaii. The fields will even be irrigated with water from the nearby Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility so the project won't put pressure on Maui's water supply. Mature crops are harvested and naturally converted into a methane-rich gas known as biogas in anaerobic digester tanks. This means that naturally occurring bacteria are responsible for the process.

If successful, the project, known as the Mahinahina Energy Park, will bring in up to 6 megawatts of biogas energy. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission gave Maui Electric a waiver on the competitive bidding process, and the company is required to file a fully executed power purchase agreement within six months. That agreement will be long-term.

The park will be located on parcels with agricultural zoning on the former Maui Land pineapple plantations, which are owned by Maui Land & Pineapple Co. and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The project is getting support from the county because it puts the water from the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility to use in an environmentally safe and sustainable way. As they say, waste not, want not. In this case, the reclaimed water will be used to generate crops that will in turn be used to generate renewable, sustainable fuel, which will finally be used to generate electricity.

Hopefully, the project will be a big success for the island, but one thing is for certain, things are moving fast on this one. It really helps to have county support, which is why this project is progressing faster than what we see for Maui real estate developments and the like. If all goes well, this project will result in helping to reduce our Maui energy bills.

Mahalo for reading this week, and don't forget to check in each Friday for our latest Maui lifestyle, real estate and economy blog!

RealEstateMauiHawaii.com - By Mark Harbison

Blogs for March 2014

New Maui Biofuel Project

Posted on March 28, 2014
New Maui Biofuel Project

For those of you prospective Maui home buyers who are concerned about the cost of living here on the island, you might be interested in a new and important development in Maui's energy future. A new kind of renewable energy source is in the works for the… Continue Reading

Maui Real Estate Prices

Posted on March 21, 2014
Maui Real Estate Prices

For those of you keeping an eye on Maui real estate prices, you will be interested to know that the median price of a single-family home increased by 4 percent, according to a recent report from the Realtors Association of Maui. If you want reliable statistics, RAM… Continue Reading

Maui Home Ownership and Renting

Posted on March 14, 2014
Maui Home Ownership and Renting

For some, the search for the perfect Maui dream home can be a daunting process, especially if you live on the Mainland. As South Maui real estate specialists, we do our best to make sure you can get the most information possible out of listings on… Continue Reading

South Maui Hotel Development and Harbor Renovation

Posted on March 07, 2014
South Maui Hotel Development and Harbor Renovation

As South Shore Maui real estate specialists, we like to keep track of all the latest developments, and there are some exciting changes coming up for our beautiful slice of paradise. One involves a new hotel in the Wailea resort area, and another involves… Continue Reading

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Mark A Harbison
R(B) (GRI) (CIPS) (TRC)

Mark@RealEstateMauiHawaii.com

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