Numlock Sunday: Peter Fairley on Moloka'i and 100% renewables
By Walt Hickey
Welcome to the Numlock Sunday edition. Each week, I'll sit down with an author or a writer behind one of the stories covered in a previous weekday edition for a casual conversation about what they wrote.
Hawaiian Electric has a mandate from the state of Hawaii to convert the five island grids it operates to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. The catch? Literally no utility on the planet actually knows for sure how to pull that one off. Enter Moloka‘i, home to 7,500 residents and a 6 megawatt grid that keeps them going. Compare that to O‘ahu’s 1,200 megawatt grid for scale. Power plants in the state burned 1,438 million liters of petroleum at last count in 2017, and Moloka‘i will be the proving ground for the grid of the future: how do you convert a power system to renewables while maintaining costs, which are already high in Hawai…