Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) used a combination of renewable resources, including a lot of solar and some biomass and hydropower, to generate 90% of the island’s electricity during brief periods on four separate days in January. Furthermore, the co-op says it is on track to reach its renewables target years ahead of schedule.
“That a small co-op on Kaua‘i can become a world and national leader in energy transformation in such a brief time is something all of our members can be proud of and celebrate,” comments David Bissell, president and CEO of KIUC. “In five years, we’ve gone from being a place that’s almost totally dependent on imported oil for power generation to a place that is an industry leader in its adoption of renewable energy.”
In January, renewable resources met an average of 77% of Kaua‘i’s energy demand during the peak solar hours, spiking to 90% on four separate days. On a typical day, the renewable percentages break down to solar at 62%, biomass at 8% and hydropower at 7%.
On an annual basis, renewable resources are now 38% of KIUC’s fuel mix for generating electricity, up from 8% in 2010. The remaining 62% is oil, which fuels the bulk of Kauaʻi’s power generation from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m.
KIUC says key benefits of its renewable portfolio strategy include a 30% reduction in oil consumption from 2010 to 2016 and a reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions to well below the 1990 level. The co-op’s strategic plan calls for it to use renewable resources to generate at least 50% of its electricity by 2023; KIUC says it is now on track to hit that target by 2019.