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Virtual Open House for the Kahana Solar Project slated this month

By BY WALTER CHIHARA - | Mar 5, 2021

KAHANA — The United States’ departure from the Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation in 2017 eerily foretold the ignorance of worldwide weather changes that would devastate civilizations everywhere.

First came searing heat waves and windstorms igniting wildfires and untold devastation in the western states of the U.S. Then, most recently, numbing cold fronts with sub-zero temperatures not seen in over a century paralyzed the country with freezing snow conditions that brought death and destruction from deep in the heart of Texas to New England.

Thankfully for the citizenry of Hawaii and the world at large, environmental and government leaders initiated legislation to achieve 100 percent renewable energy in the state by the year 2045.

And, thankfully for the future of the island of Maui, a local coalition has initiated a course of action to support reaching that goal.

Skog Rasmussen LLC has connected as liaison with Innergex Renewable Energy Inc., an independent renewable power producer that develops, acquires, owns and operates hydroelectric facilities, wind farms and solar farms in the U.S., Canada, France and Chile.

Jeanne Skog and Teena Rasmussen are two of Maui’s dedicated community leaders with decades of experience with Maui Economic Development Board, Maui Agribusiness and Maui County Office of Economic Development.

They connected with Innergex to formulate plans for the Kahana Solar Project, a 20-megawatt solar photovoltaic system coupled with four-hour 20-megawatt, 80-megawatt-hour battery energy system that will power approximately 11,600 homes with renewable energy.

Skog Rasmussen LLC will hold a virtual Open House at the end of March to discuss the layout of the site, local residents’ concerns, Innergex’s responses to these concerns and some results of studies conducted so far on the project. Go to skograsmussen.com or Innergex.com/hawaii/kahana for more information.

The proposed project location is about 1.4 miles mauka of Kapalua Airport above Mahinahina on land owned by Maui Land and Pineapple Company Inc.

According to plans, the solar array and associated infrastructure will utilize approximately 220 acres and will connect to an existing Maui Electric Company (MECO) transmission line adjacent to the site.

Located in the Agricultural District of the West Maui Community Plan, the project is outside any urban, small town or rural growth boundaries.

If approved, Innergex plans to complete the project and begin commercial operations by the end of 2023.

Innergex will enter into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with MECO for 25 years. Thereafter, the project can be purchased by MECO, have its PPA renewed or be decommissioned.

Innergex will be responsible for 100 percent of the infrastructure, start-up, maintenance, and decommissioning and recycling costs.

Preference will be given to local resources and contractors during the development of the project, Innergex reported, and it will contribute to local organizations and community projects throughout the life of the project.