Hawaiian Cooperative’s Retail Rates Have Fallen By Nearly 20% Since 2008

In the Aloha State, the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s (KIUC’s) rates for its 33,000 member accounts have fallen by 18 percent since 2008, according to a December 7 report in Pacific Business News.

A decrease in fuel consumption, coupled with an increase in renewable generation, has helped to stabilize and place downward pressure on rates, KIUC CEO David Bissell told the local news outlet

“We estimate we’ll be using 10 million fewer gallons of diesel in 2016 compared to eight years ago,” Bissell said in a recent company statement, noting that the cooperative has made a significant increase in its renewable energy portfolio – from 8.3 percent of total generation in 2008 to roughly 36 percent today.

“We’ve made tremendous progress on our goal of 50 percent renewables by 2030,” Bissell added.

The bulk of the additional renewable energy has come from such sources as solar, mainly from large-scale systems developed in Anahola, Koloa, and Port Allen – all on Kauai. Earlier this year, KIUC began buying power from Green Energy, which operates a 7-megawatt (MW) biomass plant just outside of Lihue on the island.

“On some individual days this year, we’ve actually generated 97 percent of our energy from renewable sources, with 77 percent coming from solar,” Bissell said.

On the average clear day, with solar at or close to full potential, all but one of KIUC’s diesel generators can shut down, reported Pacific Business News.

In related news, three months ago, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative announced plans to conduct a Time-of-Use (TOU) Solar Pilot Program that offers discounted electric rates to a group of residential customers.  The program offers a 25 percent discount on standard electric rates from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. That’s a reduction of about 8 cents from the September kilowatt hour (KWh) rate of 31 cents.

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