WAILUKU, Hawaii — Maui Electric Co. is asking utility regulators to approve temporary generators in anticipation of a backup power source going offline when the sugar plantation closes.

Three used diesel generators have been requested to help with peak demand, the loss of the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.’s Puunene Mill and scheduled generator maintenance, The Maui News (http://bit.ly/2cCEEo6 ) reported Friday.

“With this reduction to the system, the company is in need of additional firm generation sooner than anticipated to maintain reliability as customer demand increases,” said the filing with the state’s Public Utilities Commission.

The filing also said shortfalls in reserve power capacity are expected as early as March 2017 and a variety of steps are being taken.

Utility commissioners have agreed to the company’s plan to build a $13 million substation. Construction could be finished by June.

“The pending land acquisition of approximately 2.6 acres for the Kuihelani substation will provide sufficient space to allow for the placement of the temporary distributed generation units,” the utility says. “The temporary distributed generation units will provide customer benefits through increased service reliability, improved operational flexibility and support of the projected reserve capacity shortfall beginning in March 2017.”

Maui Electric plans to sell the generators after five years.


Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com