PUHI — More than 200 people attended Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s 13th annual membership meeting Thursday at the Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center.
After hearing of its accomplishments benefiting members, talk turned to the aesthetics of the Anahola solar project, which is nearing completion.
“You have done a good job of doing ugly,” said Ken Taylor during the public testimony phase of the meeting.
Marj Dente said she supported KIUC’s efforts to reduce its dependence on oil, but was upset at the steps which resulted in the Anahola array of solar panels.
“I hold the KIUC board totally accountable for what is allowed and not allowed,” she said.
The Anahola solar project, when completed, will combine with the Koloa project which was dedicated in August 2014 to provide nearly half of the electricity on Kauai, KIUC CEO David Bissell said.
By the end of 2015, KIUC expects to produce 38 percent of Kauai’s electricity use through renewable sources, an improvement over the 9 percent produced in 2009.
In 2009, oil was used to produce 91 percent of Kauai’s electricity. By the end of the year, that will fall to 62 percent. Other sources producing electricity are solar, 17 percent, biomass, 12 percent, and hydro, 9 percent.
Jan TenBruggencate, chair of the KIUC board of directors, said the average residential electric bill was $214 lower than the previous year due to greater energy efficiency and lower fuel costs.
KIUC members also enjoyed $2.1 million in patronage capital for fiscal year 2014, or an average of $24 for each residential customer. TenBruggencate said this is the 12th straight year of patronage capital and bill credits in the cooperative’s 13-year life.
“That is money which stays on the island and does not end up in the pockets of some offshore shareholders,” he said.
Members who attended the meeting received three LED light bulbs worth $20, a bag of rice and a dinner of chili and rice.
KIUC is a member-owned cooperative serving 33,000 customers on the island of Kauai.
“Our success would not be attainable without the commitment of our elected board and our 151 employees,” Bissell said.