LIHUE — Kauai Island Utility Cooperative will have used an estimated 10 million fewer gallons of diesel in 2016 compared to eight years ago, hailing a drop in fossil fuel usage on The Garden Island.
The fossil fuel reduction is nearly one-third of KIUC’s total fuel volume from 2008, according to press release. That’s equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from 18,772 passenger vehicles driven for an entire year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Credit for the accomplishment goes to a significant increase in KIUC’s renewable energy portfolio, said president and chief executive officer, David Bissell.
The renewable energy portfolio contributed 8.3 percent of total generation in 2008. This year, the contribution is around 36 percent.
“We have made tremendous progress on our goal of 50 percent renewables by 2030,” he said.
The majority of the renewable energy generation is in the form of solar power, mostly from large-scale systems in Anahola, Koloa and Port Allen. Earlier this year, KIUC began purchasing power from Green Energy, which operates a 7-megawatt biomass plant just outside Līhue.
“It has taken a lot of teamwork to get us this far,” said KIUC board chair Jan TenBruggencate.
In addition, the average price per kilowatt hour for KIUC members is down 18 percent in 2016 as compared to cost in 2008. Bissell credits a decrease in fuel consumption, coupled with the increase in renewable energy generation as what has helped stabilize and decrease rates.
“Our bottom-line goal is to protect our natural resources while providing reliable power at a stable and fair price for our members,” Bissell said. “If we can do that, then I think we’re on the right track.”