Roots Run Deep
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Maui Electric History
The demand for power that has fueled the growth of the Hawaiian Islands has been met by us for well over a century. And as the next millennium unfolds, we are committed to providing quality service and seeking clean local energy sources to power generations of Hawaii families and businesses to come.
1881: From Plantations to Power
- Claus Spreckels demonstrated the first electric lights on Maui at Spreckelsville Mill in 1881.
- The Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company, HC&S - founded by Claus Spreckels- installed the first oil-fired power plant in Hawaii to serve the Puunene Mill in 1907.
- Island Investment Company formed the Island Electric Company to provide Wailuku town with electricity in 1911. The company folded in 1919.
1921: The Birth of Maui Electric Company
- Maui Electric Company, Ltd. was established in 1921.
- Maui extended service to Paia, Haiku, Hula, and Makawao in 1933.
- Nearly half of the power HC&S generated was delivered to the military by Maui Electric to support wartime power requirements in 1942.
- Maui Electric built its first power plant in Kahului in 1948.
- Maui Electric expanded its Kahului power plant by adding a 12,000-kv unit in 1954.
- Maui Electric extended along radial 23-kv transmission feeder up the 10,000 foot summit of Haleakala in 1955.
- Maui Electric built a 69-kv transmission line from Kahului to Lahaina in 1957.
- Hana Light & Power merged with Maui Electric in 1964.
- Maui Electric took over Lahaina Light & Power from Pioneer Mill making it an island-wide utility in 1967.
- Maui Electric joined Hawaiian Electric Company in 1968.
1971: Electrifying Maui County
- Maui Electric purchases Lanai’s distribution system in 1954.
- Maalaea plant is built in 1971.
- Maui Electric purchased two high speed diesel generators from the Central Intelligence Agency facility in 1986.
- Maui Electric acquired Lanai City Power Plant on Lanai in 1988.
- Maui Electric acquired Molokai Electric Company in 1989.
- The opening of several resort hotels, including the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Wailea, help Maui Electric’s kilowatt hour sales rise in the early 1990s.
- A 15-mile transmission line from Maalaea to Kula is energized in 1994.
1998: Powering Our Communities
- Maui Electric completed a new 20-megawatt combustion turbine at Maalaea plant in 1998.
- Maui Community College honored Maui Electric as "Community Partner of the Year" in 2001.
- Maui Electric received over $1 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture funds to help fund solar for rural families on Molokai in 2003.
2004: Building Energy Through Partnerships
- Maui Electric signed an agreement to buy power from a 30-megawatt wind farm at Kaheawa Pastures in 2004.
- In 2006, Kaheawa Wind Partners new 30-megawatt wind farm on Maui became Hawaii's largest wind farm to date.
- Maui Electric provided Lanai residents with energy from the largest single-site solar farm in Hawaii, La Ola Solar Farm in 2009.
- The Auwahi Wind and Kaheawa Wind II 21-megawatt wind farms began commercial operation in 2012.
- In 2012, The Solar Electric Power Association recognized Hawaii’s utilities as national leaders in integrating renewable solar energy. Maui Electric ranked 6th among utilities nationally for adding new solar power on a per customer basis.
- Two of four oil-fired units at Kahului Power Plant were deactivated in 2014 due to the increased amount of renewable energy for generation and more efficient and declining electricity use by customers.
- In 2016, Maui Electric ranks 8th among nation’s top utilities for connecting the most solar watts per customer to the grid.
- In 2018 the 2.87 MW Kuia Solar in West Maui and 2.87 MW South Maui Renewable on Haleakala Ranch came online, adding to Maui County’s renewable energy portfolio.
- In 2019, Maui County achieved 41 percent RPS with the mix of solar, wind and biofuels, up from 38 percent in 2018.
- Hawaiian Electric Company named 2019 “Utility of the Year” by Utility Dive, a leading energy industry publication.