Going Green on Maui with Wind Energy

I love the Maui lifestyle—I am a bit of a throwback from the old Maui days. I have always had a little of the farmer in me, which I get from my mom’s side of the family. I use to raise my own chickens, love fresh eggs. These days, in my spare time I am into my orchard and my organic garden.

Tiny Manure Machine

Tiny—my manure machine

So, I was thinking the next step in my journey to being self sufficient was to generate my own power. So, I called my friend, Cliff Ryden, to ask him a few questions. The conversation went as follows:

Me: Cliff, I notice here on Maui homeowners are interested in wind energy. We have some of the highest electrical rates in the nation and we have lots of wind. You specialize in wind turbines in Hawaii. Your company, Blue Pacific Energy, is a Maui based company specializing in wind turbines and solar panels for homes and businesses. So, I know nothing about getting off the grid, can you help me?

Cliff: Steve, one of the first things to consider when deciding on a wind turbine for your home is that wind turbines extract energy from the wind. A windy site will reward you by offsetting much of your home’s electrical usage. The most important first step is to make sure your site has a good wind resource.

Hawaii Wind Turbine

Maui, Hawaii Wind Turbines

Me: No problem there Cliff! Haiku, like a lot of areas on Maui, has plenty of wind, so tell me more! 

Cliff: Steve, wind maps are a good place to start. Wind maps are available for download from DBEDT for all of the Hawaiian Islands. Choose the 30m wind speed maps. They will provide an annual average wind speed for your site. We don’t recommend installing a turbine in less than a 10 mph average. A 12 mph average is very good and a 14 mph average is great.

Realizing that the wind maps may not reflect the exact wind conditions at your specific location, you may look for other indications that your site has a good wind resource. Can you frequently fly a kite in your yard? Are trees around you ‘flagged’ or shaped by the wind? Do neighbors comment about the constant wind? These are all good indicators that you have a great site for a wind turbine.

Usually, we can determine the available wind resource using the previously mentioned approaches, but if the site is questionable we will go ahead and measure the wind speeds with a device called an anemometer. Ideally, the wind speeds should be measured for at least a few months to gather meaningful data. If your site doesn’t have an adequate wind resource, don’t install a wind turbine. That would be like mounting solar panels in the shade.

We want to use the best tool to utilize the local renewable resources and maximize energy production. If your site does have a good wind resource then installing a wind turbine is likely the best way to maximize energy production. A wind turbine can save you hundreds of dollars every month.

Wind energy is a powerful, clean, low noise, and a low impact way to save money, help the environment, and make use of our local energy resources! The financial case is very strong, current tax credits and the cost of energy makes wind energy on Maui a very good investment. A turbine can also change your outlook on the wind. Suddenly, those windy days just bring a smile to your face.

Maui Wind Turbine Specialist

Maui Wind Turbine & Solar Specialist

Me: Cliff, thanks so much for the lesson in wind turbines. My next step is to get together with you and talk about getting a bid together, and explore wind turbines and solar panels. Another important aspect of wind is windsurfing on Maui. Looks like it might blow this afternoon, what do you say we meet up, rig up, and get a session in this afternoon?

Cliff Ryden

Search Haiku properties for sale. Search Kula properties.

Steven C. Nickens, R(S), GRI, ABR uses his 18 years of local real estate knowledge to assist buyers and sellers in Maui’s most luxurious resort area, Wailea. He is one of the top social media real estate marketers on Maui and uses HawaiiLife.com’s strong Internet presence to bring buyers to your home from around the world.

Until we meet! Aloha,

Steven C. Nickens, R(S), GRI, ABR
Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers
Cell: 808.280.2208

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3 Responses to “Going Green on Maui with Wind Energy”

  1. Beth Thoma Robinson R(B)
    August 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    Steve, thanks for the primer on wind energy, which is for obvious reasons a popular choice here in North Kohala as well.

    Seeing your “manure machine” reminded me of the very first conversation you and I ever had, long before Hawaii Life was even a gleam in the founders eyes… when we had a mutual client deciding between Wailea and Kolea :-)

  2. Steve
    August 28, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Hi Beth,
    Great to hear from you, glad you enjoyed the article. I am in the process of getting off the grid, so it makes sense for me. Yep I made the jump to hype sapce joining Hawaii Life. I am loving it. If you make it to Maui coffee is on me, good to hear from you.

  3. Joseph Talon
    July 27, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

    We are in the process of installing solar panels (18) and 4 wind turbines on our property, but have been jumping over hurdles ever since we started this project a little over 3 years ago…We’ve done a lot of the base work (permit, formation, trenches, installed turbine poles, etc.) but now, we’re awaiting re-drawings of construction plans required by electrical inspector, and drawing of electrical plans for permits… The individual who talked us into agreeing to do this project is our consultant, but we now find that he is over his head with finding qualified people/affordable companies to complete the installation and hookup… Is this an area you can help us with??? Would it be possible to get your input and perhaps have you take a look at what we’ve done and get a bid to complete the job??? WE’RE IN NEED OF HELP!!!
    Mahalo Nui,
    Joe Talon

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