The Power of Sugar

For most of its history, HC&S has generated all of the power it needs to operate—for its mills, its irrigation and wells. Today, HC&S also produces excess power which it sells to Maui Electrical Company, meeting about 6% of the annual electricity needed by Maui’s homes and businesses 365 days out of the year. HC&S provides “firm” power to Maui Electric, which means we commit to providing electricity year-round.

Two clean, renewable energy resources provide about 75 percent of the fuel for our power-generating facilities, greatly reducing our use of fossil fuels. Bagasse, the fibrous material that is left after the juice has been extracted from the cane stalks, is the primary energy source used in our two steam plants. Approximately 500,000 tons of bagasse is converted to power each year, saving the company about 500,000 barrels of oil.

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Hydroelectricity is the world’s largest renewable energy source. At HC&S, three hydroelectric plants divert water from our irrigation ditches to generate clean energy for the factory’s power plant. After generating power, the water is recycled–returned to the ditch for irrigation use.

Energy through Ag

In recent years, HC&S has begun to investigate ways to make more energy from our sugarcane crop – or from other crops. Our hope is to ensure an agricultural future for Central Maui that brings benefits well beyond our company and its employees, to the entire Valley Isle and the state by helping to reduce Hawaii’s dependence on imported oil and other fossil fuels.

Learn more about our energy initiatives.

Environmental Facts

HC&S is the largest privately owned drip-irrigated farm in the United States, with most of its 36,000 acres equipped with this highly water-efficient irrigation technology.

HC&S is energy self-sufficient and generates about 75 percent of its electricity through two renewable sources: hydropower and the burning of bagasse (cane fiber waste).

The company also is a major source of clean, renewable energy for the Maui community, providing about 6% of Maui Electric Company’s electrical needs.

One ton of bagasse produces the same amount of energy as a barrel of crude oil. HC&S produces approximately 500,000 tons of this renewable resource each year, saving an estimated 500,000 barrels of oil.

Click here to download the HC&S fact sheet.