Hydro Power

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Hydroelectric Powered Coffee

Kaʻu Coffee Mill’s coffees are produced with 100% renewable energy from our Hydroelectric power system. This provides us with clean, sustainable energy while caring for our environment, for the planet and for the neighboring community.

We utilize water from our mountain water reservoirs to provide power to our plant and on to our coffee processing equipment and operations.
You will see the Hydro Power sticker featured on the side of our coffee bags.

Renewable Green Energy

Completed in 2023 , our 3.5 million dollar Hydro Electric project took 12 years to build.  A few bumps along the way and we are proud to finally be here today producing clean, cost-effective energy.
Historical photo of coffee farmers

View of our micro grid


Hydro power plant on the hill above the Coffee Mill

Situated on the hill above the Coffee Mill and nestled amongst the coffee fields, our Hydro Electric power plant is a marvel of modern technology.

Hydropower, or hydroelectric power, is one of the oldest and largest sources of renewable energy, which uses the natural flow of moving water to generate electricity. Hydropower provides about 30 percent of the renewable energy in the United States. Hydropower is better for the environment than other major sources of electrical power, which use fossil fuels.

Historical photo of coffee farmers

Pelton wheel


Control meters measuring electrical output


Hydropower  is a form of renewable energy that uses the power of moving water and gravity to generate electricity. Power is generated by using the elevation difference of water flowing in on one side and out, far below, on the other.
When water is released through the turbine, it spins a generator that produces electricity. The water returns to the source where it is used for irrigating macadamia nut orchards in drier regions below Kau Coffee Mill.

Our system was built by Canyon Hydro in Deming, WA.  Featuring a 32″ Pelton turbine.  Maximum flow per day is 3.2 million gallons.

Historical photo of coffee farmers

Main control panel for power plant


Electric generator attached to Pelton wheel

Historical photo of coffee farmers

Water PSI meter


Hydropower is an affordable source of electricity that costs less than most.  Compared to other electricity sources, hydropower also has relatively low costs throughout the duration of a full project lifetime in terms of maintenance, operations, and fuel. Like any major energy source, significant upfront costs are unavoidable, but hydropower’s longer lifespan spreads these costs out over time.

The benefits of hydropower have been recognized and harnessed for thousands of years. In addition to being a clean and cost-effective form of energy, hydropower plants can provide power directly to the grid, and may also serve as a flexible and reliable form of backup power during major electricity outages or disruptions.

Historical photo of coffee farmers

Hydraulic system

Historical photo of coffee farmers

Balancing a penny to show how smooth the system runs