Library filed under Energy Policy from Hawaii
Renewable energy projects also have spawned large demonstrations. In Kahuku, more than 160 people were arrested last year after staging protests of AES Corp.’s Na Pua Makani wind farm – a project being developed on state agriculture land despite longstanding opposition by residents. Renewable energy projects on Maui and the Big Island have been hindered by litigation. And the pushback comes as Hawaiian Electric is really just getting started.
The refusal of all-renewable advocates to consider the cartoonish land requirements of their schemes and how those plans are affecting ordinary people in rural areas is perhaps the single biggest disconnect in the current energy debate. How cartoonish? Last year, two Harvard researchers found that meeting current U.S. electricity needs with wind would require covering a land area twice the size of California with wind turbines. That’s beyond Looney Tunes.
Hawaiian Electric Co. spokeswoman Shannon Tangonan said Wednesday the Maui utility’s purchase of power from wind facilities, instead of the utility-owned fossil fuel plants, caused the April bills to increase. ...Customers on other islands saw electric bills decrease in April.
President Donald Trump has disputed climate change, pledged a revival of coal and disparaged wind power, and his nominee to head the Energy Department was once highly skeptical of the agency's value. What this means for states' efforts to promote renewable energy is an open question.
Eric Gleason, president of NextEra Energy Hawaii LLC, said at a Waikiki business luncheon this week that getting the state off its dependence on oil would cost $30 billion over the next three decades. ...divided among Hawaiian Electric's 455,000 ratepayers on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island, each customer would pay an additional $183 per month for 30 years.
Remember several years ago, when Lanai and Molokai were the targets of the undersea cable? One of the corporate partners of Pattern, Michael Cyrus, had this to say about us: "You have to go through this process of noise, where you let people feel that they had a platform to speak, but you can't let the noise distract you." Now it's your turn, Maui.
Although there are currently 29 states/territories with mandated RPS, many legislators in those states are considering - if not actively trying - to roll them back. They are doing this not because they are anti-renewable, or disbelievers in climate change, or are in the pocket of Big Oil and Big Gas. They are doing this because they recognize the price-gouging, rent-seeking opportunities developers - some with no experience at all in building renewables - are relentlessly pursuing.
State regulators have instructed Hawaiian Electric Co. to strike all references to undersea cables and the proposed Lanai wind farm from the utility's long-awaited request for large-scale renewable energy projects that will serve Oahu.
Initially, energy leaders focused on wind power and an undersea cable. But now, that's no longer the case. "Based on the comments we got in the scoping period last year, we listened to those comments, we took them very seriously and basically they said you're not looking broadly enough."
"There's a long road ahead for us," said Robin Kaye, a spokesman for the group Friends of Lana'i, which opposes a proposed wind farm project on the island's north end because of the development's cultural and environmental impacts. "Our focus in the next six to nine months is to educate folks on Oahu how much this is going to cost."
The state Public Utilities Commission has denied Hawaiian Electric Co.’s request to reconsider a July ruling requiring the utility to rebid 200 megawatts – or half – of the Big Wind project.
Given the enormous scope of Big Wind - its costs to HECO ratepayers as well as to neighbor islanders - this project needs to be vetted in the most transparent, accessible forum as possible. The public must pay attention - and, through Maui County and the environmental organization, now stands to benefit from a greater degree of openness.
Friends of Lāna‘i (friendsoflanai.org) commissioned this video to help explain how a proposed 400 megawatt industrial wind power plant will impact the people and environment of the small Hawaiian island of Lāna‘i. The project could consume up to ¼ of the island and all the power would be sent to the island of O`ahu by an undersea cable that would run through the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. According to one State official, it is estimated that this intermittent power source would supply just 10% of O'ahu island's electricity. Castle & Cooke, the Los Angeles-based developer of this proposed wind power plant, stands to earn over one hundred million dollars every year while Lāna‘i's electricity would continue to be provided by fossil fuel. Duration: 20 minutes 34 seconds
Large-scale renewable energy technologies are critical for Kaua‘i to achieve sustainability, but proposals to convert the abundant resources of wind and solid waste to electricity still have unresolved questions. The two technologies were not included in $1.5 billion of private capital investments recommended by the final draft of the Kaua‘i Energy Sustainability Plan that was released this past week and presented to the Kaua‘i County Council and the public.
Maui Electric Co.'s sales, measured in kilowatt-hours, are down nearly 10 percent this year, a drop that tracks closely with declining visitor arrivals, said company President Ed Reinhardt. Before the island's economic downturn and fewer visitors coming to the island, MECO had been forecasting that it would need its next increment of firm power generation in 2011. Earlier this year, because of declining demand, it revised that forecast to 2014.
I'd like to share some thoughts on wind energy with you. My problems with wind energy have been the same for 40 years and little has changed to modify any of this. After 40 years of heavy subsidies, dedicated government research programs (wind mills just aren't that complex), wind energy is still a small marginal source of unreliable energy. Even with government mandated Renewable Portfolio Standards (government edicts, not free markets), which force the utilities to buy this costly energy, the problems are more costly and the engineering problems remain.
With its ocean breezes, ample sunlight, pounding waves and a continuously erupting volcano, Hawaii seems blessed with the means to produce clean electricity and achieve energy independence. But that isn't anywhere close to happening. For one thing, the technology isn't quite ready. The big drawback with wind and solar energy, for example, is that the flow of electricity stops when the breeze dies down and the sun sets. Since there is no good way to store the power for use later, homeowners need conventional electrical service - meaning fossil fuel-burning plants - as a backup.
Down a dirt road on America's southernmost island, 16 windmills tilt their sleek blades toward the ocean, as dependent on the whims of Hawai'i's tropical breeze as residents are on the electricity they help produce. The Hawi wind farm on the Big Island makes clean and affordable energy, but the 100-foot-tall wind turbines stop when the air is still. Most forms of renewable energy face a similar difficulty nationwide - they're cleaner than oil and coal but fall short on reliability and convenience.
Whether in the workplace, the home, or the vehicles which move us, electrical demands are increasing even as we use it more efficiently. Both memory chips and power chips are getting larger and more powerful. Even our vehicles are becoming more electrified from bumper to bumper. The trends will continue. This future will need large amouns of highly controlled, reliable, and purified electricity to help the U.S. economy remain productive. Wind energy is the antithesis of such energy needs.
There is this enormous and dangerous assumption embraced by the Governor [of Hawaii] that "renewable" energy sources will save the day.