Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More Reasons To Be Thankful than We Can Count

Pardon us for indulging in some personal thanks before we get on with the usual business of this website. As parents of three adults who are contributing to their world in unique ways, and as grandparents of two great kids who live about three minutes away, we have much to be thankful for.

Hawaii’s renewable energy scene has had an up year, too, starting with the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative that was announced early this year by the Governor and the federal Department of Energy.

The Hawaii news media, which seemed burdened with blinders that restricted their vision to the obvious renewable energy technologies (windmills do mesmerize), are now broadening their horizons. Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) is finding a place in their editorials and stories, and since we began this blog specifically to build OTEC awareness, that’s a good thing. And thanks to private industry, OTEC has a brighter future than we could have imagined earlier this year.  (An Advertiser columnist makes our point on both counts in a day-before-Thanksgiving Day piece.)

Thankful for a Progressive Utility

What a refreshing change it is to have an electric utility taking a leadership position in advancing the state’s renewable energy interests. We have to admit to a soft spot for Hawaiian Electric; being there gave this inveterate communicator more on-air time than we could have imagined thanks to numerous island-wide power outages during the years we handled communications for the company. HECO brought wind farms and a geothermal plant online during that decade, but its recent leadership in partnering with the State deserves special recognition.

In that regard, the State government deserves thanks for its own initiatives, beginning with the aforementioned Clean Energy Initiative. More recently, the Governor announced a major agreement involving the State, HECO and the Consumer Advocate that, if the hype is to be believed, promises to transform the regulatory environment here and create a new business model that rewards the utilities for renewable energy innovation rather than for kilowatthour sales.

Non-Profits Stand Tall

The non-profit community deserves accolades, too. Entrepreneur Henk Rogers launched his Blue Planet Foundation with a spectacular Summit in April that brought Dr. Stephen Schneider (of the Nobel Prize-winning Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change), James Woolsey, Denis Hayes and Robert Kennedy, Jr. to Oahu to share their views and stimulate discussion on the clear and present danger of the planet’s continued fossil fuel dependence. Rogers, by the way, has one big matzah ball of a mission statement hanging out there – to end fossil fuel use on the planet, beginning in Hawaii. What’s not to like about that!?

Not to be forgotten, the Hawaii Venture Capital Association sponsored a series of monthly meetings on renewable energy development late this summer, attracting standing-room-only luncheon crowds.

Thankful for Being Taken Seriously

Finally, we’re really thankful for the interest of visitors to this website from around the world – literally around the world. Our SiteMeter service keeps track of visitors in dozens of countries who check in with us regularly. Relax – we don’t know exactly who you are, just your ISPs.

Thanks for reading these posts since our launch on March 14th. And thank you for supporting renewable energy development – especially if that support helps Hawaii prove what a small but determined society can do to rid itself of fossil fuel dependence.

Oh, yeah. We almost forgot: Thanks for Hawaii-born Barack Obama. Forget it, Chicago. He’s ours!

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