Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hawaii’s Largest Solar Farm Dedicated on Lanai

The island of Lanai has taken an important step toward its goal of eliminating fossil fuels from its energy mix with today’s dedication of the 1.2 megawatt La Ola Solar Farm.

Castle & Cooke (and Lanai) owner David Murdock has even bigger plans, including two or three hundred wind turbines that would ship their output to Oahu via undersea cables.

"Castle & Cooke is committed to helping the state of Hawaii achieve energy independence,” said Murdock. “With the dedication of Hawaii's largest solar farm, we are delivering on our commitment by bringing clean solar energy to the people of Lanai. This state-of-the-art solar farm helps pave the way for Hawaii to become a leader in the production of renewable energy. La Ola is just the first step of Castle & Cooke's plans for renewable, sustainable energy."

We have to hand it to Mr. Murdock and his team for their progress so far. We still hope he gets the ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) bug somewhere along the way, as we first suggested nearly a year ago.

Someone on the inside once told us the boss doesn’t take easily to projects that aren’t grounded – literally. An OTEC plant serving Lanai presumably would be anchored offshore a few miles, so the insider’s assessment was that OTEC didn’t stand a chance.

And now that solar and wind projects either have left the station or are lining up on a siding, maybe OTEC and Lanai will never get hitched. Which leads us back to Oahu, the population center of the state and the island with the greatest need to get off oil.

Anticipating OTEC

We’re still waiting for follow-on news regarding the announcement from two months ago concerning an OTEC plant to be built on or near Oahu. The two parties allegedly behind the project have published nothing about it since Governor Lingle created the initial buzz on a trip to Taiwan.

It’s a New Year, and Hawaii is eager for more oil-crushing news on the green side. Let’s go, Lockheed Martin: The suspense is killing us!

And speaking of "killing us," how about the 37-percent increase in the price of oil in the past 10 days? (See chart at right.) Have we seen the bottom? (1/9 UPDATE: There's been a 25-percent drop in oil's price in the past three days, so all bets are off -- as usual -- on where price is going.)

No comments: