(That’s the “shorthand” version of the goal and the one favored by the media – and even by the Governor’s office on occasion; HCEI apparently gets to 70 percent by reducing demand and adding new clean energy – a mathematical plus-minus contortion that we accept on face value.)
Also today, Hawaiian Electric said it has cut a deal with two wind energy developers to supply 200 MW each from their projects on Lanai (Castle & Cooke) and Molokai (First Wind). Both companies had proposed 400-MW farms, but HECO says by scaling back those plans, both can proceed without winding up in a court fight over the total package.
Of course, both projects are fantasy without undersea cables to transit their power to Oahu’s population center, and all those details have yet to be addressed – including the cost of laying the cables and the means to pay for the investment. One way or the other, customers will pay this "green energy" premium -- the price for reducing Hawaii's carbon emissions and drastically reducing fossil fuel consumption.
The press release announcing the wind arrangements prominently mentions the intermittent nature of these projects, and that leads us back to this blog's beginnings on March 14, 2008. That’s when we first touted ocean thermal energy conversion as the baseload power game-changer for Hawaii.
We’re pleased of course that wind energy projects appear to be gathering momentum, but without development of steady baseload renewable energy sources or radically improved storage capabilities, intermittent wind power projects will only get us part-way to our goal of eliminating fossil fuel dependence in the islands.
Precious little has been said publicly in the past four months since the Governor’s high-profile announcement about the proposed Lockheed Martin pilot plant off Oahu’s west coast. So please, Lockheed, Governor Lingle, HECO, anybody: Give us some good news about OTEC!