Monday, April 27, 2009
Renewable Technology Spurt Would Be Likely Result of Law To Ban New Hawaii Fossil Fuel Plants
Blue Planet Foundation head Henk Rogers
addresses rally today at the Hawaii State Capitol.
April 28 Update: According to a Honolulu Star-Bulletin report, a conference committee will resume negotiations on HB 1464 on Wednesday, April 29. The bill would prohibit the construction of any new electricity generation power plants that burn carbon-based fuel. The bill was debated in a conference committee session that began Monday afternoon.
Proponents of the ban gathered at the State Capitol at a rally sponsored by the Blue Planet Foundation within earshot of legislators’ offices. Speakers included Foundation creator Henk Rogers, Governor Linda Lingle and Senator Gary Hooser. Entertainer Henry Kapolo’s electric guitar was powered by solar energy gathered on PV panels provided by Sunetric.
Baseload Renewables in Urgent Demand
A ban on new carbon-based fuels would concentrate everyone's attention on the critical need regarding Hawaii's ongoing energy crisis. It's appropriate to use that word, because a place that relies on burning oil products to generate nearly fourth-fifths of its electricity is in one. This particular crisis has gone on so long that people tend to become desensitized to the problem. Oil prices near $150 per barrel also tend to concentrate one's attention on this issue.
But no crisis exists in meeting power generation requirements anywhere in the islands. Hawaiian Electric Company's new plant on Oahu is intended to use renewable fuels, so it's not as if Honolulu will face brownouts or rolling blackouts over the next decade. What could happen in that time would be the construction and test of Lockheed Martin's planned ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) plant.
Hawaii Energy Options began advocating for OTEC in our very first post in March 2008. HB 1464 could be what pushes OTEC to the forefront -- first in test mode, and if successful, as a baseload 24/7 technology that can tap into the inexhaustible supply of stored solar energy in the tropical ocean around Hawaii. (A report today details the military's adoption of green technology, including the Navy's use of OTEC -- a matter of more than passing interest in light of the Navy's presence in the islands.)
A ban on future carbon-based power plants and the development of a clean baseload technology would be the one-two punch that frees Hawaii from oil's grip and sets a course to achieve and even surpass Hawaii's current goals for the development of green energy in the decades ahead.
Here are scenes from Monday's rally: