Friday, May 8, 2009

Keeping Tabs: Oil Price Jumps to 6-Month High

It’s nothing to be alarmed about, say the economists. The recent price rise to above $58/barrel has nothing to do with supply and demand and most likely reflects optimism among investors.

That may be reassuring elsewhere but not Hawaii, where the cost of virtually everything depends on the price of oil. Sure, the price is only about 40% of the high mark last July, but it’s 20% more than it was in early April and 54% higher than in late December. No wonder the electric bill is creeping up, month by month.

T. Boone Pickens has a piece at Huffington Post’s Green site today that promotes his natural gas solution to getting off imported oil. That aside, when Pickens takes note of an upswing in “the oil price roller coaster,” we probably ought to pay attention.

Another 25-percent increase in the price from where we are today and we’ll be back to half of last summer’s all-time high. All of which is to say, now that the drama of the legislative session is behind us, it’s time to refocus on renewable energy developments in Hawaii.

So whatever happened to plans to build a pilot ocean thermal energy conversion plant here? It’s been six months since the Governor popped the cork on that one while on a trade trip to Taiwan – and there’s been nothing official about it since.

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