Friday, October 30, 2009

State Takes First Step in Power Connection Between the Counties

The Superferry concept that for a while created a new link between the islands didn’t pan out, but maybe an undersea power cable will.

The State has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to conduct an environmental impact statement on a cable whose principal purpose would be to transmit wind power generated in Maui County to the state’s largest population concentration on Oahu.

“Big Wind” the plan is called and would equally split 400 megawatts of new wind generation between Lanai and Molokai; most or all of the power would be fed to Oahu. This and other renewable projects are part of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative – the cooperative effort among state and federal governments and private industry to slash Hawaii’s dependence on fossil fuels in the coming two decades.

Here’s another link to the latest development, including details on the RFP.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hawaiian Electric To Receive $5.3 Million in Grid Upgrade Funding

Here’s news that offers some hope that day-long power outages might be a thing of the past. How’s that for over-arching optimism?

Hawaiian Electric Company will receive $5.3 million of the $3.4 billion the Obama Administration has set aside for Smart Grid Investment Grants to improve the stability of the nation’s power grids.

Each of Hawaii’s island utility companies operates as a – well, an island – unconnected with any other power sources or grids, so our utilities have even better reasons to operate at maximum efficiency and quality.

Oahu residents remember the December 26, 2008 power outage reportedly caused by lightning that lasted half a day or longer for many. We can’t imagine that $5.3 million will go far in toughening up local power grids, but anything that helps keep the lights on is long overdue.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Catching Up with the News: Volunteers Will Draw a Disturbing Blue Line

This site has taken a back seat while we traveled to a time zone 12 hours distant from home, but we’re catching up with a compilation of energy-related items. Thanks for visiting over the past week despite the sameness of our material here.

Blue Line Project

Hawaii hasn’t held any cabinet meetings 20 feet beneath the waves like they just did in the Maldives, but we have as much motivation as those islands to fight against global warming and sea level rise.

Every island does – especially those that have chosen (as Hawaii has) to build right up to the coastline. One meter of sea level rise in this century – the IPCC’s conservative estimate – will create big problems for our grandchildren. We do care about our grandchildren, don’t we?

Thousands of volunteers of all ages will “draw the line on climate change” Saturday, October 24 throughout Hawaii. The blue line they’ll chalk will mark the high-water incursion where the likely impacts will be for one meter of sea level rise. Sign-ups are still being taken at the project’s website.

HPR’s “Energy Futures” Show

The inspiration for the Blue Line Project might well be Professor Chip Fletcher of the University of Hawaii. Fletcher studies sea level rise at home and around the Pacific and has had an impact on public consciousness with his computer-generated graphic. Yes, the computer draws a blue line – at many places far from the beach – to show locations of the high-water impacts.

Before leaving for France, we recorded a Hawaii Public Radio Energy Futures program with Fletcher and Associate Professor of Law Maxine Burkett, who directs the Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy at UH’s William S. Richardson School of Law. The show will be broadcast at 5 pm HST October 26 on KIPO-FM (89.3) and streamed on the Internet at that hour on HPR’s website.

HECO Promotes Electric Cars

Lastly, word comes today from Detroit that Hawaiian Electric Company has joined with 18 other utilities in the nation to promote the development of electric vehicles.

HECO President and CEO Dick Rosenblum said Hawaii “is a natural laboratory for developing and testing plug-in electric vehicles.” With relatively short commuting distances and new sources of renewable energy that can be used for off-peak battery charging, “we can be the place people come to see and experience EVs in action,” he said.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Chief Has His Say; Meanwhile, Searching for a Better Translation of 'Stromeinspeisungsgesetz.' Anybody?

A short post tonight just to send you elsewhere for a quickie report on Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Chairman Carlito Caliboso’s appearance on a public radio program today.

It’s not every day someone in his seat sits for an hour of “live” broadcasting with questions from callers, but Caliboso did, and that has to be good for the average consumer’s understanding of the complex energy issues facing our state.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hawaii Feed-In Tariff Mechanism Collecting Endorsements

We’re not much into predictions except at New Year’s, but we’ll make one now: The Feed-In Tariff decision and order by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission will generate more ink during the fourth quarter of ’09 than any other renewable energy topic in the 50th State.

Today’s Honolulu Advertiser headlines its editorial, “Isles take step toward green energy future” and leads off:

“The state has taken a critical first major step toward driving energy production with renewable sources by adopting rules that give companies an incentive to produce ’green’ electricity.”

We’ll probe just what the PUC’s action means when we host Chairman Carlito Caliboso on Hawaii Public Radio’s Energy Futures program next Monday.

Our hope (and expectation) is that renewable developers will use this rare opportunity to question Chairman Caliboso by calling the show. The numbers are 941-3689 on Oahu and toll-free from the neighbor islands and beyond, 1-877-941-3689.

Energy Futures is heard on KIPO-FM (89.3) each Monday 5-6 pm and also is streamed on the Internet.