Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Inter-Island Planning Begins To Link Four Hawaii Islands in Grid

The Advertiser's graphic with today's cable story.
Planning for an inter-island electrical cable network is advancing, according to a page one story in the Honolulu Advertiser today. The network would be both a hedge against future oil prices and a way to significantly reduce the use of oil in Hawaii’s energy mix.

The multi-billion dollar project as envisioned would enable the development of up to 400 megawatts of wind power on the islands of Molokai and Lanai for transmissions to Oahu, the state’s population center. The article breaks down spending on the project to date.

The development costs eventually would be shouldered by electric customers and taxpayers. The price of oil presumably will continue to rise in the decade ahead (it more than doubled in 2009), so a pricing formula for cable-delivered wind power could cost less than continuing the state’s reliance of oil for the generation of nearly 80 percent of its electricity.

The other consideration in favor of building the cable is that the neighbor island wind farms could significantly cut the state’s carbon footprint. The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative calls for 40 percent of the state’s energy requirement to be supplied by renewable projects by 2030, with another 30 percent shaved off the peak by conservation.

And two decades beyond that is an unofficial goal that Hawaii will use no carbon-based fuel by 2050 – something we’ve been advocating for some time now. Our grandkids will still be youngsters in their 40s by then, and it’s their generation most of us are planning for.

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