Such is the case when everyone lives, breathes and sleeps oil dependency depression and renewable energy enthusiasm. Moderator Jay Fidell started the session off by saying the program’s title should be “the State of Energy in the State of Energy.” It’s true; we all really are in a state about the imperative to develop Hawaii’s abundant renewable resources.
Several panelists described their work to reduce the pain as quickly as possible. Joel Matsunaga, chief operating officer of Hawaii BioEnergy, covered his young company’s efforts to grow biofuel alternatives to jet fuel, the mother’s milk of the state’s tourism industry. (Hawaii Public Radio’s Energy Futures program will focus on the effort to develop alternatives to jet fuel on Monday, January 11 from 5-6 pm HST on KIPO-FM; the show also is streamed on the Internet.)
Matsunaga noted that one acre of palm trees yields 600 gallons of palm oil in one year, whereas one acre of micro-algae production can produce 10,000 gallons in that period due to algae's 12-day turnaround.
Ameresco senior project developer David Moakley described how his company partners with clients to reduce their energy consumption by making capital investments to upgrade their equipment and share in the energy savings. “We’ll cut you a check for the shortfall” if Ameresco doesn’t meet a client’s conservation goals, he said.
Numerous other speakers described their operations without straying far from the briefing’s theme, which was summarized by Senator Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee.