Friday, October 8, 2010

Kauai Eyes 3-MW Solar Farm with Batteries

Is it just me, or is everything moving faster these days? It’s been an month since the previous post here. I had a good excuse, and the good news is that my wife’s leg has mended nicely over the weeks – and out of necessity, I’ve been perfecting my smoothy!

The big news in Hawaii renewable energy circles today is the 3-megawatt solar farm planned for the island of Kauai. Today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser has the story.

It’s good to see developments like this on Kauai, which is served by the state’s only utility that isn’t a Hawaiian Electric Company subsidiary. The other islands enjoy most of the renewable energy publicity, which is understandable.

OTEC’s Still Out There

Jay Fidell of ThinkTech Hawaii has been doing a better job than this website recently in staying in touch with energy developments in the Aloha State. Jay’s column last Sunday noted that ocean thermal energy conversion is still on “simmer” thanks to Lockheed Martin’s decades-long slow crawl toward a viable project in Hawaii.

It’s somewhat amusing that a website called Creative Loafing had a post last week on OTEC, an “introductory” for newcomers to the concept. We’re still high on OTEC, but “loafing” pretty much describes the rate with which OTEC has been progressing over the years.

A senior state official shared a tad of OTEC optimism at Hawaiian Electric’s Energy Expo last week, noting that the U.S. Navy will enhance OTEC’s prospects here by buying the first plant’s power output. We’ve always thought OTEC would live or die on whether the Navy devotes a significant chunk of its budget money to advance the technology, and maybe that’ll eventually be the case. Don’t count it out as long as Dan Inouye remains chairman of the United States Senate's Appropriations Committee.

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