Sunday, February 6, 2011

‘Big Wind’ Hearing Evokes Strong Opposition on Lanai; Residents Decry Major Impacts, Lack of Energy Options

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, so we’re obligated to connect with football, just as we did at another blog last week on Pro Bowl Sunday.

THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!!! yelled Arizona Cardinal Coach Dennis Green four seasons ago after the Chicago Bears stormed back to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

And Lanai residents are who we thought they were, too. Yesterday’s hearing to gather comments on the Hawaii Interisland Renewable Energy Program – dubbed “Big Wind” by promoters – evoked strong opposition, as reported today in the Maui News.

We trust the reporter accurately described their reaction, and we’ll recommend her story for the details. But one comment jumped out – the complaint by Lanai resident Beverly Zigmond that no energy alternatives are listed in the project’s documentation. “The choices are big wind or nothing,” she said.

For the Record

Castle & Cooke was presented a few years ago with a plan to revolutionize Lanai’s energy use by using an ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) plant anchored a few miles off shore that would free the island completely from its virtually total dependence on fossil fuel.

The plant would have produced more than enough power to satisfy the island’s demand for electricity, as well as abundant quantities of potable water (always an island concern) and hydrogen. Electric- and hydrogen-powered vehicles would have provided transportation, and the island likely would have become a magnet for green energy enthusiasts around the world; visitors would have found two (currently money-losing) world-class resorts waiting to accommodate them.

For whatever reason, the company didn’t bite at the opportunity to facilitate the development of Hawaii’s first commercial scale OTEC plant, and the acclaim to be enjoyed for that distinction will be someone else’s legacy.

The point of today’s post is to suggest that there are indeed alternatives to wind power in Hawaii, and that goes for each of the islands. As we noted here not long ago, the state undoubtedly needs all renewable technologies to reach its aggressive clean energy goals. Wind, geothermal, solar, biomass, waste and ocean energy all have their place.

As of now, it seems Lanai and Molokai residents are unconvinced that their islands are the place for Big Wind.

1 comment:

Steveo said...

Big Wind, big money, big companies, big campaign contributions, big kickbacks.

Distributed generation is the way to go, power system on every roof. You want protection from terrorism? Distribute!