Thursday, November 17, 2011

Buried Lead: Murdock Says Lanai Island Is for Sale; Big Wind Project Faces Climb up a Glass Mountain; Oil Costs Are Up Again, Drive Electricity Rates to All-Time High

The Star-Advertiser's graphic tells the rising-power cost story.
Once again we’re playing catch-up here at Energy Options due to the ongoing need to spend most of our time over at Yes2Rail. The anti-rail minority’s obfuscation and dumbed-down arguments need attending to each day.

We may be wrong, but we’ve found only one online mention of billionaire David Murdock’s recent declaration that he intends to sell the island of Lanai. Civil Beat mentions it almost parenthetically in the third part of its series on the Big Wind energy project and the opposition it faces on that island and by Molokai residents.

Part one deals with Molokai, which appears to be in near-total denial about the 200-MW wind farm proposed for the island; part two covers the divisions within Lanai’s community, and part three describes an uneasy future for the project.


Brushing past this series without spending more time on it is definitely uncomfortable, but there’s just no time to dwell on it today. Nor do we have time to recount the presentation made to Mr. Murdock’s representatives a few years ago on how ocean thermal energy conversion could allow Lanai to achieve total independence from fossil fuels and supply abundant fresh water to the island.

Maybe whoever purchases Lanai from Mr. Murdock will give the proposal more attention, now that OTEC is advancing in the Caribbean and even on the Big Island.

Word from the National Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) is that its board of directors has selected OTEC International to build a 1-MW OTEC demonstration project at NELHA’s Big Island facility.  As for OTEC elsewhere, the technology is making headlines, including one above a story that complains OTEC and other water-based renewable technologies haven’t received enough attention in California.

Out on Guam, Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation will be using a $50,000 grant to conduct a feasibility study for an OTEC plant on that island. And you’ll find other OTEC stories if you use to find them.

Attention corporations and individual billionaires eager to own your own tropical paradise: It’s not too late to leave your mark on history by bringing a commercial-sized OTEC plant to the former Pineapple Isle. It would then be known forevermore as the OTEC Isle.

Electricity Rate Record

Never before have electricity costs been higher in Hawaii – and that means the highest in the country except for small outposts in Alaska and other remote locations. For the third consecutive month, Hawaiian Electric’s rates have climbed to new levels – 34.6 cents/kwh for residential customers this month. The Star-Advertiser has the story (subscription).

This is an unsustainable condition. Renewable energy’s development has never had more urgency. Let’s see something done with a technology that holds the most long-term promise – OTEC – and not a easier-to-build short-term solution – Big Wind – that has unacceptable environmental and economic costs.

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