Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blame It on the Holidays; We Get Back to Business as Legislature Opens Session with Energy a Big Concern

This break has lasted way too long, and we’ve let too many headline-making renewable energy issues go by without comment since our most recent post in early December. Today’s opening of the Hawaii State Legislature’s 2012 session is reason enough to get back at it. (See our Yes2Rail blog to know what we’ve been up to.)

Still big on the state's energy agenda is the Big Wind project slated for Molokai and Lanai. If anything, the opposition has strengthened its hand in the past couple months, continuing to build on its public and media relations campaign with frequent emails and postings to their websites.

The IAlohaMolokai group has its own channel on YouTube now and has posted videos of its PSAs, energy festival, legislators’ visits and other occasions.

Geothermal energy continues to attract interest and spark enthusiasm. Hawaii Electric Light Company said earlier this month it will begin soliciting bids for and additional 50 megawatts of this baseload power.

Just today, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (subscription) reported on the deep cut in the cost to install installation photovoltaic systems in the islands. The decline was attributed to a worldwide overproduction of panels and the increase in local competition among installers and is good news for consumers who’ve been tempted to take the plunge.

As usual, what little enthusiasm we see for ocean thermal energy conversion is self-generated, although a piece in The Economist early this month wrapped up recent developments that include a modest starter plant in the Caribbean. This blog began nearly four years ago in a fit of pique over OTEC’s usual absence from the renewable energy discussion in the islands, but at least it’s no longer virtually out of sight and mind.

Some continue to believe at least a portion of the state’s push on the not-likely Big Wind project should be diverted toward OTEC, and we're one of them. Maybe this will be the year for a breakthrough on OTEC’s presence in the islands – but we’ve said that before.

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