Thursday, January 31, 2008
From the frying pan into the fire
Biodiesel magazine posted what to me is a confusing article yesterday:
Hawaiian environmental advocates oppose palm oil
By Bryan Sims
Web exclusive posted Jan. 30, 2008, at 4:32 p.m. CST
Major environmental and cultural organizations in Hawaii have reaffirmed their stances on opposing a “palm oil pipeline” intended for large-scale biodiesel production on the islands.
Hawaii is the most petroleum-dependent state in terms of electrical production, with more than 90 percent of the state’s energy needs coming from imported oil. Despite abundant renewable energy sources from solar, wind and hydroelectric power, Hawaiian Electric Co. Inc. has spent the past year supporting proposals to construct two large biodiesel plants—one by Imperium Renewables Inc. on Oahu and one by BlueEarth Biofuels LLC on Maui. Both intend to use imported palm oil from Indonesia and/or Maylasia as a feedstock.
In October , HECO and the Natural Resources Defense Council finalized a policy to ensure that HECO’s two electric companies—Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Co.—would only purchase biodiesel fuel produced from locally grown, sustainable feedstocks and palm oil. These feedstocks would comply with international standards established by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, an international organization made up of more than 200 members who represent all facets of the palm oil industry.
I'm just a little confused about where they stand on this. "Despite abundant renewable energy sources from solar, wind and hydroelectric power, Hawaiian Electric Co. Inc. has spent the past year supporting proposals to construct two large biodiesel plants" implies opposition?? I mean, I think we're missing out big time by ignoring sun, wind and wave sources of power. Human too, if you count the replacement value of encouraging bicycle transportation, which we totally ignore. But this is Biodiesel Magazine, after all, shouldn't they be pushing their product?
I've always been confused with the state's policy on both ethanol and now biodiesel. As above, it looks like HECO will only buy biodiesel grown locally. That's cool, unless there isn't any, in which case the above implies that they'll continue to burn imported oil.
Same with the ethanol fiasco. You may know that it seems to require more energy to produce alcohol from corn than the stuff gives back, and of course we're shipping it here from outside, and using expensive petroleum to get it here. Plus, using ethanol for fuel has disrupted much of the world's corn supply as farmers divert production from food to fuel.
This article doesn't compute for me. In fact, the whole thing doesn't compute. Are we planning our alternative energy project the same way we're planning Mufi's train? If so, it's doomed.
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