Sunday, January 23, 2011

 

The Lana`i - Moloka`i - O`ahu Electric Triangle


By Henry Curtis

The Hawai`i Energy Policy Forum held a Briefing at the State Capitol (January 21, 2011) focusing in part on the Big Wind / Interisland cable proposal (a.k.a. the Lana`i - Moloka`i - O`ahu Electric Triangle).


Background

Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) founded the Hawaii Energy Policy Forum (HEPF) in 2001-02 in response to their defeat before the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) re the Wa`ahila Ridge 138-kV Transmission Line project (1971-2002).

The Forum is now attached to the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawai`i, Manoa.

The Forum has 48 members overseen by a 14 member steering committee. Three State Legislators and the aides to the four members of Hawai`i delegation to Congress are members. Representatives of numerous federal, state and county agencies are non-voting members.

HEPF is funded by the State Legislature to advise the State Legislature.

The Chairs of the Hawai`i House and Senate Energy Committees are members.

The HEPF held its sixth Legislative Briefing at the State Capitol this past Friday. Jay Fidell emceed. Fourteen speakers including the Chairs of the Senate and House Energy Committees and the Chair of the Public Utilities Commission addressed the crowd.


HEPF Legislative Briefing (January 22, 2011)

Representative Mina Morita: "You know various vehicles that will be introduced to be delved into that will be, delving into the financing, ownership, and regulation of the interisland cable, and, I cannot tell you how important the cable and two wind farms ... They are a key part of this initiative.  The recent announcements of the community benefit agreements by Castle & Cooke and Hawaiian Electric Company for the Lana`i wind project can open up real substantive discussions for both the Lana`i and Molokai communities, and so I think an important discussion to have in the Legislature is the State’s role in enforcing the terms and conditions of these agreements, especially when these agreements are contingent on the State’s permitting and approval process."

Robbie Alm: "Wind continues to play a big part. We do expect to see wind from Kahuku hopefully within the next couple of months. We do have the term sheet with Castle and Cooke. ... I want to leave with a couple of thoughts. Now that we are getting down to it, now we are going to have some, some fun times here. And I like to suggest we all watch out for two things.

One is NIMBYism. Everybody love renewable energy until it comes to them next door, and at that point it’s like oh I love renewable energy, but not that one. You know if we’re going to allow that to stop us were we won’t make it. We just won’t. If every, if every community does not see itself as being a part of this we really are going to get stuck where we are today. And so I think we should all congratulate the Kahuku-Laie community for accepting that wind farm out there. Good for them. ...and we need other communities to do that. If you haven’t driven out there, it’s not hidden. If you miss it you shouldn’t be driving a car. It is part of the community and there okay, there okay with it.

And number two is zero sum thinking and Mike [Hamnett] mentioned it. There is room for all. If you ever sat down and calculated how many megawatt hours it will take to achieve 40% RPS it’s a staggering number. If every project that is on the books went forward we’d be about half way there. It’s a stunning number in megawatt hours. We can’t shoot at each other, folks. Everybody should support everybody else and everybody should be successful."

There are many ways for Hawai`i to achieve 100% energy self-reliance. The HECO plan just squeaks by the 70% goal, so that nothing may be taken away from their plan in order to achieve the goal.

Many people believe that the NIMBY argument being used against Neighbor Island residents is weak and arrogant. After all, HECO chose wind sites on O`ahu based in part on NIMBYism and in part on where their executives live and work.

According to HECO/DBEDT Wind Maps the absolute best wind site on O`ahu is along the Kahala and Aina Haina coast, from Diamond Head to Wailupe Circle, on shore and off shore. The water is shallow up to the reef which makes it ideal for offshore structures. This region of Kahala - Aina Haina is mostly class 4 wind with a broad belt of class 5 coming ashore at Black Point and near Haunama Bay.



The best land spot includes Kulamanu St, Papu Circle, Kaimoo Pl, Black Point Rd, and the Shangri La Islamic Art Museum.


The quality of wind here far exceeds the quality of wind at sites on O`ahu that HECO proposed: Kahe (mostly class 3 wind with small areas of class 4 and 5 sites) and Kahuku (mostly class 3 with small areas of class 4) sites.


HEPF Legislative Briefing (January 22, 2011)

Mike Hamnett, Hawai`i Energy Policy Forum Co-Chair, RCUH Executive Director: “Members of the Energy Policy Forum have watched the Clean Energy Initiative evolve, and we were not as heavily involved in it as I had hoped we would be"

There was a reason that the Forum did not get heavily involved with the HCEI. Many Forum members of the Hawai`i Energy Policy Forum were not happy with the October 2008 Agreement.

The Hawai`i Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) Energy Agreement focuses on four things: keeping the utility whole (profitable), streamlining regulations, advancing the utility's preferred plan and increasing renewables. The Agreement calls for automatic approval, weakening air permit regulations, subsidies for using palm oil, and reversing recent decisions by the Public Utilities Commission. The issues are not linked, and various parties fight for some and against others, while claiming that they support the entire agreement.

Hawaii Energy Policy Forum Meeting (December 1, 2008)

Answers to Questions from the Hawaii Energy Policy Forum re October 2008 Energy Agreement

HECO responded to the 120 questions raised by Forum members. The Forum wanted to know who could sell electricity via the interisland grid. “Who determines the hierarchy of the cable use, if additional energy is available on neighbor islands?” Robbie Alm stated: “Open question. Same kinds of standards apply here that apply to managing the grid in general.”


Other questions dealt with the cost of the cable. “Will the economics of the inter-island cable system be examined? ” DBEDT Director Liu stated “We will not go forward with the cable system before there is an economic evaluation in a public forum.”

There was a question on whether the Parties have really taken a close look at all of the alternatives. Robbie Alm stated: “Cable technology and pricing has improved to the point where HI should look at cabling all the islands together. Once cable is in, using RE [renewable energy] wherever it occurs in the island chain is huge."

Did Ku`oko`a get their idea to link all the islands together from HECO?

Follow-up MeetingHEPF General Membership Meeting (December 17, 2008)


Follow Up Discussion on the October 2008 Energy Agreement ... The PV industry is exceedingly concerned about PV host; have talked to industry people and it seems the utility has talked to customers and told them to wait a few months using the justification that the PV industry isn’t serving that need now. After the briefing, equally concerned, and subsequently more concerned. ...It seems as if they [HCEI] are picking winners of certain technologies rather than other types of renewable energy types ...For those involved in HCEI, the sooner they can get their proposed legislation to HEPF for consideration, the better. We need time to have our vetting process. ...There is an issue of speed; a lot of decisions are being made very quickly.

Two years later the Forum is now seekingt to be a player in the HCEI arena.


HEPF Legislative Briefing (January 22, 2011)

Mike Hamnett, Hawai`i Energy Policy Forum Co-Chair, RCUH Executive Director: "In discussions with the Chair of the Public Utilities Commission and with people involved with the Clean Energy Initiative, I suggested we needed some public, next slide, we need some public dialogue on ...at least the major strategies that are proposed in the Clean Energy Initiative. ...


Those of you who have read the Clean Energy Initiative document, it is chopped through with all sorts of proposals for all sorts of technologies. Four of the strategies in the Clean Energy Initiative that are carrying the heavy load here has been referred to as Big Wind, those are wind farms on Lana`i and Moloka`i, seabed cable running to O`ahu. ...

There's 62 new renewable energy projects planned, seeking sites and/or financing, or vying for permits or under construction. Those are wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, ocean energy, waves to energy, and the conclusion for me at least, and at least several people who have said that, these things are not in competition. We are going to need it all to come anywhere near meeting our clean energy goals."

That is the official line being pushed. There Is No Alternative (TINA). We must have it all. If you oppose anything then you are really opposing renewable energy and energy security. If you think --> then you are a NIMBYist. Go along, get along. Don't question the assumptions or the "facts."



Steve Lindenberg: “I’m here today to talk about, sort of, where have we come and where are we going. ...I’m here on a one year assignment from the Department of Energy in Washington D.C. I’m spending my time working on the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative as well as some other activities across the Pacific. ... Here’s what we try to do in the Clean Energy Initiative. We’re trying to bring together a broad group of stakeholders, we have quite a number now, pretty soon, some day down the road, we’ve got to have everybody in the State as a stakeholder in this process.” 


Steve Lindenberg produced a list of activities that happened as a result of the HCEI Agreement. As proof that the HCEI Agreement is working, Steve Lindenberg included on his list, items that were constructed years before the HCEI Agreement arose as a concept, items that were planned before but implemented after the date of the HCEI Agreement, and items done by parties who have nothing to do with the HCEI Agreement. 

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Comments:

I will personally take a Hawaiian vacation if you guys build wind farms between Kahala and 'Aina Haina.
 


The idea of covering one-quarter of Lana'i island with generators to feed Oahu and put a quarter $billion/year into Murdock's pockets is the height of green-washing.

What happens when Homeland Security designates 1/4th of Lana'i as a security zone (as they have done with our harbors) and lock out Lana'i residents who subsistence hunt and fish there?

Why doesn't Lana'i get a break on their killer electric rates - especially important because Castle and Cook won't let them put up clothes lines. (There's a state law that Murdock guys can't do this...but who's gonna buck 'em when your job and home depend on keeping on good terms with Castle and Cooke?)

The idea that this will bring jobs is nonsense. Turbines are built elsewhere. It requires specialized crews to erect them. Maybe locals will get to do a little land clearing...but since they don't own the heavy equipment, how much do you want to bet the company and laborers come from Oahu?

After they're built, there isn't much labor required so that won't help the Lana'i economy.

So tell me about NIMBYism...isn't it OAHU who is being the NIMBY? Put your wind farm on the island that's using it!

And btw, I am a big proponent of wind...but done right. Spending 1-2 $billion on an undersea cable is nuts when that same amount of money would put solar hot water on every single building in the State, thus saving 40% of domestic electricity use.
 


Well put Maui Resident, this cable is something that ought to be published as a wiki-leaks "cable" put this money into direct distributed generation, hot water and PV where it is used. Big project, big money, big profits, big kickbacks, big campaign contributions. Big BS
 

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