Monday, March 12, 2012

 

When will sunshine return to the Hawaii Govt?



By Henry Curtis

On March 7, 2012, a secret ocean energy meeting was held at the Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu.

This was the first meeting of the Hawaii Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Renewable Energy Task Force sponsored by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) .

DBEDT’s Mark Glick, Andrea Gill, and Cameron Black made presentations

After the event occurred, I emailed Cameron Black, a Permitting Specialist at DBEDT’s Energy Office. He responded:  

"The Task Force focuses on demonstration and commercial facility development and permitting on the OCS.  BOEM issues sea floor leases outside 3 miles for wind, wave, current, and compressed air storage.  So, lots of project possibilities were presented.  The inter-island cable and off-shore Oahu development were topics of discussion, given the pending HECO RFP.

BOEM invited around 45 federal, state, and local government bodies, including the military, to participate.  A list of attendees should be made public soon.

Yes, all Task Force meetings are open to the public, but BOEM OCS task forces are inter-governmental only.  Guests can ask questions or provide input, but cannot be on the Task Force.   Next meeting should be May/June."

After the event occurred, I also emailed another attendee, Mary Elaine Helix, a Biologist with the Office of the Environment BOEM, Pacific Region

Yes this was the first State/Federal Governmental Taskforce Meeting. The Governor of Hawaii requested that our agency, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (in the Department of the Interior) set up an intergovernmental taskforce to discuss the potential for renewable energy in Federal waters 3 miles to 200 miles offshore the islands. Governor Abercrombie is interested in being self sufficient energy wise and substantially reducing Hawaii's dependence on tankered oil. Because of all the different laws and regulations by local, state, tribal and federal governments, this taskforce provides an avenue to coordinate, share information about different projects and needs, jointly identify and share costs for environmental studies as needed, and be aware of project applications coming into the state and federal agencies.

We are Federal land managers for the land under the ocean in Federal waters as it relates to ocean energy projects. This area off Hawaii is very deep and so many technologies would not work there. However, renewable energy is an emerging industry and the potential for floating wind or other sources is possible sometime in the future. In the meantime, Hawaii (through the University and Department of Energy) is hosting testing of some renewable energy technologies. We are anticipating that we may receive applications for research leases (different than commercial leases) in the next year off Hawaii.

Our agency will also become involved with permitting right of ways for power cables traversing federal waters that are not contained in a Sanctuary, Refuge, Park or other protected status area. DOE is preparing a programmatic EIS to look at future renewable energy including interconnecting cables between the islands and potential types of renewable energy that might tie into it. We will be a cooperating agency for that EIS to make sure that right of way issues are covered in the document. We discussed the possibility of meeting again in May or June to provide a forum for state, local and federal agencies and Native Hawaiians to discuss this EIS, and give input to DOE.  If you would like to track this process, please let me know and I can add your name to the list of folks receiving information.”

Those wishing to receive Task Force email alerts need to send an email request to
"John Smith"   John.Smith@boem.gov


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