SUBHEAD: Budding developments in local sustainable energy practices.
By Brad Parsons on 07 February 2009 in The Garden Island
Quoting from the conservative International Energy Agency’s most recent annual report World Energy Outlook, the world’s most authoritative source on global energy trends:
“The world’s energy system is at a crossroads. Current global trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable... But that can, and must, be altered; there’s still time to change the road we’re on. It is not an exaggeration to claim that the future of human prosperity depends on how successfully we tackle the central energy challenges facing us today ... What is needed is nothing short of an energy revolution ... Securing energy supplies and speeding up the transition to a low-carbon energy system both call for radical action by governments — at national and local levels ... Households, businesses and motorists will have to change the way they use energy ... To make it happen, governments have to put in place appropriate financial incentives and regulatory framework that support this.
image above: Wind energy map for Hawaiian Islands. Show potential, not activity. From http://www.state.hi.us/dbedt/ert/wwg/windy.html
”Since the 2008 Kaua‘i Renewable Energy Conference last September, much progress has happened on Kaua‘i with energy use and planning. This column seeks to review some of that and provide follow-up opportunities.
• Positive local indicators — solar power developments
Recently showing up in a number of installed solar power comparisons with leading local regions in the U.S., Kaua‘i now stands out among the Hawaiian Islands for increased large-scale private photovoltaic solar systems being installed including at Wilcox Memorial Hospital, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Costco-Kaua‘i, Longs Drugs-Kaua‘i, Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort & Spa and on some county and school buildings. In recent months, KIUC has also spoken about pursuing a utility scale solar farm on the island. New utility scale wind and hydro projects appear to be a number of years off, but growing use of solar power on Kaua‘i is here and now.
Last legislative session a new statewide solar water heating law went into effect. In Hawai‘i, water heating often accounts for a very substantial amount of the total energy used in homes. There are rebate and tax incentives to assist homeowners in purchasing and installing solar hot water heaters. For more information, call KIUC energy specialists at 246-8284 and 246-8282.
Also coming up: KIUC’s Board of Director’s candidates forum, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Feb. 26, at Kaua‘i Community College student lounge. Sponsored by Apollo Kaua‘i, Kaua‘i Planning and Action Alliance, Lihu’e Business Association, KCC Student Association and Malama Kaua‘i.
More than half, and in most cases two-thirds, of all petroleum consumed by Americans are with their automobiles. In Hawai‘i, of total petroleum consumption about one-third is consumed by ground transport due to the increased portion of petroleum used by utilities in the state.
Recently, Kaua‘i County instituted more efficient bus routes, if not significantly more buses, with even Mayor Carvalho riding on and promoting the bus. Wilcox Hospital has also begun a neat incentive program for their employees riding the bus, worthy of being emulated.
Additional developments with regard to automobiles, energy use, and resource planning appear in Gov. Lingle’s recently proposed Comprehensive Six-Year Highways Modernization Plan that she will be speaking about in a few days here on Kaua‘i.
The plan proposes that the average car owner in Hawai‘i pay $170 a year more in fees and taxes. The plan further breaks that down to on average $70 more for the weight of the car, $20 more for the registration fee on the car, and $80 more for the annual gas tax increases. In total, it would nearly double the dollar amount for average annual vehicle registrations.
Given the future of energy as mentioned in the current annual report of the International Energy Agency, which is now forecasting a diametrically different energy and therefore transportation future that will be here as soon as 2020, the proposed plan with very little funding for pedestrian, bicycling, or bus systems appears to not properly take into consideration the dramatic shift in transportation needs that will take place locally and throughout the state over the next 10 to 15 years during the life and bonded commitment in the current version of the plan presented to the Legislature.
• Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative.
The Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative is a systematic effort to transform the entire state economy from dependency of close to 90 percent of its energy from fossil fuels to meeting the state’s energy needs with 70 percent clean energy (primarily with renewables and efficiency) by 2030. Currently there are a number of laws being drafted in the Hawai’i Legislature intended to provide the incentives and infrastructure to allow this to happen.
Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative and what it means for Kaua‘i: Hear more about strategic changes planned for Hawai‘i’s energy policies and renewable energy sources. National, state and local energy officials will discuss the state’s initiative and Kaua‘i’s potential to implement more sustainable energy practices.
The event is organized by Kaua‘i Planning & Action Alliance in partnership with Apollo Kaua‘i, KEDB and KIUC. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Feb. 10, at Lihu‘e Missionary Church auditorium. Doors open at 6 p.m. For more information, call KPAA at 632-2005.