We Endorse Sullivan for KIUC Board

SUBHEAD: Island Breath thinks Ben Sullivan is the only candidate with the vision we need to lead our COOP.
By David Ward on 1 March 2009 for Island Breath
Image above: Photo of Ben Sullivan
The energy decisions faced by our community and our COOP are urgent today. Whether it be a Kaua'i family struggling to pay an electric bill, our community addressing spriraling energy cost, or, on the broadest scale, society trying to change course to avoid global climate change, it is time for Kaua'i to put these issues firmly on the table and address them together. Although the actions of the utility are only one piece of this, our COOP is in a position to stand up and galvanize Kaua'i around ending our severe oil dependence. - Ben Sullivan
Enough said. Please vote only for Ben Sullivan. None of us who understand the real risks we face can afford more time lost in a business-as-usual fantasy that has crippled the thinking of most of the other wise intelligent people running for the KIUC Board. This thinking threatens our planet and condemns us all to an unpleasant future.
THE KIUC Board Candidates Forum was held on February 26 and filmed by: Hoike Stream provided By: Hawaii Stream crew. To view the form online:http://www.hawaiistreaming.com/play/index.cfm?fuseaction=embstay&id=12157F04F8&vsize=3&resize=1&SClipID=-1 A coalition of Kauai business, sustainability and student organizations has formed to bring attention to the Kaua`i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) Board elections. There is heightened concern and community discussion about our Island's vulnerability, as we are so heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels to generate our electricity. Moving towards a sustainable energy future is no longer seen as an option, it is understood to be a necessity. How can KIUC continue to provide a reliable level of electricity to our community and make this transition to energy sustainability? The speed and ease of this transition will rely upon good leadership, beginning with our KIUC Board of Directors. The KIUC Board, through their decisions, policies, and contracts, will be responsible for determining our Island�s energy future. Serving on the board is a position that requires serious commitment and an astute understanding of the issues. In order to assist co-op members to make informed voting decisions, a candidates forum was held on Thursday, February 26 at the Kaua`i Community College The forum will also be aired on Ho`ike. For a schedule of showing times, visit MalamaKauai.Org. KIUC Board elections will take place during March. Ballots will be mailed out separately from electric bills. All completed ballots must be returned to KIUC by March 28. KIUC candidates debate energy conservation By Coco Zickos on 01 March 2009 in The Garden Island http://www.kauaiworld.com/articles/2009/03/01/news/kauai_news/doc49aa37d836232757973457.txt

Based upon many of the questions asked at this week’s Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative candidates forum, the main topics on everyone’s minds are energy and economic efficiency and how the potential board members for the electric company would strive to obtain them.

Each candidate presented different opinions on the matters except for Dane Oda and Ray Paler — both current board members — who were absent from the event Thursday at Kaua‘i Community College.

Questions were generated beforehand by representatives from each of the co-sponsors such as Apollo Kaua‘i and Malama Kaua‘i, and the audience was able to participate too by writing down their own questions for specific candidates to address.

While the field of candidates disagreed on several issues, one thing they almost all agreed upon was not permitting a tiered rate program in order to support social and conservation goals.

Candidates were, on the other hand, in favor of implementing more conservation propaganda, including educating the public about ways in which to preserve energy usage in order to cut down on cost.

“There should be some type of instruction to decrease electric usage,” said Stu Burley, program manager for projects at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Mana. “Everyone should be charged the same thing all the way across the board.”

“It’s about public awareness,” said Steve Rapozo, a 32-year veteran of Hawaiian Tel, GTE and Verizon. “Everybody is going through economic times, everybody is learning to sacrifice, everybody is learning to buckle down. If you’ve got a person in dire need to pay their electricity maybe they need to go to a government agency for their support, but I don’t think they should go to KIUC.”

The only opposing candidate on the issue was Ben Sullivan who is in support of creating a “lifeline” rate system.

“I think that there are people in this community that are struggling tremendously to keep the lights on in their house and I think that they deserve to have lights,” said Ben Sullivan, small business owner and former chair of Apollo Kaua‘i. “There are some things that need to be looked at carefully when we implement lifeline rates. ... It should only be for a baseline amount of energy — you get enough electricity every month at a very low rate so that you can keep your lights on and your refrigerator running, but you don’t get to blast the TV and have the Nintendo going 24 hours a day.”

Sullivan received a round of applause after mentioning that those who participate in wasteful acts of energy usage, such as running air conditioning with open windows, yet complain about their high electric bills, should be charged even more as a part of the proposed tiered structure.

“That is not only hurting us, it’s hurting the whole planet,” he said. “You’re going to work harder at conservation if you start paying more incrementally as you use more electricity.”

Each candidate had different ideas as far as what types of renewable energy would be best suited for the island.

Milton Chung, who served 30 years as a firefighter on Kaua‘i and 20 as chief, is an advocate of hydro-electricity and burning trash for fuel.

“Right now we have more water than we know what to do with,” he said. “We’re wasting tons of water without utilizing it for our own good.”

Burley agrees in burning trash with high-energy heat and also believes that KIUC should be more involved in harnessing the powers that Kaua‘i naturally holds, such as ocean current.

“If there was a way to harness the ocean current that flows between Polihale and, let’s say, Waimea, the current is a steady 1.7 knots and you could produce quite a bit of electricity,” he said. “Ocean power is 800 times more than wind power; wind power is variable.”

Another critic of wind power is Chung who said that he “would like to keep our island as pristine as possible without those big, white monstrosities blowing in the wind.”

Joanne Georgi’s thoughts on renewable energy tended to lean towards nuclear technology. One reason she supports this type of energy is because everything is “all about the money.”

“It’s inexpensive and we can bury it right in the ground, right where we have the transmission lines already,” she said. “So, basically, all it would take would be four of these on our island and it would take care of all the needs of our island.”

She also reflected on the expenditures KIUC is currently making on items she deems unnecessary and “wasteful,” such as certain mail-outs members receive on a regular basis.

Sullivan is especially an advocate of changing the way the cooperative does business and said there are several ways energy can be conserved, such as reconsidering the necessity of air conditioning units on Kaua‘i as well as the inclusion of solar water heat.

“We do not need air conditioning here, it was brought here only 20 or 30 years ago, we never had it before, we don’t need it now,” he said. “There are plenty of natural ventilation techniques we can employ and put into the building code that would make a huge difference.”

Whether or not the candidates could agree on specific methods of energy use, one thing they could agree with, according to Pat Griffin, president of the Lihu‘e Business Association, is that they “are together and unified in wanting the best for our island.”

“If we don’t work together to accomplish a common goal, nothing will get done,” said Rapozo. “We have to come up with a common solution as a team.”

“We can get everything we need from clean sources of energy. We’ve got to change,” said Sullivan. “If you look at a picture of the Earth from outer space, it’s finite, so the notion that we can just continue to generate waste is really just saying let’s let our children and our grandchildren deal with it and I don’t subscribe to that.”

Beginning Saturday, KIUC members will be receiving ballots via mail and should have them completed and returned by noon on March 28.To watch the forum online, visit http://www.hawaiistream.com

Island Breath: Kauai Clean Energy Initiative 2/11/09

Island Breath: Water Security is Critical 2/1/09


Anonymous said...

nice bold pic of ben.

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