KIUC candidates' answers

SUBHEAD: The KIUC board candidates were each asked three questions by the Garden Island News. Here are the results. Image above: The Human Energy Convertor (H.E.C.) was 14-human powered electric generator capable of a sustained 1kw at 24 volts. This may be our KIUC future if bad planning continues. From ( [Publisher's note: The following opinions are those of Juan Wilson concerning the KIUC board candidates. They are based solely on the responses of the candidates to the TGI questions detailed below. Other Island Breath editors have varying opinions. We realize that future circumstances may make a difference how we might vote. None the less, at this date if we were to vote for three candidates we recommend Carol Bain, Pat Gegen, and Allan Smith. We were to vote two candidates we recommend Carol Bain and Pat Gegen. We have re-ordered the responses to the questions in our order of preference of the candidates.] By Staff on 21 February 2010 in Garden Island News - ( A candidates forum will be held at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, at the Kaua‘i Community College cafeteria in Puhi. Ballots will be mailed to all members early next month for the March 27 election. Members will also be able to vote online and by phone. Visit for more information. The five candidates running to serve on the KIUC Board of Directors were asked the following three preliminary questions.

1. In 200 words or less, why are you running to serve on the KIUC Board of Directors?

2. In 100 words or less, what experience and/or expertise will you bring to the board?

3. In 200 words or less, what would you do as a board member to help the co-op meet its renewable energy goals? (Generating at least 50 percent of its electricity renewably without burning fossil fuels by 2023).

Below are the candidates response.

Carol Bain *****

1. Two key reasons I am running to serve on the KIUC Board of Directors:

• To guide the KIUC team to reach strategic goals, including reducing our fossil fuel dependence through conservation, efficiency, renewable alternatives.

• To encourage KIUC to recognize the cooperative member as the owner and move away from the investor-owned utility mindset of viewing owners as customers. To better communicate with its members, KIUC shall consider all as partners working together on energy solutions.

KIUC has a tremendous renewable resource that can be tapped: its own membership. As second term KIUC board member, my next priority is to involve our members in the energy challenges that face Kaua‘i. Together, we are the energy solutions leaders.

In 2007, I ran for KIUC board to get access to the information that I knew board members had and succeeded. Once “inside” I became impressed with the highly qualified staff I met. I am confident KIUC has the technical expertise to meet strategic goals, but as a board member my role is to guide our cooperative toward timely completion by keeping on budget, staying informed, asking hard questions, and correct the path if we are off-point.

2. My formal education includes a M Ed. in Educational Communications and Technology and a B.S. in Public Communication and Journalism. I have taught college level communications and journalism courses, and know the importance of research and planning to achieve better outcomes. I own a media production and consulting company. As an experienced grant writer, I understand budgeting for successful projects, the importance of timelines and ongoing evaluation process.

I have three years experience as a cooperative utility board member, served as Policy Chair in 2009, and as a Credentialed Cooperative Director, completed over 15 energy-related workshops including Financial Decision Making; Director Duties & Liabilities; Understanding the Electric Business; Strategic Planning, etc.

I bring the good common sense of an educator, business and home owner and 27-year resident to ask hard questions, demand open communications with membership, and commitment to represent the best interest of all KIUC members.

3. Our electric utility and our island are in a time of transition from energy dependence to independence. During the past three years as a KIUC board member, I contributed a sense of urgency to initiate projects to reduce our dependence upon fossil fuel. Over 2 MW of solar PV systems have been installed on the island and contribute renewable electric energy into our grid every day. Renewable projects are planned, including hydro, biomass, solar thermal and solar PV, that I will continue to support as a board member.

In January 2010, along with other board members, I witnessed the installation of a solar PV project on a KIUC warehouse roof that will provide 68-kilowatt of renewable energy from sunny Port Allen. Every day the sun shines, less fossil fuel will be used.

KIUC has a tighter budget and a vision of energy leadership now, but must be guided along this path. As a board member, I will vote to prioritize conservation projects, oversee the planned implementation of “Smart Grid” technology, and alternatives to fossil fuel.

I will be there to ask the hard questions if renewable energy and conservation projects are delayed, and will be part of the board team to guide KIUC to successfully reach the 50 percent goal by 2023.

Pat Gegen ****

1. I am running for KIUC Board of Directors because I am frustrated with the current board’s actions and their inaction toward meeting the goals they set for themselves or those that have been set by the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative.

After attending the board meetings for the past year I have been witness to many votes that have been contradictory in nature to the stated long-term goals and have not been in the best long-term interest for KIUC’s member owners or our beautiful island. Too many decisions are based on short-term goals that will not set the utility up well into the future. Changes are occurring now but sometimes only because they are being forced on KIUC.

We need a Board of Directors that is focused on the long-term good of the co-op and the island, a board that is looking out for its members’ best interest going forward. I feel that with my background in the energy field and my vision for a clean and renewable based energy future for Kaua‘i I can help guide our utility to be a co-op the member owners can be proud of.

2. I have been involved in the energy field for the past 13 years in a variety of positions. Currently I am a consultant on the design/build team for Honolulu Sea Water Air Conditioning which is going to use the thermal dynamics of the ocean to cool office buildings in downtown Honolulu saving approximately 70 percent of the energy currently used to air condition these buildings.

Prior to this I was involved in the oil and gas industry for over 11 years where my focus was on safety, environmental excellence and profitable production. I was responsible for setting and executing multi-million-dollar budgets and projects as well as the day-to-day operations of the 8th largest and one of the cleanest oil refineries in the United States. Prior to this energy field experience I was a school counselor and teacher for five years in the Kaua‘i District before and after Hurricane Iniki.

3. To help KIUC meet its renewable energy goals I would not have voted for a work plan which includes a fossil-fuel generator like the current board approved.

I would have pushed for a renewed look at this plan and explored other potential generation capabilities to replace this short-sighted lack of vision. I would push for looking at the rate structure and figure out the best method for promoting and encouraging smart conservation while making it attractive for small and large scale power generators to be connected to the KIUC grid.

I would look for ways to not lose the large commercial users of electricity (resorts, government, businesses). The more commercial customers that find alternative energy systems to be more cost effective than KIUC creates a larger burden on those of us dependent on KIUC. If KIUC is to meet the self-directed initiative of reaching 50 percent renewable generation by 2023 (only 13 short years) and they want to keep our future rates in a reasonable area the KIUC board needs to be much more aggressive in committing and moving toward renewable alternatives. I want to help KIUC meet and exceed their current goals in a cost-effective manner for the good of Kaua‘i.

Allan Smith ***

1. I am running for a second three-year term. I will continue to make a positive difference in transforming KIUC to become independent of close government oversight (PUC) and become more member-governed. We will work to achieve a high level of sustainable energy solutions while keeping power affordable and reliable. I have demonstrated that I possess the required skills, knowledge and disciplines required to set policy for this dynamic organization. I have gained more understanding of and insights unique to KIUC’s challenges over the past three years. We need to continue to move ahead smartly.

2. My many years in leadership roles in agribusiness, business and our community give me the basis to share experience and guidance with other board members and senior staff. My working for large land-based companies on Kaua‘i was rewarding and an intimate knowledge of Kaua‘i’s environment, geography, natural resources and our citizens was gained.

3. We must continue to move ahead on two significant areas. The first is conservation- and demand-side management which is not as expensive as new generation equipment. Second is the support of good sustainable projects that use local resources. Products and energy harvested on Kaua‘i need to be brought on line. The 2023 goal of 50 percent renewables will need to have the present projects that are being contemplated such as Green Energy and Pacific West to become successful. New fuels from bio-algae or other not-yet-developed sources will also need to become reality.

Image above: The Headwaters Forest Protest PA system was powered by the H.E.C. in 1995.

Jan TenBruggencate **

1. Our utility requires guidance that is grounded in the needs of the community yet comfortable with both traditional generation and cutting edge technologies. I have been encouraged to serve, both by people inside the utility and in the larger community, and I hope be given the opportunity to help make a difference.

These are challenging times for our electric cooperative. Our almost total dependence on oil for our electrical generation places our county at extreme risk.

The environmental costs of a fossil fuel-based system are undeniable. The security risks associated with supply disruptions are significant. But for most residents, the immediate threat is the uncontrolled volatility in electricity bills associated with swings in oil price. Kaua‘i families cannot budget for power bills that spike and crash.

We need to get stable, affordable power generation in place, and soon. And we must also address electrical demand with conservation and efficiency programs even more aggressive than those now in place. We must — and we can — help residents cut their energy bills without compromising comfort and quality of life.

2. I have lived in Hawai‘i almost all my life. I am active in the community, a coach, volunteer, member of community organizations and the operator of my own small business. Most of my career has been as a researcher and communicator, which I believe are important assets for today’s utility board.

I have long experience in public policy discussions. As a part of my job as science writer with The Honolulu Advertiser, and more recently as an independent consultant, I have worked on many of the conservation, generation, efficiency, renewable technology and other issues facing our electric utility.

3. This goal should not be difficult to achieve if we work hard on it. Just a generation ago, half of the island’s power was produced from renewable resources — primarily bagasse and the power of falling water. We still have a skilled workforce trained and capable of operating biomass and hydroelectric facilities. There appear to be opportunities to move forward on new electricity generating plants in both of these areas. Between them, they could nearly get us to the 50 percent renewable goal.

There are also newer technologies under discussion. Among them, solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, plasma arc, biofuel, landfill gas, waste-to-energy, wind and ocean power. Wave power projects are being tested on both Maui and at Kane‘ohe, O‘ahu.

But just because there’s a bright new energy idea doesn’t mean it’s right for Kaua‘i. We can not simply grab at any project that comes along. Some new energy technologies have significant environmental consequences of their own. Some are just so new they can’t yet be trusted. Some have reliability issues. Some intermittent sources have energy storage challenges for which there are no obvious answers today.

We need careful, considered judgment as we move into the energy future.

Carol Medeiros *

1. One of the main reasons for running for the KIUC Board of Directors was the cost of my electric bill. Whenever something really irritates me, I try to find the reason and if possible find solution. The best place to get the answer is from the board.

I would like to see more communication between the board and the members. Over the past few weeks more good things have come to light that KIUC does for the low-income members.

Having served on two condo boards and also the Dog Fancier’s of Kaua‘i board, it should be a challenge and exciting experience to take on this job.

2. My main qualifications have been developed over the last 35 years as president/treasurer of C.A.L.M. Inc. The business specializes in tax accounting and payroll. I have worked with hundreds of business people in advising on budgeting and helping to make good business choices. With the current economy, good choices are most important. I have two college degrees, was a licensed securities dealer, and also am a paralegal. I was instrumental in setting up Wilcox Hospital and the County of Kaua‘i in their computer systems back in the early 1970s.

3. I have not been able to read the material on the goals of KIUC in the next 13 years.

I can say that they are promoting solar use by giving rebates and loans to residents. The use of wind power, perhaps in a barren location, could be a possibility. Having the solar farms are a great idea. The main savings would come from the residents and businesses by getting solar and buying hybrid cars. We have to make good choices for our personal use.


Juan Wilson said...

This comment is the response to Jan TenBruggencate wondering in an email as to why I did not support him as a KIUC board candidate in the posting above.

Aloha Jan,

I have been reproached by two co-editors for pulling the trigger on a slate recommendation even before tonight's forum. I have been going around for almost a month to get something out and decided to fire a shot and see if anything came out of the bush. It did. At least one of our editors was shocked that you were not ranked above incumbent Allan Smith.

The ratings of candidates I published was based solely on answers that were published in the Garden Island News in response to 3 specific questions. Linda and I felt that Carol had the greatest clarity in verbalizing her responses. On the mark and to the point.

There was not any particular deal breaker or statement that you made that caused of to rank Allan Smith above you on the slate we laid out. He, like the rest of the KIUC gang is focussed on reliability and a continuation of the status quo. You might realize that I do not think the center is going to hold and KIUC will not be able to afford or have the time to make the moves it should have started at it inception.

The primary reason Allan scored above you was his desire to transform "KIUC to become independent of close government oversight (PUC) and become more member-governed. That to me translates to unlimited co-generation, full meter reversal for all power generated and allowance to buy from third party generators.

"3. This goal should not be difficult to achieve if we work hard on it." you said. I do not think that hydro-electric or any combination of alternatives will allow us to live as we do today on Kauai.

Moreover, some of the possibilities you mention would add significantly to CO2 emissions on Kauai... namely bio-deisel, bio-mass, waste-to-energy. Besides just the fact that we will be burning more stuff, all of these technologies will require damaging the soil and competing for food production.

It is my opinion KIUC should be working hard to distribute power generation to individual customers by financing wind and solar voltaic installations as well as focussing on demand destruction.

I personally have abandoned the goal of power reliability and continuity for independence and redundancy.

Please feel free to contact me at anytime to discuss these matters. We certainly will continue to listen to you and other candidates and will make a final recommendation prior the vote.

Juan Wilson

Mauibrad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mauibrad said...

I agree with this order and that for sure at a minimum the first two, Carol Bain and Pat Gegan deserve votes to the KIUC Board.

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