Opinion: Haste Makes Waste for Big Wind

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Community Contributed

Opinion by Kanohowailuku Helm, President of I Aloha Molokai

To Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, State Energy Administrator Mark Glick and staff, members of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) , and Carl Freedman, IRP facilitator:

Today, three processes regarding our energy future are running on parallel tracks: (1) the Integrated Resource Planning (IRP), which involves 68 officials, experts and interested parties, (2) the Hawaii Clean Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy, and (3) HECO’s request for proposals (RFP) to build an undersea cable. Together, these efforts could result in a smart, affordable state energy plan with public support — but only if they are carefully synchronized.…

Molokai Power Outage Explained

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

The island-wide power outage Sunday night that left thousands without electricity for approximately eight hours was caused by a pole fire at the Pala`au Substation, according to a statement issued by Maui Electric Company (MECO).

Shortly after 10 p.m. on Sunday evening, Molokai’s three primary electric generators operated by MECO tripped offline. This was caused by a fire at the top of a pole at the power plant that appears to have started from a contaminated insulator, stated MECO.

“Over time, insulators that hold the electric line to the pole can become soiled by salt spray and dust,” said MECO spokesperson Kau`i Awai-Dickson. …

Plugging Into the Sun

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Plugging Into the Sun

Molokai residents receive mixed news about installing solar

Around Hawaii, residents and business owners are eager to utilize the sun’s energy to reduce their electricity bills and help malama the environment. Molokai is at the forefront of that movement, with many residents waiting to install photovoltaic (PV) panels on their roofs. Current technology, however, limits the amount of renewable energy that can be fed into the island-wide electricity grid while maintaining reliability of electric service, according to Maui Electric Company (MECO).

A recent change in the statewide criteria used to determine how much renewable energy can be incorporated into grid may bring good news for some residents.…

Biodiesel: A Viable Option

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Biodiesel: A Viable Option

Molokai farmers explore renewable energy alternatives

Kukui nuts have long been used by Hawaiians for food and medicinal purposes, but it may soon be also used for fuel –specifically, biodiesel fuel. Wayde Lee, who created the Molokai Sustainable Farming Project (MSFP) last year, has been exploring biodiesel initiatives that he said may lead to economic stability and energy security for Molokai farmers. Recently, they’ve been working with Maui-based company Pacific Biodiesel (PBD) to discuss the possibility of eventually developing a crushing and processing plant on-island that would produce biodiesel fuel for Molokai from crops farmed on Molokai.

According to Wescott Lee, Wayde’s brother and MSFP’s project facilitator, over 2.5 million gallons of diesel are imported to Molokai every year, most of which goes towards powering the Maui Electric Company Molokai electric plant.…

Beyond Big Wind

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Scope of clean energy initiatives broadens

When the Wind Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) scoping meeting was conducted in February of last year, many Molokai residents stood outside of the Mitchell Pauole Center waving signs that protested the state’s proposed Big Wind and undersea cable initiatives. From the comments that were made then, the panel, made up of both state and federal officials, returned to the drawing board and drafted instead the Hawaii Clean Energy PEIS, which promises to analyze not only wind energy, but a broader range of renewable energy initiatives and technologies, according to the initiative’s website. The goal is to meet 70 percent of Hawaii’s energy needs through energy efficiency and renewable energy by 2030.…

West Molokai Association Opposes Big Wind/Undersea Cable Project

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

West Molokai Association News Release

The Board of Directors of the West Molokai Association (WMA), representing the owners of 811 West Molokai properties, has unanimously declared its “resolute opposition” to the proposed Big Wind industrial wind project and Hawaii Inter-Island undersea cable, and stated it will take whatever steps necessary to halt the project.

The project would cover 17 square miles of Molokai with industrial wind turbines 47 stories tall. It is being planned by HECO, Molokai Ranch, Pattern Energy and Bio-Logical Capital, and is backed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Noting that the project would “dramatically alter and irreversibly change West Molokai’s rural character and pastoral environment,” the Board’s resolution added that it would also result in increased electrical costs for Hawaiian residents, already among the highest in the United States.…

Renegotiating Oceanic’s Services

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Molokai residents are frustrated with Oceanic Time Warner Cable, the island’s only provider of cable television (CATV) and broadband Internet services. Many claim that though they pay the same price as on other islands for Internet, they get only half the speed.

As part of the process to renew Oceanic’s franchise, possibly for the next 20 years, the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), who regulates CATV statewide, is gathering community input across the islands on Oceanic’s services as well as public access services provided by Akaku Maui Community Television.

“We want feedback on the level of service being provided by both Oceanic and Akaku,” said Donn Yabusaki, administrator of the DCCA’s CATV division.…

IAM Expanding Efforts and Membership

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

IAM Expanding Efforts and Membership

IAM News Release

I Aloha Molokai (IAM) is delighted to announce the formation of IAM West, which includes members from the Maunaloa community and the 800-member West Molokai Association. West Molokai is the planned site for a proposed 90 turbine industrial wind power plant. Members of all three groups unanimously agreed to oppose this project, no matter what so-called “benefits” may be offered. This is a big step toward our goal of uniting the entire island of Molokai in opposition.

IAM is already a partner with Friends of Lanai and Kupa`a no Lanai. Because it appears that Hana on Maui may be the next scenic, rural community threatened by large scale, profit-driven development, we are currently working with people in Hana to create an IAM Hana.…

Long Haul for Big Wind

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Long Haul for Big Wind

The fate of a proposed industrial wind farm on Molokai is currently waiting on Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) to release a Request for Proposal (RFP), which will open up the 200 megawatt (MW) project to other islands and to other forms of renewable energy generation.

Residents concerned about the uncertain future of the state’s energy proposals on Molokai still have to wait some time for a conclusion. HECO spokesperson Peter Rosegg said the RFP will not be finalized until the end of this year — and the utility will not be choosing a contractor from the applications received until late 2014 at the earliest, he said.…

Molokai’s Bright Energy Future

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Community Contributed

By Peggy Lucas Bond

“Solar is the strongest renewable energy resource for Molokai,” concludes the just-released Life of the Land report, “Wayfinding: Navigating Hawaii’s Energy Future,” by Henry Curtis. “Today Molokai has all of the resources it needs to become energy self-sufficient and to stop exporting cash for transportation fuel and electricity.” Solar water heaters for every residence should be the first step, the report states, followed by concentrated solar power and photovoltaic panels supplemented with micro-wind and hydroelectric.

The Molokai chapter of the report has been posted on the I Aloha Molokai (IAM) website, It suggests that Molokai could sever its relationship with MECO by creating a Molokai Energy Cooperative, or by following the Kauai model and becoming its own county and establishing a municipally-owned utility (MOU).…