Molokai Clean Energy Initiative: What’s Next
IAM News Release
Last week, we offered an update on the Molokai Clean Energy Initiative (MCEI), a forum for communities, organizations and other stakeholders to meet together, share ideas, and envision an affordable clean energy future for everybody. This is the conclusion of that update.
I Aloha Molokai (IAM) President Kanoho Helm saw early on that energy planning is closely linked with emergency preparedness. Without built-in redundancy and back up, no system is likely to function in a crisis. Several MCEI presenters alerted us to the fact that state disaster plans are incomplete, and that some statewide response sequences have not been established or tested. Just on Molokai, we have a major shelter — the Molokai High School gym — that doesn’t meet current codes, a west end with no fire station, an east end with a fire station in the flood zone, and other deficiencies. By weaving the preparedness issue into energy planning now, we hope to end up not only with a better prepared Molokai, but also with a better disaster plan for the state. For example, if a tsunami were to close major sea level airports, Molokai’s upcountry airfield could become a central staging area for air born relief – if the necessary infrastructure were put in place.
Looking forward, IAM plans to ask our legislature to reaffirm our bottom up planning Resolution, HCR189. With our state representative, we are also hoping to explore legislation regarding emergency preparedness. This means bringing major shelters up to code, moving emergency equipment out of the flood zone, increasing energy back up for vital services, and improving coordination with Maui and Oahu.
As we approach the end of the year, we are hoping to make our Third Annual Alternative Energy Festival a showplace for MCEI’s work to date. This year we are expanding the Festival to three days.
On Thursday, Jan. 9we hope to involve Molokai students in an Emergency Preparedness Fair, with service providers, hands on demonstrations, a mock disaster exercise, and prizes for student creativity.
On Friday, Jan. 10 we will bring back community spokesmen, energy experts, and energy vendors for a Statewide Energy Forum, building on ideas from MCEI.
On Saturday, Jan. 11 we will host an IAM Music Festival, with food, games for kids and one or two inspiring speakers. We invite everyone to come join the fun.
Because we live on small, remote and fragile islands, Hawaii does not have the margin of error for poor planning or wasted resources enjoyed by the mainland. We cannot afford wild guesses, quick fixes, or seductive sales pitches. We have to bring everyone together, explore all the options, and make plans that meet real needs with existing resources. We are I Aloha Molokai, and that’s what we’re trying to do.
For more information go to ialohamolokai.com, ialohamolokai.org, or call 808- 213-1231.