|Meyer Camp Road is the proposed location for a new refinery for biofuels for power plants and transportation.|
`AINA KOA PONO told the County Council yesterday that their lowest paying job will be $22 an hour and that all their jobs will be union at their proposed farm and factory to make biofuels in Pahala. They also plan five biofuel farms and factories across Hawai`i, including another one on this island – in Kamuela. They also stated interest in building their microwave refineries at landfill sites to help the county with its mounting waste disposal problem.
When asked if there is any place in the world where such a refinery using microwave reactors is operating in a community at a scale proposed for Pahala, engineer Alexander Causey said, “No.”
Partner Kenton Eldridge said, however, that in order to raise more than $300 million for their project there has to be proof that it works. A consulting company that provides written assurances that new technologies are operable is studying `Aina Koa Pono’s chosen method and is expected to have results within several weeks. A positive result should help the hui to raise the money they need to build the refinery above Pahala.
When asked whether this is a pilot project, they responded that it is and that once it is in operation, it should make it easier to establish other refineries around the state. They also said that the first refinery will be the most expensive to build and that the cost of the biofuel could be lower with more refineries in operation.
The company also promised an Environmental Assessment by an outside firm to study the proposed methods, location and impacts on the community and land.
During the testimony period, Cory Harden asked numerous questions about the effects on the environment, community and land, including whether there would be emissions and the amount of water to be used. `Aina Koa Pono reps said they are considering cultivation of crops that use less water than the sugar cane formerly grown in Ka`u, which was unirrigated. They also said there would be no emissions, except from a power plant that they plan to build for their own use at the factory, which would emit some CO2. The proposed location is 1.7 miles up Wood Valley Road from Pahala, past a macadamia orchard and another four-tenths of a mile up Meyer Camp Road.
Causey said the group also plans to manufacture fuel for vehicles and possibly for airplanes, and said that the community could support the B10 bill at the Legislature which would require all vehicular fuels to be ten percent biofuels. There has previously been incentives for mixing ethanol with gasoline, but no ethanol is being produced in Hawai`i. He and Eldridge said their goal is to help wean Hawai`i from fossil fuels.
Council member Brenda Ford said she wants to make sure that the company helps train local workers for the jobs to be provided. Causey said that a training course for operators may be brought to Ka`u, once they have some equipment in place. He also promised to work with the high school and colleges to help train young people to work at the refinery.
|This site plan for the proposed Kahuku Village development between Ocean View and South Point|
was presented to the public last night at Na`alehu Community Center.
DEVELOPERS OF THE PROPOSED 1,500 to 1,650 unit Nani Kahuku ‘Āina resort told community members at Nā‘ālehu Community Center last night that they plan to donate a campus for an elementary school and set up a non-profit organization for outdoor education on their property between South Point and Ocean View. The oceanfront resort would be on 16,000 acres with hotel rooms, condominiums, golf course, commercial areas as well as a Hawaiian Heritage Center at Pohue Bay, where hawksbill turtles nest. They would need land re-classifications and zoning changes, from Conservation to Urban and Resort.
|Nani Kahuku `Aina partner Katherine|
Peroff with Pacific American
Foundation chief Herb Lee.
|Nani Kahuku `Aina|
Terms such as No Child Left Indoors and hands-on learning were presented as outreach planned by the developers to involve themselves in the Ka‘ū community. Project manager Aaron Eberhardt introduced Herb Lee, of the Pacific American Foundation, who said he has established outdoor learning centers around the state and wants to work with Ka‘ū youth. Eberhardt said that unlike other developers, his hui plans to provide community benefits upfront by starting the educational programs soon. Once in business the developers could give a percentage of sales to keep the non-profits operating, he said.
Eberhardt also said his group plans to build some housing that is truly affordable for purchase and rent by Ka`u standards. He also promised as many green building practices as possible and when asked about whether they could use alternative energy on site to power the resort, he said, “I hope so.” For water, they plan a desalinization plant for drinking. For irrigation, they plan to use brackish water, he said.
|Miss Ka`u Coffee contestant|
TICKETS ARE ON SALE for the Miss Ka`u Coffee Pageant for Saturday, April 23rd. They are $12 each and include a free pageant program. The third annual pageant will be at the Ka`u High School gym at 5:30 p.m. Contestants are selling the tickets to support their pageant.