About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Aug. 14, 2012

Dominic Yagong is out of the race for mayor but will finish his term as County Council chair. Photo by William Neal
THE MAYOR’S RACE saw incumbent Billy Kenoi and former mayor Harry Kim beating County Council chair Dominic Yagong in all precincts in the Ka`u area during the primary election over the weekend. At Cooper Center in Volcano, Harry Kim earned 283 votes to Billy Kenoi’s 154 and Dominic Yagong’s 51. In Pahala, Billy Kenoi won with 139 votes to Harry Kim’s 48 and Dominic Yagong’s 26. At Na`alehu, Billy Kenoi won 141 votes to Harry Kim’s 80 and Dominic Yagong’s 76. In Ocean View, Billy Kenoi took 135 votes to Harry Kim’s 133 and Dominic Yagong’s 94.
      Billy Kenoi and Harry Kim face a runoff in the general election in November.

Paul Dolan won Volcano and Ocean View, but lost islandwide, leaving a
runoff between Lincoln Ashida and Mitch Roth for County Prosecutor.
Photo by William Neal
IN THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S RACE, Volcano saw Paul Dolan with 169 votes, while Mitch Roth took 156 and Lincoln Ashida took 136. At Pahala, Lincoln Ashida took 116 votes, while Paul Dolan took 46 and Mitch Roth 43. At Na`alehu, Lincoln Ashida won 115 votes to Mitch Roth’s 93 and Paul Dolan’s 69. In Ocean View, Paul Dolan won 149 votes, to Lincoln Ashida’s 109 and Mitch Roth’s 94.
       Lincoln Ashida and Mitch Roth face a runoff in the November general election.

THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has defined the issues it will consider on deciding whether to approve the proposed Hawai`i Electric Light Co. contract to purchase biodiesel/ biofuel from `Aina Koa Pono. `Aina Koa Pono proposes building a refinery along Wood Valley Road over three years with the help of 400 construction workers.   
      `Aina Koa Pono also proposes processing locally harvested trees and other agricultural inputs with a new Microwave Catalytic Depolymerization (Micro Dee) technology as it attempts to develop biofuel crops on pasture and other lands between Pahala and Na`alehu. The fuel would be tanker-trucked to the HELCO power plant near Keahole Airport for use as a substitute for fossil fuel. An additional eight million gallons a year in biofuel would be sold to a mainland-based company that would first try to sell it in Hawai`i, according to statements from `Aina Koa Pono.
PUC chair Mina Morita
      The proposal before the PUC projects increasing electric rates $1 per month for the average household. Last year the `Aina Koa Pono project projected raising electric rates an average of $2 per monthly household bill, and the PUC rejected the plan as “unreasonable” for the ratepayer.
       An Aug. 9 statement from PUC chair Mina Morita and commissioners Michael E. Champley and Lorraine H. Akiba, along with PUC attorney Michael Azama, says that regarding the new proposed contract, the PUC will consider:
       “Whether the commission should approve as reasonable and consistent with the public interest the Biodiesel Supply Contract for approximately sixteen million net United States gallons annually of locally produced biodiesel over twenty years, and the related contract costs, including the biodiesel transportation, and storage costs, and related taxes.
       “Whether the commission should approve as just and reasonable the establishment of a Biofuel Surcharge Provision that will permit HELCO to pass through the differential between the cost of the biofuel and the cost of the fossil fuel that the biofuel is replacing, in the event the cost of the biofuel is higher than the cost of the fossil fuel, over the customer base of HELCO and HECO, based on kilowatt-hour usage.”
       The PUC says it will determine “what ratepayer risks should the commission consider in evaluating the Biodiesel Supply Contract. What quantitative or qualitative values should be assigned to such risks.
       “To what extent, if any, will utility customers assume any economic risks, if the biofuel is not truly a ‘drop-in diesel’ or a substitute fuel or in the event that HELCO’s Keahole power plant must be subsequently modified, or operations altered, to accommodate biofuels.”
HELCO president Jay Ignacio explained the `Aina Koa Pono proposal in
January of 2011. Photo by Julia Neal
      The PUC also asks: “To what extent should utility customers be required to provide financial assurances for indigenous biofuel development, and if so, under what terms and conditions. Are there any additional investment and operating costs associated with converting a portion, or all, of the Keahole power plant to utilize liquid biofuel. This could include, but not be limited to, additional fuel delivery infrastructure, environmental compliance modifications and plant operation and maintenance requirements.”
       The PUC asks: “To what extent should traditional generator economic dispatch or short-term/long-term avoided cost methodologies be modified in order to accommodate or reflect the conversion of existing fossil-fuel generators to utilize indigenous or imported biofuels.”
       The statement says the PUC intends to review, “the electric utility’s ability to meet its applicable renewable portfolio standards in the event that the Microwave Catalytic Depolymerization technology is proven unsuccessful in producing biofuels on a commercial operations basis;
       “Whether the failure of the Microwave Catalytic Depolymerization technology on a commercial operation basis to produce biodiesel that meets the contracted for fuel specifications should constitute an event or circumstance that is beyond or outside of the electric utility’s reasonable control in the event that the utility is unable to meet its applicable renewable portfolio standards.”
       The proposed contract and PUC statement are available at puc.hawaii.gov. To access it and other related documents, click on Document Management System (DMS) and enter 2012-0185 in the Docket Quick Link box. When the docket opens, click on Documents.
       Comments, with Docket 2012-0185 referenced, can be sent to Public Utilities Commission, 465 South King Street, #103, Honolulu, HI 96813; faxed to 808-586-2066; or emailed to hawaii.puc@hawaii.gov.

Hydrogen for transportation and other energy uses
is proposed by H2 Technologies,
HYDROGEN CARS AND SCOOTERS, which are quiet and have no emissions, could be one of the low-cost transportation fuels in the future, according to H2 Technologies, of the Big Island, and Asia Pacific Fuel Cell Technologies, of Taiwan. The technology, stemming from the research of Dr. John Allen of the University of Hawai`i Engineering Department, uses sonochemistry. It was shown at the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo at Hawai`i Convention Center on O`ahu yesterday. H2 is partnering with Asia Pacific Fuel cell Technologies of Taiwan to bring in hydrogen fuel –cell scooters, according to a Sophie Cocke story in Civil Beat. She reports that the Taiwanese government is using the hydrogen scooters as fleet vehicles.
       Hawai`i has about 15,000 electric and hybrid vehicles on the road. The hydrogen vehicles are seen as tying into the growth of geothermal energy on this island, as hydrogen is a byproduct of the process. Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and the County of Hawai`i have engaged hydrogen buses in plans to reduce use of fossil fuel.
       “General Motors announced that it planned to make Hawai`i the test bed for its hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, which are supposed to be unveiled in 2015,” the Civil Beat story says. See more at www.civilbeat.com.

THE PUBLIC IS INVITED to Ka`u Community Development Plan Steering Committee meeting today at 5:30 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. Agenda items include an update on progress of the draft CDP, updates on initiatives in Ocean View, recommendations to the Planning director regarding forecasted CDP project expenses for the 2013-2014 County budget and Sunshine Law amendments. The agenda does not include the following topics, which, according to planner Ron Whitmore, will not be discussed: Kahuku Village, Pohue Bay, Ocean View Water System, Ocean View Transfer Station, Agricultural Water Co-ops, National Park Service Shoreline Study, Kawa Stewardship Plan, Kawa Drainage EA, `Aina Koa Pono Biofuels Facility, Ka`u District Emergency Shelter and Gym and Ka`u Forest Reserve Environmental Assessment.
      For more information, contact Whitmore at 961-8137 or rwhitmore@co.hawaii.hi.us.

DIANA AKI offers a free concert at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. Park entrance fees apply.

HA`AO SPRINGS & MOUNTAIN HOUSE Ag Water Co-op meets Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at Wai`ohinu Park. Anyone interested in restoration of ag water to the area is invited.