|Proposed location of `Aina Koa Pono's refinery at the mouth of Wood Valley, where 400 construction|
workers would build the biofuel plant over three years. Photo by Julia Neal
|Mayor Billy Kenoi|
Photo by Julia Neal
The contract would allow Hawai`i Electric Light Co. to raise electric rates to households on the Big Island and O`ahu by $1 per month for every 600 kilowatt-hours used. The biofuel sold to the electric company would be trucked from Pahala up Hwy 11 to the power plant next to Keahole Airport.
The contract focuses solely on feeding the one power plant at Keahole and does not address the prospect of additional broad-based electric rate increases should `Aina Koa Pono or other companies propose additional biofuel refineries to make fuel for other electric plants around the state.
Last year, the county wrote to the PUC that the county is possibly HELCO’s single largest customer, with a bill of approximately $30 million a year. The county also said it is concerned about “the impact the proposed facility and contract with HECO companies will have on the development of other renewable energy resources that do no have the land and greenhouse gas emission impacts associated with the biofuels proposal.”
|Pastures between Na`alehu and Pahala are proposed for biofuel crops by `Aina Koa Pono, which says it would work with ranchers to grow feed for their cattle as cattle ranches are displaced for biofuel crops. Photo by Julia Neal|
“Because the proposed contract is long-term, twenty (20) years, this contract would essentially lock in a cost structure and generation mix for Hawai`i Island that may preclude additional biofuels contracts, and it may well preclude many other forms of renewable energy resources available on the Big Island, including proven technologies such as geothermal, wind and solar. While the immediate impacts of the proposed contract will fall on the citizens of the County, we do believe there are policy implications for the entire State of Hawai`i that this docket will address, including the impact on competition in the renewable generation sector, the proposed surcharge, and HELCO’s proposed generation dispatch modifications.”
|Keahole power plant near Kona Airport would be the recipient of|
biofuel trucked from Wood Valley Road up Hwy 11.
Photo from Power Plants Around the World
One of the latest submissions comes from Larry Johnson, a scientist and resident of Pahala and Alaska. He writes: “First, given the present very high HELCO rates, it is imperative that the PUC limit any increases to the absolute minimum. Contracting for biofuels with AKP by artificially raising rates does not meet this criteria.
“Second, biofuels have had a troubled technical and economic history across the U.S. One of the leading scientific journals (Scientific American, Aug. 2011) in The False Promise of Biofuels, has detailed many of the technical problems that have repeatedly derailed their production. Even substantial government grants and subsidies have not prevented the closure of many biofuel plants upon the termination of such government funding. The PUC, especially considering the existing high rate structure, should not burden HELCO customers by approving a long-term subsidy for such a high-risk venture. Any subsidy should be pursued through a short-term grant by AKP that both relieves HELCO customers from increased long-term financial liability and would allow HELCO, if they so desire, to contract with AKP at a rate below existing rates.
|A rendering from `Aina Koa Pono of refinery to be built near Wood Valley.|
“I appreciate the time and effort spent by the PUC to insure that electric rates for the Big Island are kept as low as possible,” writes Johnson.
Testimony, referencing docket 2012-0185, can be submitted to the PUC by emailing email@example.com or mailing to 465 South King Street, #103, Honolulu, HI 96813.
HAWAI`I POLICE DEPARTMENT will hold a community meeting on Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. The purpose is to allow the public to meet the Police Department’s command staff and to discuss police-related concerns with the police chief and commanders who oversee police operations in Ka`u.
Those interested in participating but unable to attend may email their concerns or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, call Captain Andrew Burian at 939-2520.
|Boys & Girls Club in Pahala seeks community input at a meeting this|
Wednesday. Photo from Boys & Girls Club
AN INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT workshop about the coffee berry borer is scheduled for next Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Kona Hongwanji in Kealakekua. Dr. Luis Aristizabal, from Colombia and currently with University of Florida, will be the featured speaker. Topics include What has been successful internationally, what is different in Hawai`i, when CBB swarms, when it moves into trees, proper times to spray and trap as well as effective harvest techniques. Two days of classroom and field lectures cover effective control of CBB.
Aristizabal has spent his career focusing on control of pests in coffee and has done participatory research with farmers on CBB management for many years. While with the coffee research organization Cenicafe, he taught farmer workshops on IPM for CBB, as well as published a number of studies on biological control.
$25 registration fee includes lunch on Friday. Register online at kohalacenter.org/cbbworkshop/registration.html or contact Cortney Hoffman at 887-6411 or email@example.com.
SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND YOUTUBE.COM/KAUNEWS.