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.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Jan. 12, 2013

Ka`u Coffee Festival organizers have released a schedule of events for the April 27 - May 5 event. Local band Hands of Time played at last year's ho`olaule`a. Photo by Julia Neal
COFFEE BERRY BORER REDUCTION and prevention will be the topic of a Ka`u Farm Bureau meeting this Monday, Jan. 14 at Pahala Community Center beginning at 5 p.m. Pepe Miranda, of Synergistic Hawai`i Agriculture Council, will give the presentation. Farm Bureau president Chris Manfredi said that all coffee farmers should attend, whether or not they have CBB. Refreshments will be served.
Ka`u Farm Bureau discusses coffee berry borer reduction
and prevention Monday at Pahala Community Center.
      Manfredi said that the Ka`u Coffee industry has been a good example of farmers working together to hold back the pest that has impacted many farms. Any questions, call 929-9550. The meeting is co-sponsored by the College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources.
      The presentation will be followed by a Ka`u Farm Bureau directors meeting.

KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL ORGANIZERS have announced a week of activities for the April 27 to May 5 annual event. The organizing committee has made the following release:
      The Ka`u Coffee Festival perks with java-jumping fun starting April 27 and culminating the weekend of May 4-5 with a ho`olaule`a on Saturday and coffee education on Sunday. Serving as an economic stimulus for the rural Ka`u region, the festival is supported by the County of Hawai`i Department of Research & Development, Hawai`i Tourism Authority and Hawai`i Department of Agriculture.
      On Saturday evening, April 27, enjoy foodie fun at Simply Elegant: 2nd Annual Ka`u Farmers’ Table at The Inn at Kalaekilohana. The limited seating Table features locally sourced gastronomy with live entertainment. Advance only tickets are $75 at www.kau-hawaii.com.
      On Sunday afternoon, April 28, the Triple C Recipe Contest returns to Ka`u Coffee Mill with competition in cookies, candies and crackers, all made with Ka`u Coffee. Attendance and coffee tasting are free. Find contest entry info at kaucoffeemill.com.
      During the week, visit Ka`u Coffee farms. Enjoy the beauty of Ka`u, Punalu`u Black Sand Beach, Honu`apo fishponds, the cliffs of Ka Lae - the southernmost place in the U.S., and nearby Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Stay in one of the many accommodations in Ka`u. See participating coffee farms and accommodations at www.kaucoffeefest.com.
A Ka`u Mountain Water System Hike takes
place Wednesday, May 1.
      On Wednesday, May 1, explore flume systems of the sugarcane era and development of hydroelectric power on a Ka`u Mountain Water System Hike. Fee. Limited to 30 with lunch provided. Visit www.kaucoffeemill.com or phone 808-928-0550.
      On Friday, May 3, enjoy Coffee & Cattle Day at Aikane Plantation Coffee farm, where descendants of the first coffee farmer in Ka`u explain how coffee is integrated into other agriculture. Fee. Lunch included. Visit www.aikaneplantation.com or phone 927-2252.
      On Friday, May 3, observe the heavens from the summit of Makanau at Ka`u Star Gazing, 7:30-10 p.m. Fee. To sign up, see www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 928-0550.
      On Saturday, May 4, enjoy the Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaule`a, with a full day of music, hula, food, local crafts, coffee tastings and farm tours at the Pahala Community Center. Festival entry is free; Ka`u Coffee Experience coffee tasting $5; farm tours $20. Call 929-9550 or visit www.kaucoffeefest.com.
      On Sunday, May 5, learn about the coffee industry at the Ka`u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. Free, donations appreciated. Call 929-9550 or visit www.kaucoffeefest.com
      Founded in a coffee tradition hailing to the 1800s—plus the hard work of sugar employees who lost their jobs in 1996—Ka`u Coffee burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous awards. These accolades highlight the unique combination of people and place that makes Ka`u Coffee a favorite across the globe. The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of Ka`u as a world-class, coffee-growing origin.
      Ka`u Coffee Festival vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and festival updates, visit kaucoffeefest.com, follow the Ka`u Coffee Festival on Facebook and Twitter or call 929-9550.

HERE IS MORE ON THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION’S publication of responses to questions asked by Life of the Land regarding the `Aina Koa Pono proposal to sell, at a fixed price for 20 years, 16 million gallons of diesel per year to be made in a refinery off Wood Valley Road above Pahala. Diesel would be extracted from biomass in 27 microwave units and sold to Hawai`i Electric Light and Hawaiian Electric Companies, most of it trucked to the power plant near Kona airport. The proposal calls for higher electric bills on O`ahu and the Big Island.
      Regarding the contention that “there are a number of advanced biofuel technologies that have proven viable in lab and pilot scales at various locations around the world; most are seeking feedstock and sufficient financing to advance to commercialization,” Life of the Land asked, “Isn’t this also true of OTEC, Ocean Wave Energy and Utility-Scale Batteries which are all seeking sufficient financing to advance to commercialization?" HELCO and HECO responded that their renewable energy program includes “a broad portfolio of resources, including technologies that are very mature such as waste to energy and wind power, as well as technologies that hold significant promise to contribute substantially to Hawai`i’s clean energy goals. Examples of the latter category include ocean thermal energy conversion and wave power energy. Hawaiian Electric has maintained this broad procurement approach consistently over the years, and is actively in power purchase contract discussions with developers of these various technologies.”
      Life of the Land asked, “Why is it in the public interest for ratepayers to finance one possible solution, that is, why should ratepayers bear the burden of assuming which technology will emerge as the more dominant player of the future?” The utilities said the Consumer Advocate and Hawai`i County asked a similar question. They told the Consumer Advocate, “There is no risk to HELCO’s customers of paying for anything outside of the price per gallon of the biodiesel delivered in accordance with the contract’s fuel specification. HELCO is not providing any financial assurances to AKP other than the obligation to purchase fourteen to sixteen million gallons of biodiesel per year under the twenty-year AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract at the agreed price per gallon. There is no cost that will be passed on to the companies’ customers if the AKP project development fails to produce biodiesel.”
TekGar president and CEO Michael Catto extracts biofuel from the
company's Micro Dee processor. Images from tekgar.com
      “The Hawaiian Electric Companies continue to pursue a range of solutions to increase
renewable energy and energy security,” they told Hawai`i County. “The AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract is one approach to provide a solution that displaces fossil fuel with renewable biofuel and enables the production of firm power.”
      Life of the Land asked, “In HECO’s due diligence analysis of AKP and of its principals, what expertise does the AKP company/principals have in agriculture, biofuels, utility contracts and greenhouse gas analysis?” The utilities contended that “AKP’s team includes an agronomist with international experience as well as individuals with vast experience in agriculture on the Island of Hawai`i and specifically in Ka`u.” The utilities also stated that “AKP also is working closely with the Hawai`i Agricultural Research Center as it tests and develops its agriculture plan. AKP’s partners, AECOM (AKP’s engineering, procurement and construction firm), and Mansfield Oil, are both leaders in their respective fields, the utilities stated AECOM has experience in analyzing and developing biofuel projects. Mansfield Oil is an industry leader in the marketing and transportation of fuel. AKP’s legal team, as well as Mansfield Oil, investment banks and other attorneys, all have extensive expertise involving biofuel contracts and working with AKP specifically. AECOM conducts greenhouse gas analyses in their normal course of business. According to AKP, AECOM has currently spent in excess of $1 million dollars testing AKP’s technology.”
Michael Catto displays a jar of biofuel created by TekGar's microwave
depolymerization process.
      Regarding microwave depolymerization technology that AKP intends to use in the refining process, Life of the Land asked if HECO believes that AECOM has found the TekGar pre-commercial technology for Renewable Liquid Fuel production to be the optimal solution. The utilities replied, “It is the Companies’ understanding that the test facility in North Carolina is providing positive results thus far. Because AECOM intends to provide AKP with a performance guarantee for the Micro Dee technology, the Companies feel confident that the AKP project will continue to move forward. It is also important to keep in mind that the Companies will not receive nor pay for any biodiesel that does not meet the specification …. Thus, there would be no impact to the Companies’ customers.”
      HELCO and HECO also replied that “AECOM is in the process of analyzing and testing all aspects of the technology to determine if the technology meets the required criteria. Without this guarantee, AKP will be unable to secure financing for the project. Financing for AKP’s project is dependent upon the guarantee mentioned above by AECOM and also the Commission approval of the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract.”

What's Happening in Halema`uma`u Crater is the topic at Tuesday's
After Dark in the park. Photo from USGS/HVO
HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY continues its Volcano Awareness Month programs Tuesday at After Dark in the Park. HVO geologist Matt Patrick presents an overview of Kilauea’s summit eruption, including a survey of the volcanic processes occurring within the vent. The program at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park begins at 7 p.m. It is free, and park entrance fees apply.