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.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 22, 2013

Farmers who want to the sell products to the public can sign up for a workshop entitled Food Business Basics: Getting Started and Finding Your Niche in the Specialty Foods Business that will be offered at Pahala Community Center in March by The Kohala Center and The Laulima Center.
MORE TRANSPARENCY IN CONTRACTS SIGNED BY THE ELECTRIC COMPANIES would be available to the state Public Utilities Commission if state House of Representatives Bill 813 passes the 2013 Hawai`i Legislature. The bill goes to public hearing on Monday, Feb. 25 at the State Capitol.
      Life of the Land’s executive director Henry Curtis sent out an email entitled: Are Ratepayers Being Ripped Off? Key Legislative Bill Needs Your Support. He wrote that the electric company signs “contracts with `Aina Koa Pono, Pattern Energy, PGV or First Wind. The utility asks the Public Utilities Commission to approve the contract.
      “The renewable energy companies are not parties to the PUC proceedings and could be getting windfall profits at ratepayer expense.
      “HB813 would allow the PUC to review their financial records.”
      Citizens can send in testimony by going to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=813&year=2013. Click on submit testimony at the top of the page.
Henry Curtis of Life of the Land
      The bill says that the PUC “shall have the authority to examine all documents, ledgers, records, projections, contracts, or any other information and data pertaining to the development, financing, taxation, construction, or operations and maintenance of a project in any power purchase agreement that has been submitted to the commission for review or approval, as the commission deems necessary, including the information and data of any third-party electricity producer seeking to sell electricity to a public utility as defined within section 269-1; provided that this section shall be effective to the extent it is not inconsistent with applicable federal law. The commission shall maintain the confidentiality of all information submitted under confidential seal and provided in accordance with this section."
      The justification section of the proposed legislation says: “Electricity in Hawai`i is supplied increasingly by non-utility power generators that use a variety of both fossil fuel and renewable energy resources. Electric utilities acquire third-party supplied energy via power purchase agreements that establish a final price for energy supplied throughout the entire contract term, which typically lasts for twenty years. Negotiated prices in purchased power agreements are reviewed by the Public UItilities Commission, though the independent power producers’ underlying cost data and associated assumptions are not typically disclosed to the commission.
     “Complete access to underlying renewable energy project cost information, including cost support information and associated materials, would allow the commission to better determine the reasonableness of proposed prices in the context of the local energy market, independently track trends in renewable energy project development and more readily compare independent power producers’ projects. More specific, detailed contract information can fundamentally shift the way renewable energy project costs are currently set so that they move more closely in line with the actual costs of energy production and are free of the influence of volatile fuel oil prices. In addition, more open and clear contract pricing information could potentially improve the financing environment for non-utility energy developers, thus benefiting the entire state through lower renewable energy project financing costs.
     “The purpose of this Act is to authorize the Public Utilities Commission to examine all records, projections, business documents, and other necessary information relating to the review by the commission of power purchase agreements for the sale of electricity to a public utility.”

CONCERNING THE `AINA KOA PONO proposal, the Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday published responses to more questions asked by the state Consumer Advocate, Hawai`i County and Life of the Land. The questions concern the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to annually sell, at a fixed price for 20 years, 16 million gallons of diesel that would be manufactured at a refinery off Wood Valley Road above Pahala. The fuel, produced in 27 microwave units, would be sold to Hawai`i Electric Light and Hawaiian Electric Companies, with most of it trucked up Hwy 11 to a power plant in Kona. Electric rates on O`ahu and the Big Island would increase.
      Hawai`i County asked HELCO and HECO to list the financiers AKP has had discussion with this project. “At the previous and current dollar per gallon annual escalation figures, please provide copies of any and all pro-forma statements provided to possible financiers,” the county asked. “Please provide all past and present AKP pro-forma statements that are being provided to any potential investor. Please provide the amount of projected financial return and how AKP, investors, SBS/TekGar, Biocon, AECOM and other partners (listed by AKP) will be compensated from this proposed contract.”
      The utilities replied that, “according to AKP, the financial information requested by this information request is confidential and proprietary and if disclosed would risk AKP’s ability to obtain financing of the project. In addition, AKP objects to answering this information request as it is beyond the scope of County of Hawai`i’s permitted participation in this Docket. AKP asserts that Issue No. 1 and the sub-issues refer to factors that the Commission should consider in evaluating the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract, but not an evaluation by County of Hawai`i of AKP’s underlying financing or other terms. AKP is not willing to provide this information even under protective order.
      “Without waiving these objections, AKP has stated that it has had numerous discussions with potential financiers. These include discussions with major investment banks and private equity firms who specialize in renewable energy and biofuels. AKP will continue these discussions in order to raise capital for both the initial 33-ton per day unit and the larger 900-ton per day plant.”
      Ka`u News Briefs will cover more responses in the coming days.
      Complete responses to all questions are online at puc.hawaii.gov. Docket number is 2012-0185.

Lou Cooperhouse
FARMERS WHO WANT TO SELL A PRODUCT to the public can learn from value-added and specialty foods consultant Lou Cooperhouse when he presents Food Business Basics: Getting Started and Finding Your Niche in the Specialty Foods Business. The workshop to be held at Pahala Community Center on Wednesday, March 13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. is designed for farmers seeking to develop their raw product into a value-added product and bring it to market, entrepreneurs and restaurateurs interested in diversifying their revenue streams with specialty food products, and established producers looking to take their food businesses to the next level. 
      According to The Kohala Center, which is sponsoring the workshop, the Food Industry offers many exciting opportunities, and this workshop will provide attendees with critical assistance to develop, build or evolve their businesses. Topics include Understanding the Food Marketplace and Channels of Distribution; Top Trends Affecting Our Food Industry and their Impact on New Product Innovation; Identifying Your Target Consumer; Developing Your Product Niche and Creating Your
Unique Selling Proposition; The Strategic Planning Process and Your Business Plan; Local, State and Federal Food Regulations and Food Inspection Requirements; Food Processing Options and What to Look for in Getting Your Product Produced; Food Safety Technologies from Farm to Fork that will Enhance Quality and Safety; The Product Development Process: Scaling Up from Concept to Commercialization; and Funding Options and What Banks and Investors Will Want to Know.
      Following lunch (included with pre-registration), Nicole Milne, Agricultural Business Development specialist for The Laulima Center, will present two one-hour trainings. One is on Financial Resources Available for Hawai`i Farmers. The other is Marketing Agricultural Products on Hawai`i Island.
      In addition, Cooperhouse will also conduct 30-minute one-on-one consulting sessions each afternoon with pre-selected workshop participants. Registrants interested in the one-on-one consultations must complete and submit a brief application.
      For more information and to register, visit http://laulimacenter.org/foodbasics.html or call 443-2755.

THE SEVENTH ANNUAL SPAGHETTI DINNER raising funds for Ka`u Hospital’s emergency room takes place tomorrow beginning at 4 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. The event is sponsored every February by Red Hat Ladies of Ka`u and Ka Lae Quilters. Contributions are welcome. For more information, call Barbara Beatty at 929-9072. 

SEN. RUSSELL RUDERMAN holds a talk story at Pahala Plantation House Tuesday, Feb. 26 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Ruderman meets with constituents to discuss issues before the state Legislature. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call 974-4000, ext. 66890.

KA `OHANA O HONU`APO hosts its first 2013 family event at Honu`apo on Sunday, March 10 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Titled Tutu & Keiki, it will showcase two hosts: Tutu & Me Traveling Preschool and Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka`u.
      “We’re excited to share what we do,” including learning activities and educating caregivers, said Tutu & Me administrator Betty Clark. Zachary DeBernardi, Civic Club chair of Na Mea Hawai`i Committee, said members will demonstrate and conduct five makahiki games - konane, hu, pala`ie, ulumaika, and moapahe`e. Prizes will go to keiki who participate.
      Refreshments and drinks will be available for sale along with handmade items from Ka`u kupuna. Call Ka `Ohana’s executive director Lehua Lopez at 929-9891 for more information.

IN SPORTS TOMORROW, Ka`u High’s tennis teams travel to Kea`au, and a judo tournament takes place in Hilo.