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.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014

Santa and his reindeer were seen at Kilauea Military Camp. Ka`u residents can vote for their favorite decorated KMC cabin
 for one more week. Photo by Dave Berry
HAWAI`I’S ELECTRIC UTILITIES have achieved a Renewable Portfolio Standard of 17.97 percent, which means Hawai`i has effectively surpassed the 2015 interim goal of using 15 percent of renewable resources to create electricity two years early. Programmatic updates have also increased the prevalence and utilization of renewable energy projects statewide, according the state Energy Office’s 2014 annual report.
Hawai`i's reich natural resources support a diverse renewable energy portfolio.
Graph from Hawai`i Energy Office
      “By deploying clean energy infrastructure and attracting test bed investments and innovation, Hawai`i is creating a clean energy cluster that is becoming a new driver for our economy,” said Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism Director Richard Lim. DBEDT oversees the state Energy Office.
      “As a result of this progress, we are now committed to going beyond the original target of 40 percent renewable energy by 2030 as outlined in the Hawai`i Clean Energy Initiative,” Lim said.
      2014 also marked the launch of the DBEDT-initiated Green Energy Market Securitization program and establishment of the Green Infrastructure Authority pursuant to Act 211. “The creation of innovative programs like this will help raise the capital needed for Hawai`i to pursue its clean energy goals,” Lim said.
      “Through our responses to landmark Public Utilities Commission dockets on distributed generation interconnection and utility planning, DBEDT offered its vision for a new utility business model that supports a network of smart, interconnected grids,” Lim said. This will bring higher rates of renewable energy penetration and potential savings to electric utility customers.
      “Hawai`i’s leadership in late-stage development and deployment of these technological innovations is a key part of our emerging status as one of the world’s top clean energy test beds.
      “It is imperative that Hawai`i remain committed to the energy transformation now underway. Doing so will help bring our energy prices under control, provide greater energy security for Hawai`i, protect our environment and strengthen and diversify our local economy.
      See the report at http://energy.hawaii.gov/wpcontent/uploads/2011/10/ERC2014_12.01.14.pdf.
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FLORIDA POWER AND LIGHT “is becoming the ultimate in vertically integrated utilities by owning fuel production, generation, transmission and distribution while minimizing alternatives like rooftop solar and energy efficiency,” according to Henry Curtis, director of Life of the Land, which studies many energy issues and is involved in many dockets considered by the Public Utilities Commission. FPL is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, the company that is buying Hawaiian Electric Light Co. FPL promotes itself on Hawai`i television stations as using solar energy during the day and natural gas at night to make electricity.
       According to Curtis, Bloomberg News reported that “NextEra Energy Inc. won approval from Florida regulators for its utility to skip the middleman and drill for its own natural gas,” and the Miami Herald reported that “Florida Power & Light wants to get into the natural gas fracking business.”
      FPL proposed investing nearly $50 million in a joint venture with Petroquest Energy, Inc. to develop wells in southeastern Oklahoma’s Woodford shale.
      Curtis said Florida’s consumer advocate called the proposal “a speculative investment” and claimed that the risk was too high. Ratepayers would save two cents a month over 50 years “but would be left holding the bag if the investment failed.”
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A 68-YEAR-OLD KA`U MAN DIED MONDAY in waters off Ka`alu`alu Bay. Perfecto Mercado, of Na`alehu, was found floating in waters approximately 40 to 50 yards off the bay. Bystanders removed him from the water and moved him to South Point Road. Police and Hawai`i Fire Department medics transported the victim to Kaʻu Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:49 p.m.
      An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.
      A lifeguard rescue saved a visi†or at Punalu`u yesterday after she drifted far from shore and was unable to swim in. She was taken to Ka`u Hospital and on to Hilo Hospital for an overnight watch and set to be released today.
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HIS ROLE IN STOPPING THE PROPOSED Ka`u spaceport was on Mayor Billy Kenoi’s mind when he testified in opposition to making Keauhou Aquifer System a Ground Water Management Area. When he was a law student, Kenoi drafted the petition to shut down the Ka`u project. He said his first legal effort was “to protect this island. That’s what we do.”
      Kenoi referred to Koloko-Honokohau National Historical Park’s petition to create the management area as “a whiff of paternalism” and interpreted it as the federal government telling the county, “You guys don’t know what you’re doing; we gotta come in, help you guys – you don’t know how.” Concerns expressed by some community members are that a management area would restrict development of approved projects including higher education facilities, recreation areas and housing for Native Hawaiians.
Mayor Billy Kenoi
Photo by Julia Neal
      Concerns voiced by National Park Service are that increased withdrawal of water from the aquifer could negatively effect Kaloko-Honokohau’s ability to manage public trust resources in the park. The petition states that the designation “is necessary to ensure that optimal conditions exist for the fragile ecosystems that support coastal fisheries, traditional and customary subsistence fishing and shoreline gathering, recreational opportunities, and rare native species.”
      Kenoi said all levels of government have the kuleana to malama the island and because the county is protecting the island, a management-area designation is not necessary. He said science, law and proof of violations should be used to make decisions regarding management of the aquifer.
      According to science, Kenoi said, the aquifer is not in trouble based on present use and future projections of use.
      Regarding law, Kenoi said developers beg him to approve projects that would increase water use, but they have to meet strong requirements.
      He said that if violations regarding water management are occurring, he would be the first to make the Department of Water Supply answer such allegations. He called for the concept of strategic allocation to be used regarding water resources.
      Kenoi said this is not a conflict with the national park. “You cannot submit one petition because you can; because you like; just because you feel you know you might have the votes on one commission …, just because you are the federal government. This island no exist in a national park; the national park sits in our community, and we’re all here to work together.”
      NPS suggests that it is necessary to follow the precautionary principle and interprets state law as saying, “pursuant to that principle, when ‘the water resources in an area may be threatened by existing or proposed withdrawals or diversions of water,’ the Commission has a duty to designate a water management area.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U HUNTERS CAN RIDE THEIR SLEIGHS to Pohakuloa Training Area Christmas Day and Friday. Army officials are opening several training areas for bow hunting tomorrow from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Training areas 1-4, 9, 12-16 and the Keamuku Training Area will be open for shotgun hunting of birds only. Use of shotgun slugs is not permitted.
      On Friday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., the same areas will be open for bow hunting of mammals only. Hunters are allowed one pig, one goat and one sheep per day, in keeping with state bag limits. Shooting sheep with blue collars is not permitted.
      For rules and information about access, see www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/pta/.

KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S CRATER RIM CAFÉ in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park offers a Christmas buffet from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Menu items include prime rib au jus, stuffed roast turkey and holiday lamb stew. $26.95 for adults and $13.50 for child 6-11 years old. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. Call 967-8356 for more information.

AMAHL & THE NIGHT VISITORS PREMIERS Friday at Kilauea Military Camp Theater in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. KDEN presents the production through Sunday, Jan. 4. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. For tickets, call 982-7344 or email kden73@aol.com.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.