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, October 4, 2016

Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016

The public is invited to learn about na pa`ahana hula (tools of hula) tomorrow.
See more below. Photo from NPS
THE PROPOSED INDUSTRIAL SOLAR FARM IN OCEAN VIEW is the target of two spokesmen for nonprofit organizations, who have applied to the state Public Utilities Commission for permission to participate in a formal complaint against Hawaiian Electric Light Co. and its parent company, Hawaiian Electric Co. One organization is an environmental watchdog. The other maintains private roads at Hawaiian Ranchos where most of the solar farm is planned. They question the proposal to build 27 two-acre solar installations among homes in Ocean View.
      Life of the Land’s Henry Curtis, Vice President for Consumer Issues, applied to be an intervenor, as did Mats Fogelvik, President of the Hawaiian Ranchos Road Maintenance Corporation, which maintains 52 miles of private roads in the Hawaiian Ocean View Ranchos.
Henry Curtis
      If their applications are accepted by the PUC, they will become important players and advocates in supporting a complaint against the solar developers. Intervenors can ask questions of other intervenors and participants (discovery) and can supply evidence, including expert witnesses, before the PUC.
      The complaint asserts that the utilities failed to enforce many rules related to the Feed-in-Tariff project, which resulted in a utility-scale project being built in a residential subdivision to circumvent the Power Purchase Agreement requirement. The complaint asserts that HECO and HELCO did not hold the solar developer, SPI Solar, to its commitment to complete the project in nine months. The project is now four years overdue and has not begun.
      SPI Solar and its shell companies did not apply to the PUC for intervenor status.
      They were granted participant status in an earlier docket in which HELCO applied to the PUC for approval for an overhead transmission line. That docket is now on hold while the more recent docket, triggered by a formal complaint by Ranchos residents Peter and Ann Bosted, is resolved. The Bosteds are not represented by an attorney.
      “We are grateful for their support,” Ann Bosted said. “Henry Curtis is a very well respected and expert energy professional with masses of experience. He strongly sympathizes with our complaint. He could win this thing in his sleep.
      “Mats knows a lot about power – he built a hydro power plant with his dad, an electrical engineer. Mats is also very well respected in the Ocean View community and generously gives his time and expertise,” she added.
      In his motion to intervene, Curtis wrote: “Life of the Land asserts that every energy project has positive and negative economic, environmental, social, cultural, geographic, greenhouse gas, taxpayer and ratepayer impacts, and Life of the Land is concerned with the impacts, externalities and unintended side-effects of energy projects and programs.
      “Life of the Land firmly believes that developers must get support from the local community for their projects; that it is not in the public interest to intrusively industrialize rural areas so that urban areas can have power.
Mats Fogelvik
      “We intend to present a proactive case, supported by expert witnesses and exhibits, as needed or required, once the issues in this proceeding are resolved.
      “Life of the Land strongly supports the investigation of the segmented Ocean View project,” added Curtis.
      The second motion to intervene, submitted by Fogelvik, states: “HRRMC has a substantial and continuing interest in the proposed solar project, as the project’s construction and maintenance will impact the subdivision’s private roads and entrances, and the financial well-being of the HRRMC membership and the community organization.”
      Fogelvik explained that in 2013 HRRMC hosted a community meeting with the then developer, Pat Shudak, that was followed by a two-year hiatus.
      “The maintenance of HOVR’s system of private roads is expensive,” Fogelvik said. “It costs $80,000 to resurface one mile of road. If this utility-scale, industrial installation is allowed to advance, the roads will be badly worn by the heavy traffic. The dues will have to increase, or the owners of solar sites will have to increase their contributions. Since the solar sites are all owned by shell companies, in turn owned by an international company registered in the Cayman Islands, HRRMC may face insurmountable difficulties in getting dues paid in a timely fashion. The developer has expressed an intention to sell or ‘flip’ the project when it is completed. The HRRMC is not set up for this kind of debt-collecting challenge.
      “Many resident property owners have … decided to sell and move if the project goes forward. This may result in abandoned homes and land, and unpaid road maintenance dues. This is a very real problem in Ocean View. Indeed, over 630 Ocean View residents have signed a petition against the project.
      “HRRMC represents the interests of the majority of the 1,227 property owners in HOVR. The HOVR community will have to live with industrial installations scattered among residential homes, unless the relief sought in this docket is granted. The HRRMC is concerned about the high cost of electricity from this project, the illegal size of the project, and the ‘gaming’ of the FIT program, as are other members of the Hawai`i’s public.”
      Fogelvik added that HRRMC is concerned about “the developer’s true motivations in pursuing this project.”
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Shelee Kimura Photo from HECO
ENERGY STORAGE TESTING BY HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC CO., the parent of Hawaiian Electric Light Co., is ramping up on O`ahu. Successful testing of banks of batteries and a new flywheel system could lead to installing storage systems here. HECO announced this week that it will launch a pilot project with Amber Kinetics, of California, involving installation of a flywheel at the utility’s Campbell Park site. 
      Shelee Kimura, vice president of corporate planning and business development for Hawaiian Electric, said in a statement: “Energy storage is essential to reach a 100 percent renewable energy future, optimizing the use of Hawai`i’s abundant but variable solar and wind energy.”
      The company is also working on behavior-based demand response tools and other energy monitoring at public schools and other locations.
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SHARK INCIDENTS PEAK AT THIS TIME OF YEAR, and Hawai`i Department of Land & Natural Resources advises ocean users to use extra caution this month.
      DLNR quoted Mary Kawena Pukui: “Pua ka wiliwili nanahu ka mano” – When the wiliwili tree flowers, the shark bites.
      “October is the month with the greatest number of shark bites,” Division of Aquatic Resources Administrator Bruce Anderson. “We recommend ocean users exercise a little more caution this month especially, and also through the end of the year. The chance of being bitten by a shark in Hawaiian waters is always extremely small, but does increase a bit during this time frame.”
October is peak season for shark attacks.
Photo from DLNR
      According to DAR data, from 1980 through 2015 there were 122 unprovoked shark bites in Hawaiian waters. Twenty-six of those, or 21 percent, occurred during the month of October, with well-known victims such as Michael Coots in 1997 and Bethany Hamilton in 2003 suffering loss of limb. So far, no October bite has been fatal.
      In October 2012 there were two bites; in October 2013, three; in October 2014, four; and in October 2015, three. “The three bites last October were all around O`ahu, off different coasts of the island, and took place over a span of 20 days,” Anderson said. “Two were very serious, with victims losing part of a limb. It was an unprecedented spike, but like nearly every spike in shark incidents, the most likely explanation is just chance.”
      University of Hawai`i researchers, funded in part by DAR, have confirmed the fall spike and offered a possible explanation, at least in part. About 25 percent of the female tiger sharks in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands migrate to the main islands in the fall to give birth. The increased number of sharks in near shore waters, combined with their need to feed to replenish lost energy stores, may increase the likelihood of a bad encounter with a human.
      “The best thing ocean users can do to minimize their risk of shark bites is to utilize beaches with lifeguards, stay near other people, and don’t go too far from shore,” Anderson said. “Also, avoid murky water and areas near stream mouths.”
      More safety tips can be found at the division’s shark website, hawaiisharks.org.
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Ka`u District Gym & Shelter opens tomorrow.
THE PUBLIC IS INVITED TO VISIT THE NEW Ka`u District Gym & Shelter tomorrow. A blessing takes place at 10 a.m., and an open house begins at 5 p.m. The 43,300 square foot structure has three basketball and volleyball courts, a kitchen, offices, locker rooms storage space and meeting spaces. It will provide a safe haven for Ka`u residents in case of a natural disaster or compromised air quality.

LEARN ABOUT NA PA`AHANA HULA, implements that accompany traditional hula and `oli (chant), tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Pele Kaio, kumu hula of Unulau and instructor at Hawai`i Community College, will teach about the important tools used in this complex art.
      Free; park entrance fees apply.

NATURAL PEST CONTROL AND CONTAINER GARDENING are topics tomorrow at 12 p.m. at Na`alehu Public Library. Master gardeners discuss how to control garden pests without chemicals and offer helpful tips for small-scale gardening. Free.
      Call 939-2442 for more information.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.
See kaucalendar.com.
See kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.html
and kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.pdf.