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.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Monday, May 15, 2017

Sen. Gil Kahele, who served Ka`u and later Hilo and Puna in the Hawai`i Legislature is honored with a monument
dedicated on Hilo Bay today, Monday. See story below. Photo from Big Island Video News
INDUSTRIAL SIZED SOLAR DEVELOPERS in Ocean View are seen as “colluding with HELCO to rip off ratepayers,” headlined a leading energy blog today. Henry Curtis, of Life of the Land, who is typically supportive of renewable energy projects, criticized developers of the Ocean View project, contending that they are bypassing competitive bidding, which is required for projects that generate more than five megawatts of power. The proposed Ocean View project would be a 6.5 megawatt solar generation facility.
    On his Ililani Media blog, Curtis wrote: “A Beijing developer could have submitted a proposed 6.5 megawatt solar generation facility to Hawai`i Electric Light Company, through either bilateral negotiations or competitive bidding. But in those cases, the developer would get about 11-12 cents per kilowatt-hour. Instead the developer allegedly decided to improperly segment the project into two dozen small projects, that would each individually fall under the Feed-In Tariff process, whereby the developer could get in excess of 20 cents per kilowatt-hour.
     “The Public Utilities Commission has noted that the Big Island currently, and in the foreseeable future, has exceeded the State-mandated renewable energy penetration requirements,” explained Curtis. “Therefore, renewable energy projects proposed for the Big Island must reduce rates. However, this project will generate windfall profits to the developer at the expense of Big Island ratepayers.”
Ranchos residents fear their views and their peaceful neighborhood
will be disrupted by industrial solar that would cover entire lots,
replacing trees, and bring a windfall at the expense of ratepayers.
    Curtis quoted the state Consumer Advocate who wrote: "it is apparent that the 26 Solar Project Owners effectively 'gamed' the FIT process in order to avoid going through the more rigorous competitive bidding framework.”
    Stated Curtis, “Under the FiT scheme the owner could be paid up to ten cents per kilowatt-hour higher that under a competitively bid commercial project, thus, the owner of the segmented projects could make windfall profits.”
    Curtis also referred to two dockets before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The first (2015-0229) was instituted by HELCO and requested permission for an overhead line to service the project. The second docket (2016-0224) was instituted by Ranchos residents, Peter and Ann Bosted, and is entitled “Complaint against Hawai'i Electric Company (HECO) as administrator of the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) Program and its subsidiary company, Hawai`i Electric Light Company (HELCO) for not holding the developers of a 6.5 megawatt solar project in Ocean View in compliance with the FIT Program.”
    In today’s blog, Curtis highlighted some of the objections made to the PUC, including no site control, not shovel-ready, trading places in the FIT Active Queue and no geographic diversity. Curtis quoted the Bosteds as writing:
    “The FiT program, launched in 2008, had noble goals of moving Hawai’i towards being independent of fossil fuels for electric power. However, as we will explain in this letter and supporting documents, the FIT project intended for Ocean View has completely confounded and disrupted the good intentions of the program. Further, this project embodies everything that has gone wrong with the FIT program.”
    “A fundamental requirement for entering the FiT queue is to have control over the site where a proposed project is to be installed.” In this case, the developer had “neither owned nor leased land when the permits were applied for.” Instead the land was in escrow, explained Curtis.
     Curtis also wrote “FiT proposals are supposed to be shovel-ready. Although the application dates from 2011, the project is still not shovel ready.
     “The FiT Permits were traded between companies. Currently the permits are owned by 17 shell companies which are owned by another shell company named Calwaii Power Holdings, which is largely owned by SPI Solar, a company headquartered in Shanghai and registered in the Cayman Islands.
     “The Public Utilities Commission has promoted the idea of geographic diversity. The Bosted Complaint contends that this idea is not being implemented.”
    Curtis also reported that motions to intervene in the complaint docket made by Life of the Land and Hawai`i Ranchos Road Maintenance Corp. were rejected by the PUC. Life of the Land has been admitted into 41 PUC proceedings since 1971.
    The development would put the solar installations on lots between residences, clearing the ohia and other trees that are common to the area.

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Sen. Kai Kahele at the dedication of a monument to his late father
Sen. Gil Kahele, who served Ka`u and Miloli`i.
Photo by David Corrigan, Big Island Video News.
KAHELE POINT is the name of the place on Hilo Bay where a monument to the late Senator Gilbert Kahele, who represented Ka`u, and later Hilo, was dedicated today. The state Department of Land & Natural Resources gave permission to establish a monument area on the shore facing Moku`ola, Coconut Island, through a resolution at the Hawai`i Legislature. The monument is located on the dock of the Grand Naniloa Hotel on Banyan Drive.
    Kahele lobbied for the new Ka`u High School Gym and emceed former Gov. Neil Abercrombie's inauguration ceremonies, when he took them on the road, meeting the public at the Hawaiian Homes Clubhouse in Kamuela and Pahala Plantation House in Ka`u.
    When the geographic lines for the legislative districts changed and Kahele could no longer represent Ka`u, nor Miloli`i where his family lived as fishermen for generations, he promised to never forget Ka`u. He became a state Senator for Hilo but continued to lobby for Ka`u initiatives.
    The monument on Hilo Bay reads that it is "dedicated in memory of State Senator Gilbert Kahele, his generous aloha spirit, his love for the ocean and this special place....From a grass shack in Miloli`i, on the South Kona coast, Gil went on to dedicate 56 years of his life to public service, first in the United States Marine Corps, the Department of Defense, community development ... and finally the Hawai`i State Senate. He especially focused on assisting children, the underprivileged, the elderly and those without a voice. We are all in this together. Ha`oli Kas Mana`o."
     Upon his death, Gil Kahele's son Kaiali`i Kahele took his post as Senator and won the election last fall. See the dedication ceremony for the monument at Big Island Video News.

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AUDITIONS FOR FINIAN'S RAINBOW, produced by Kilauea Drama & Entertainment Network, as its annual summer musical will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 16 and 17, at Kilauea Military Camp's Kilauea Theater starting at 6:30 pm. Directing the show will be Suzi Bond, with musical direction by Walter Greenwood.

HAUNANI'S ALOHA EXPRESSIONS entertain Wednesday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Enjoy an evening of music and hula of Haunani’s Aloha Expressions. With their handmade colorful costumes and lei, these energetic kūpuna have competed at, and won, various hula festivals. They bring to life the magic of old Hawai‘i. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu Heavenly Voices presentations. Free.