A Message to All I Aloha Molokai Supporters

The State of Hawaii is heavily into election campaigns.  As always, I Aloha Molokai chooses to remain out of the fray.  To this end,  the Executive Board has decided to suspend all major public activity until after the 2014 elections.  This does not mean that the Board and supporters alike will not be watching what is going on in our State with relation to politics or energy issues.  If it is discovered IAM is needed, we will alert our supporters and spring into action.

Please check back here at our website to see if there are any posted calls to action.  IAM has been very successful in preventing the windmills from coming to Molokai, helping to shape the current PEIS draft, keeping the undersea cable from landing on Molokai, providing outreach and education, creating the MCEI and many other activities.

We will continue to monitor the Hawaii stage and plan to reactivate the MCEI in the near future.

As always, thank you for your continued support!

To Be Clear……

I Aloha Molokai is going on the record to be clear on it’s position on renewable energy projects for Molokai and the State of Hawaii as a whole.

We agree that renewables are vital to the reduction of the State’s carbon foot print, we agree that well thought out, viable renewable energy projects are needed for Molokai, we agree that developers that can provide renewable projects should step-up and propose fossil fuel alternatives, we agree that solar projects throughout the State are helping Hawaii meet its renewable goals, we agree that more affordable solar systems should be made available to enable all consumers to secure them, we agree that the HECO companies should improve its outdated facilities, we agree with the legislature that bottom-up planning as outlined in HCR 189 should occur on every Hawaiian island.

By supporting all these issues, I Aloha Molokai remains committed to its mission to oppose windmill farms on Molokai, oppose an undersea cable to either Molokai or Lanai and to seek out viable renewable energy projects for the island.

IAM strives to accomplish its mission to find renewables that fit into the Molokai community with minimal disruption to daily life while providing rate relief and system reliability to Molokai’s residents.

IAM created the Molokai Clean Energy Initiative (MCEI) to help meet these goals.

IAM continues to invite anyone with ideas on how Molokai can be energy independent to attend either IAM”s monthly meetings or the MCEI meetings.

We will not waiver in our belief that transparency and partnerships are the way in which projects for Molokai can and will work.

IAM strives to maintain positive communication with Federal, State, County and Community organizations in order to facilitate a productive MCEI process.

If IAM takes a stand in opposition to a particular project, action or piece of legislation it does so because there has been a violation of either I Aloha Molokai’s mission or HCR 189.  We stand behind our convictions and hope that in time our efforts will help to facilitate energy projects that will help Molokai attain fossil fuel independence at a price that everyone can afford.

I Aloha Molokai officially opposes HB1942 & SB2754

I Aloha Molokai has submitted testimony on both HB1942 & SB2754.  Both bills are set to be heard by the House and Senate on Tuesday, February 11, 2014.  These bills offer 50 million dollars in bonds for the Ikehu Molokai project proposed by Molokai Ranch and Princeton Energy.

IAM opposes the bills based on the Resolution 189 which we wrote with the House that mandates “bottom-up” planning on all the Hawaiian islands.  The Molokai Ranch and Princeton Energy Ikehu project falls short of the intent of this Resolution.

Although Molokai Ranch and Princeton have met with IAM and various other community groups about the Ikehu project, they have failed to produce ANY project supporting documentation.  When asked to provide engineering reports, financial projects or any other plans, they cannot.  IAM believes it is a mistake to allocate funds for projects that have not been vetted or put through the proper bidding processes.

Perhaps Molokai Ranch and Princeton Energy can present the full plan in the near future to gain the support here on Molokai that they need before going to the Legislature for funding.

I Aloha Molokai does support projects that reflect the intent of Resolution 189 and looks forward to partnering with companies that agree with our planning philosophy.

House Bill 1942 

Senate Bill 2754

Although testimony is closed for the House version of the bill, testimony closes at 2 pm today for the Senate version.  Click the links above to view the bills.  Also, emails can be sent to all Committee members.

IAM appreciates your continued support.

Update on IAM activities and interesting articles

Aloha…

IAM is planning on attending a hearing about the sea cable as well as another hearing about the Maui County sea cable. We are trying to stay on top of the evolving issues and some back door meetings about energy in Hawaii. So stay tuned. Below are some interesting articles about energy….
Henry Curtis….

The Ethics of Secret Meetings

 

Discovering the meeting was a fluke. 

Did the meeting trigger rules regarding ex parte communications?

The Convoluted History of Geothermal in Hawai`i

 

Hawai`i Geothermal include false histories, blowouts, fracking, unionization, and much more

 
 
Tomorrow ——> The Ethics of Secret Meetings
 
In a couple of months the U.S. Department of Energy will release its long awaited undersea cable DRAFT Programmatic EIS
 

 
The real threat is not the everyday problems, which will get much worse, but rather the increasing intensity and severity of 100-year events
 
 
 

Accept One Wind Project and You Might Get Two

 

The Kahuku community accepted a wind farm. 

 

Now another wind company has proposed building a wind farm that will wrap around their community. 

 

HECO has challenged the community’s request to be in the PUC proceedings.

The Footprint of Hawaii Batteries

 

If people leave the electric grid they will need to install batteries. 

 

But what are the environmental impacts of doing that?

Who is Zilkha Biomass and why do they want to sell black wood pellets to HECO?

PRESS RELEASE

IAM regrets to announce the cancellation of our 3rd Alternative Energy Festival, scheduled for January 14. We had hoped once again to host vendors, speakers, and vigorous public discussion of energy options for our island, and our state. Recent confidential negotiations between Molokai Ranch, California wind developer Princeton Energy, Maui County and Maui Electric Company, however, have cast doubt on our ability to keep the Festival as transparent and neutral as the previous two.

These negotiations concern a proposed 25 Megawatt Solar Farm with pumped hydro backup, to be placed on Ranch land above and below Manila Camp. While the project sounds promising, many basic questions remain unanswered. Moreover, Maui County’s premature endorsement of the project, before any public meetings have been held, risks giving project developers false confidence about community buy-in.  According to the December 4th Dispatch, Princeton Energy CEO Steve Taber “does not plan to hold a meeting with the entire community.” Certain of the negotiating parties are already reported to be executing “non-disclosure agreements.”

Among the questions which need answering are: What would be the impact on Manila Camp? Has anyone asked those residents what they think? Why didn’t the County schedule public meetings to explain the project and gather input before they endorsed it? This is, after all, the whole point of bottom-up planning, which was the goal of IAM’s Molokai Clean Energy Initiative. This is also the whole point of our Resolution, HCR 189, which endorsed bottom up planning statewide and received unanimous support from our Legislature.

How will this project affect MECO’s Molokai grid? What upgrades would be needed? What would they cost? Who would pay for them? How will this project impact our grid’s ability to accept more residential solar? Can this project provide island scale emergency backup? What guarantee do we have that this new wind company will not purchase Pattern Energy’s entitlements and revive the industrial wind/undersea cable plan? This project does switch us to renewable energy. In theory, it also promises to reduce our rates; but in practice, with projected and probable costs, it’s hard to see how rates won’t go even higher.

IAM has never opposed appropriate development for the Ranch or for Molokai. We would love to support a project like this, if it checks out and wins broad community support. We have simply insisted that large projects follow an open, public and democratic process. This isn’t much to ask. Securing community buy-in first clearly saves time and money down the road. The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, for example, has understood our request, and has reshaped its proposed battery project accordingly. The Princeton project could also be a winner, but only if its drivers are willing to brake for democracy.

I Aloha Molokai

 

More on energy by Henry Curtis

 

 

 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Moloka`i Community Concerns Over Latest Energy Proposal

 

 

By Henry Curtis

 

 

I Aloha Moloka’i (IAM) issued a press release yesterday on the proposal by Moloka’i Ranch and the Princeton Energy Group to form a consortium called Ikehu Moloka`i which would make all of Moloka`i’s electricity from renewable sources. 

 

 

IAM has never opposed appropriate development for the Ranch or for Molokai. We would love to support a project like this, if it checks out and wins broad community support. We have simply insisted that large projects follow an open, public and democratic process. This isn’t much to ask. Securing community buy-in first clearly saves time and money down the road. The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, for example, has understood our request, and has reshaped its proposed battery project accordingly. The Princeton project could also be a winner, but only if its drivers are willing to brake for democracy.”

 

 

There are behind the scene actions occurring. Maui County is believed to have given its endorsement to the proposal. Some parties are reported to be executing “non-disclosure agreements.”

 

 

According to the Molokai Dispatch, Princeton Energy CEO Steve Taber “does not plan to hold a meeting with the entire community.”

 

 

The Solar Farm and Pumped Storage Hydroelectric are planned for Manila Camp. Has the developer met with the residents of Manila Camp? Are there alternative sites under consideration?

 

 

Princeton said they might use a vanadium battery instead of pumped storage hydroelectric. What impacts would that have?

 

 

Is Princeton engaged in top-down or bottom-up planning?

 

 

IAM believes in a bottom up approach. The Legislature passed IAM’s Resolution (HCR 189) which endorsed bottom up planning statewide and received unanimous support from our Legislature.

 

 

IAM has been holding monthly meetings with federal, state and county regulators, politicians, utilities, renewable energy companies and policy wonks. IAM is actively engaging the community with annual energy festivals.

 

 

Princeton proposes to make all Moloka’i electricity from renewable resources and sells it to MECO which would re-sell it to customers. If the electricity is 100% renewable then what happens if a customer installs a net metered solar system on their roof?

 

 

Would MECO accept it? Would the Public Utilities Commission allow it? Would Princeton expect a payment for their lower sales of renewable energy?

 

 

Princeton has said that under their scheme rates will go marginally down.

 

 

On-site solar installations currently cost 40-50% of the cost of grid-based electricity. The price of solar panels is expected to drop 5-7% a year for the next several years.  Why would anyone favor being locked into a 20-30 year contract at rates perhaps marginally lower than they are today, when truly lower rates are around the corner?

 

 

Princeton Energy Group is a wind company. They build wind systems throughout the world. They are proposing wind farms in Mexico to feed California’s energy appetite.

 

 

How do they feel about the inter-island cable?

 

 

“We were on sidelines for the Big Wind project, but we were kind of offended by the project — it was way out of scale,” said Princeton Energy Group CEO Steve Tabor.  “We said we’re interested in doing something smaller scale that addresses the needs of the island.”

 

 

Considering that Steve’s wife has been coming to Molokai for years, it is odd that they didn’t say something sooner. On the other hand, the Board members of Princeton are involved with numerous other wind companies and one of their Board members was the former President of the American Wind Energy Association.

 

 

So perhaps the after-the-fact, “we didn’t support Big Wind” is less than credible.

 

 

Meanwhile the State will not give up the idea of interlinking all of the islands. DBEDT favors AC cables between Moloka`i, Lana`i and Maui; and DC cables between O`ahu, Maui and the Big Island.

 

 

On Wednesday December 4, 2013, DBEDT Energy Administrator Mark Glick was a guest on ThinkTechHawaii.

 

 

 

Ultimately, the biggest grid modernization aspect that we believe will have at the State Energy Office, and the Governor, believes that will have the biggest impact is the interconnection of the islands, in particular, the grid-tie between Oahu and Maui. Then ultimately, because of geothermal energy, ultimately making its way to Hawaii. We believe that will have biggest impact on creating much greater grid reliability and stability.”  

 

 

The Barrel Tax (Act 73) “gave us dedicated pool funds to target high impact solutions to try to get us to our 2030 targets. We’ve also made it so that the network of developers and other stakeholders in this energy market have the tools and are not impeded by over regulation or by any other barriers to get this job done.”

 

 

“HNEI has been a vital partner to us. It provide money for key initiatives like the Programmatic EIS which we believe, it was a game changer in perceptions about how we go about implementing our clean energy initiative, but also answering a lot of technical pieces of the puzzle.

 

 

There are big questions haunting the Ikehu proposal. What is being hidden from the community? Does Molokai Ranch and Princeton have side deals? Is Princeton negotiating secretly with HECO and DBEDT? Will there be efforts to seal information from public review? Are the rates fixed or do they have built in escalators?

 

Will Princeton work with the entire community?

Article by Henry Curtis talks about new energy proposal for Molokai

Who wants to make Moloka`i Energy Independent?

By Henry Curtis
Moloka`i Ranch has teamed up with California-based Princeton Energy Group to form Ikehu Moloka`i.  Ikehu is Hawaiian for “power.” 
 
Moloka`i Ranch proposes that its land be used to make Moloka`i electricity 100% renewable.
 “We were on sidelines for the Big Wind project, but we were kind of offended by the project — it was way out of scale,” said Princeton Energy Group CEO Steve Tabor.  “We said we’re interested in doing something smaller scale that addresses the needs of the island.”
The plan is as follows. South-facing low-rise photovoltaic panels would be built on 100 acres near Manila Camp. A 20-25 MW solar farm would produce an average of 5 MW. Ikehu Moloka`i could have the solar farm operational in late 2016.
Daytime energy would be converted to nighttime energy. They believe that the probable approach is to rely on Pumped Storage Hydroelectric. An alternative and newer battery approach is the use of vanadium flow batteries.
Pumped Storage Hydroelectric accounts for most energy storage in the United States. Water is pumped from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir during the day and is dropped at night. The pumping station will also be built near Manila Camp. The pumps would be enclosed to minimize noise.
Separate pipes allow for intermittent energy to pump water up hill, and at the same time, a steady downward flow of water can produce reliable baseload energy. 
As a back-up, biodiesel can be on-hand to fuel existing MECO diesel generators.
Ikehu Moloka`i would sign a Power Purchase Agreement with Maui Electric (MECO).
In essence Ikehu Moloka`i would act as a generation company and MECO as the Transmission & Distribution Company.
The Ikehu Moloka`i – MECO approach could be seen as a precursor to either the HECO Companies getting out of the power generation business, or getting into the wheeling business where utilities lease available space on their electric lines.
The ratepayer impact would be a slight drop in existing rates. When the Moloka`i residents form a coop, the coop would take over the Power Purchase Agreement.
Who is the Princeton Energy Group?
The Princeton Energy Group team consists of six people.
Steve Taber founded Nordic Windpower and still sits on their Board of Directors. He co-founded Asociados PanAmericanos LLC of Nevada, a group dedicated to building wind farms in Mexico and selling the power to California.
Andrea Taber was previously affiliated with Nordic Windpower, a Goldman Sachs-funded wind turbine manufacturing company.
Mike Follonihelp develop the 67.5 MW La Mata Wind Park in Oaxaca, Mexico that provides electricity to Grupo Wal-Mart stores.
Dr. Richard Ely has been a principal consultant in developing alternative energy sources with Princeton Energy Group and its spinoffs Energy Nevada and Nordic WindPower.
Dr. James Walker served on the board of the American Wind Energy Association (2006-10) and was named 2007 AWEA Industry Person of the Year. He serves as Vice-Chairman and former CEO of EDF Renewable Energy, acompany which has applied for a permit to kill eagles.

On December 6, 2013 the Interior Department announced “that it has finalized a new rule that will allow renewable energy and other projects to obtain permits to injure, kill or disturb bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years, a move that pleases the wind power industry but alarms environmentalists.  …Fish and Wildlife hasn’t issued any five-year eagle take permits to date, though it is considering in a draft environmental assessment to award the first-ever take permit for an existing wind farm to EDF Renewable Energy.”