Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016

A new coral nursery will help replenish lost or damaged reefs in Hawai`i. See more below. Photo from DLNR
HAWAI`I ISLAND ENERGY COOPERATIVE has released its alternative power generation plan that it said would move the Big Island faster and cheaper toward cost-effective clean energies and reach close to 100 percent renewable years before the state’s 2045 target date. 
HIEC’s plan, based on a new analysis of the island’s existing resources and estimates of potential new solar, wind and energy storage resources, presents a less expensive and cleaner alternative to previous plans.
Marco Mangelsdorf
      “We are very excited to be able to propose a compelling, practical and doable plan that would accelerate our island’s clean energy transformation in a way that would yield significant benefits for the more than 83,000 electric customers here,” HIEC director Marco Mangelsdorf said. “By building on the successes achieved by Kaua`i Island Utility Cooperative to integrate high levels of cost-effective solar PV into the grid while adding just the right amount of storage to ensure system stability and reliability, HIEC would be better able to ensure a lower-cost, more balanced power supply portfolio.” 
      HIEC’s plan includes no new fossil fuel generation, no liquefied natural gas infrastructure or long-term reliance on fossil generation, continued expansion of roof-top solar, competitively priced and cost-effective utility-scale solar PV and wind, capital expenditures that would be less compared to the current or future investor-owned utility model, and lower-cost solar and wind resources that would replace LNG conversion costs.
       Whether, where and when more geothermal energy will be brought on line would be left to the membership and democratically elected board of the fully operational cooperative.
      In the Hawaiian Electric Industries-NextEra Energy merger proceedings now being held by Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission, NextEra has asserted that the primary question the commission should ask itself is whether Hawaiian Electric ratepayers and the state of Hawaii would be better off with or without the sale going through. HIEC has argued that the commission should consider the merits of the cooperative ownership model for Hawai`i Island. 
      “Credibility, purpose and a focus on how to best serve and benefit the island’s 195,000 residents is what this cooperative is all about,” HIEC president Richard Ha said. “HIEC’s alternative power generation plan provides an important basis to establish that a cooperative does what its members want, not what is in the best interest of shareholders. We are committed to a path to the island’s renewable energy future that will get us faster and cheaper to where we all want to go – an economy based on more affordable electricity and an environment that’s cared for.” 
      HIEC said it would be better able to ensure a lower cost, more balanced power supply portfolio because: it would not be burdened by the shareholder and corporate needs of an investor-owned utility; it would be able to determine what, if any, fuel switch may make sense for Hawai`i Island in the near-term while the island continues its transition toward state renewable energy mandates in contrast to pursuing the questionable and controversial LNG path; and it would build on the successes achieved at KIUC to successfully integrate high levels of low-cost solar into the system while adding just the right amount of storage to ensure reliability levels remain the same or improve.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A Ka`u Learning Academy student was arrested on suspicion
of possessing an explosive device. Photo from KLA
HAWAI`I ISLAND POLICE ARE investigating a suspicious device found Wednesday at a charter school in Ka`u. At 10:15 a.m., police received a call reporting a pipe bomb found in the possession of a student at the Ka`u Learning Academy in Discovery Harbour. Responding officers learned that school officials had found the suspicious device in the backpack of a nine-year-old boy. 
The boy was arrested on suspicion of possessing an explosive device and then released to a family member while police continue the investigation.
Police notified the FBI, the U.S. Army’s Explosive Ordinance Detail on O`ahu, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Hawai`i County Fire Department.
      The school was evacuated for the rest of the day.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A NEW STATE CORAL NURSERY provides insurance against lost or damaged reefs. The Department of Land & Natural Resources facility grows large, native corals using fast-growth protocols. It aims to use professional-level coral husbandry techniques to grow small fragments of a coral colony, recombine them into large colonies and then transplant them into the field in a fraction of the time it would take these corals to grow naturally.
A new state coral nursery will help replenish lost
or damaged reefs. Photo from DLNR
      “Most coral nurseries around the world are in situ, meaning they are in the field,” Division of Aquatic Resources Coral Biologist David Gulko said. “These types of nurseries excel at raising naturally fast-growing species of corals, which are not components of major reefs in the Main Hawaiian Islands. At our Coral Restoration Nursery, we’re focusing on ex situ or a shore-based nursery where we can grow large-size, adult colonies of coral for restoration purposes in a little more than one year.”
      The Hawai`i nursery primarily uses corals for transplantation from harbors because they have lower ecological value compared to corals from natural areas, may be more resilient to disturbances and environmental changes and do not impact natural reefs. Gathering from harbors also helps with upkeep and maintenance of manmade structures.
      The Coral Restoration Nursery will also provide coral colonies for multiple restoration projects under the country’s first Aquatic Mitigation Bank, which primarily focuses on near-shore coral reef resources. “The mitigation bank is akin to companies gaining carbon credits in that costs recouped through the selling of coral restoration credits are based on lost ecological services from incidents like boat groundings and spills into the ocean,” DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said.
      “Nearly one-quarter of the coral species found in Hawai`i are unique to our islands and are also among the slowest growing on the planet,” DAR Administrator Dr. Bruce Anderson said. “This means it could take well over a decade for corals to get big enough to reproduce. The Coral Restoration Nursery is using techniques that will reduce the time it takes to grow transplantable corals to about one year. We are hopeful this will help recover reefs which have been seriously degraded by human impacts like coastal development, vessel groundings, pollution events, along with environmental factors such as climate change.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I COUNTY Department of Research and Development is soliciting proposals for economic development grant awards in preparation for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The intent of the grant program is to support sustainable economic development in agriculture, business development, energy, film, STEM industries and tourism. Proposals must address and support the program goals and objectives for subject areas. Proposals submitted will be reviewed and considered for the receipt of funding to supplement existing or proposed project or program budgets for the applicant organizations.
      Notification of approval and recommendation for funding will be made by June 30.
      Proposal forms, specifications and special provisions can be obtained at hawaiicounty.gov/research-and-development or 961-8366. Questions must be received in writing on or before March 14. Deadline to apply is Friday, April 22.
      The department hosts two public information sessions to explain the grant program process for potential applicants: Tuesday, Feb.16, 1:30 p.m. at West Hawai`i Civic Center’s Community Hale Conference Room, Building G in Kona; Friday, Feb. 19, 1:30 p.m. at County of Hawai`i Aging and Disability Resource Center, 1055 Kino`ole Street, Suite 101 in Hilo.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

VALENTINE’S WEEKEND HUKILAU begins tomorrow and continues through Sunday at Whittington Beach Park. Handijam presents this blanket and toy drive featuring Buddy Cage, of New Riders of the Purple Sage. $15 suggested donation; veterans free. 
      Call 917-561-4800.

PANCAKE BREAKFAST IS SATURDAY from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Ocean View Community Center. Vision Van will be onsite to offer free screenings. Call 939-7033 for more information.

VOLCANO ART CENTER’S 12th annual fundraiser is Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. Tickets are $55 for VAC members; $65 for nonmembers.
      See volcanoartcenter.org or call 967-8222.


See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_February2016.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.

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