Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Sunday, June 19, 2016

Volcano Community Association is accepting applications for the Volcano Fourth of July Parade. See more below.
Photo from Sher Glass
SHOULD WE TALK ABOUT MORE than just a transmission line? That’s the question Ocean View residents are asking regarding a question-and-answer exchange about the controversial solar project that proposes to put 27 installations in three makai residential subdivisions in Ocean View – many of them among homes. Hawai`i Consumer Advocate is asking pertinent questions which Hawai`i Electric Light Company must answer.
      HELCO has applied to the state Public Utilities Commission for permission to build a new overhead high-voltage transmission line that would connect the project to the grid.
      Over 640 Ocean View residents, fearing industrialization of their town, have signed a petition against the proposed 6.75-megawatt project.
      The battle to investigate the implications of this application began when the CA, Jeffrey Ono, put 14 pages of questions to HELCO on Jan. 27, to which HELCO responded with 97 pages on Feb. 10, just four days before a public hearing in Ocean View.
HELCO has applied for approval of a transmission line across Hwy 11
to connect to a substation to be built by the highway.
Map from HELCO's application to PUC
      Ono flew to the meeting conducted by PUC Chair Randy Iwase and attended by about 80 Ocean View residents. With one exception, all speakers were against the overhead transmission line, the new substation and the solar project. Iwase told the meeting that their objections “have not fallen on deaf ears.” 
      “It would appear that Mr. Ono was all ears,” said Ocean View resident Sandra Mayville, who was at the hearing. “Mr. Ono quickly caught on to the fact that a huge overseas corporation is exploiting a rural Hawaiian town for a quick profit and lucrative federal and state solar tax credits. The Big Island already has a surplus of daytime energy.”
      On May 18, Mr. Ono filed 24 pages of questions to HELCO. These were more investigative than the first set and more tailored to the Ocean View situation. The CA wanted answers to a range of questions, including the cost of undergrounding the transmission line, maintaining an underground line for 20 years and its removal. He also wanted to know the costs of operating and maintaining the substation for 20 years and its removal, as well as the cost of restoring the neighborhood’s homesites that the developers intend to use for PV installations.
HELCO's application includes this rendering of what the substation
would look like.
      HELCO has repeatedly stated that the three solar developers involved will bear the cost of building the substation and transmission line. The reported cost of the overhead transmission line is $168,000, and the cost of the substation is $1.75 million.
      “Mr. Ono delved deeper than HELCO’s superficial assurances, and is looking out for our interests,” Mayville added. “Judging by HELCO’s answers, they don’t like this.
      “HELCO’s answers clearly show that in this conflict of interest, HELCO prefers to favor the developers as customers and not the ratepayers. For example, HELCO was originally going to locate the substation, which is being built to service the developers, on developer-owned land. Then they switched to land owned by the Ranchos community that is being used for an office.
      “The HRRMC refused to allow HELCO to subdivide their land, but HELCO ignored them.
      “The Consumer Advocate is now asking HELCO to answer questions about the original site and the cost of removing the substation after 20 years, and HELCO is baulking, saying, essentially, that the substation is not a part of their transmission line application and should not be discussed. Excuse me. We have to live with this. Of course it should be discussed.
      “Why should HELCO decide that the ugly substation must be in the most conspicuous site? Why not use the developer’s land, where it can be hidden in the middle of three acres of trees? Whose side is HELCO on?”
Hawai`i Consumer Advocate Jeffrey Ono
      Mats Fogelvik, President of the Hawai`i Ranchos Road Maintenance Corporation, also commented on HELCO’s replies. 
      “Why, when the CA asks questions about the cost of undergrounding the transmission line and maintaining the undergrounded transmission line, does ELCO fatuously answer that they don’t know? Why can’t they look it up? There must be lots of technical information on the Internet on this subject. Why not ask a consultant? It seems like they are not willing to lift a finger if it means their customers, the solar developers, may have to pay more.”
      Linda Raquinio said, “I applaud Mr. Ono for asking about the cost of removing the solar installations and restoring the housing lots to where they could be used for homes – which is what the subdivision was created for.
      “Look at the South Point windmills fiasco. How long were tourists forced to tolerate that rusty, decrepit eyesore? Is this what we want for our neighborhood?”
      Raquinio referred to the now defunct Kama`oa Wind Farm off South Point Road. Thirty-seven windmills were installed in about 1987, then slowly deteriorated and by 2006 were completely defunct. They were not taken down until 2012 and are now stored on the site, awaiting removal.
      “Too often in Hawai`i, a project with a limited life is installed with no thought as to who will remove it when its useful life is over,” Raquinio said. “I support Mr. Ono’s forward thinking. If HELCO is not going to restore the sites, who will?
      “We know the developers plan to flip the project as soon as it is built – they have said so in a press release – and who knows how many times it will be sold and to whom. Going in, the developer needs to set aside the cost of disposing of 30,000 solar panels and restoring the sites.
      “If it costs $6 to dispose of a tire – and all they do is cut it up – what will it cost to responsibly dispose of a solar panel? The CA is absolutely correct to ask these questions. HELCO is shirking its kuleana. I really hope the PUC does not let them get away with it.”
      The CA’s Statement of Position is due to be filed on June 29.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

Three years ago today, Jackie Kailiawa, with boogie
board, rescued Jacob Selman, sitting on rocks
at South Point. Photo by U`i Makuakane
THREE YEARS AGO TODAY, local resident Jackie Kailiawa helped a newcomer in distress who fell off a cliff at South Point near the lighthouse. The newcomer hit his head and wasn’t able to climb on shore. Kailiawa jumped off the point with this boogie board, fins and other gear and paddled to the man, Jacob Selman, from Montana. At the time, Selman was the father of one, with another baby on the way. Kailiawa, a noted waterman who grew up in Pahala and now lives in Volcano, brought the man back to shore. It was his third save in recent years.
      “I remember every second of all of it, especially the incredible relief I felt when Jackie got to me,” Selman posted on The Ka`u Calendar’s Facebook page. “My children have a father because of Jackie, and we are expecting our first daughter in late July! There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of the incident and the man that saved my life.”
      Happy Father’s Day to Mr. Selman and all dads living in and visiting Ka`u.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

U.S. SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ sent his proposal to expand Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument to President Barack Obama following the tenth anniversary of President George W. Bush’s executive order that established the original boundaries for PMNM. At 582,578 square miles, the proposal would create the world’s largest marine protected area, while preserving access for local fishermen on Kaua`i and Ni`ihau.
Sen. Brian Schatz supports expansion of Papahanaumokuakea
Marine National Monument. Map from Office of Sen. Schatz
      The proposal would also secure an increased role for managing PMNM for Native Hawaiians. Schatz, a member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, and his staff met with Gov. David Ige, Sen. Ron Kouchi, Mayor Bernard Carvalho and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to discuss their concerns. With their feedback, Schatz developed the proposal sent to the president. 
      “The best available science indicates that expanding PMNM will strengthen an ecosystem that sustains tuna, swordfish, sharks, seabirds, sea turtles and Hawaiian monk seals,” Schatz wrote to the President. “The expanded region contains significant bio-cultural resources and archaeological sites that further justify use of the Antiquities Act.
      “A thoughtful expansion of PMNM will continue Hawai`i’s long history of sustainable use of the land and oceans into the future and help ensure that we can give our children the legacy of a healthy, vibrant Pacific Ocean.
      “If you agree that [this proposal] has merit. I respectfully request that you pursue a course of engagement, especially on Kaua`i and on O`ahu, which would allow the public an appropriate opportunity to provide written comments, oral testimony, or both before you determine whether to exercise your authority under the Antiquities Act.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

Improvements at Ka`u Resource & Distance Learning
Center are discussed at a public meeting tomorrow.
Photo from KRHCAI
KA`U RURAL HEALTH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION holds a public meeting tomorrow at the Ka`u Resource & Distance Learning Center on Puahala Street. The meeting “is to inform the residents of Pahala that it is the intent of KRHCAI to request funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development Community Facilities Grant Program,” a public notice states. “The funds are to be used for infrastructure repairs, security fencing, purchase of computers and technology equipment, to support KRHCAI programs, services and activities.
      “This … is to give the citizenry an opportunity to become acquainted with the proposed project, to comment on such items as economic and environmental impact, service area and alternatives to the project or any other issues identified by the citizens of Pahala.”
      For meeting time, not listed on the notice, and more information, call 928-0101.

VOLCANO FOURTH OF JULY PARADE is still accepting entries. The parade on the holiday Monday starts at 9 a.m. at the post office and travels down Old Volcano Road, turning onto Wright Road and ending at Cooper Center, where festivities continue until 1 p.m.
      Entry forms are available at volcanocommunity.org.
      For more information, contact Nancy Lakin at 985-9438 or flutterby2tu@gmail.com.


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