Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Wind and rain associated with Hurricane Madeline have reached East Hawai`i and parts of Ka`u.
See more below. Map from University of Hawai`i
OCEAN VIEW RANCHOS RESIDENTS Peter and Ann Bosted have filed a formal complaint with Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission. According to the Bosteds’ complaint, Hawaiian Electric Co. and Hawai`i Electric Light Co. are not holding SPI Solar, developers of a proposed 6.5-megawatt solar project in Ocean View, in compliance with the companies’ feed-in-tariff program. Through the program, utilities make payments to customers who generate renewable electricity and send it into the grid. SPI plans to build solar installations on more than two dozen lots in Ranchos neighborhood and send the power onto HELCO’s grid via a proposed overhead transmission line that would cross Hwy 11.
      “The FIT program, launched in 2008, had noble goals of moving Hawai‘i toward being independent of fossil fuels for electric power,” the complaint states. “However, 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.”
      The Bosteds say FIT permits should not have been issued to the solar developers for several reasons. “These FIT permits are proceeding through zoning laws that do not address non-conforming residential subdivisions, the misrepresentation of facts, and various changes of ownership of the FIT permits. In addition, there has been a concerted effort to circumvent the competitive bid process while failing to be ‘shovel ready.’ This project has deprived the people of Hawai`i of early benefits of the FIT program and renewable energy that could have been provided if the projects had been timely completed in 2012, per the developers’ stated project completion date. …
Ocean View Ranchos residents fear that their neighborhood could end up
looking like this area on Kaua`i. Photo from Peter & Ann Bosted
      “The people and ratepayers of Hawai`i have not benefitted from the FIT program. If the permits had been given to a geographically diverse group of bone fide individual landowners, the installations would have been built in six to 12 months, and the island could have been enjoying eight megawatts of renewable energy since September 2012 (the project completion date according to the FIT program). If these projects had been, in fact, shovel-ready, it could have saved the consumers money, it would have reduced pollution, and it would have upheld the goals of the FIT program. On top of factoring the opportunity costs, the aggregation of these projects have caused a need for a complicated interconnection requirements study, requiring payments that were beyond the ability of the developer to make timely payments, and now the construction of a substation and transmission line, all of which demonstrate that the projects in Ocean View were not shovel-ready. Hawai`i’s ratepayers are paying for a rush job and will get very late delivery instead. 
      “We respectfully request that the Public Utilities Commission not perpetuate these ill-conceived FIT projects, which do not have any evidence of benefit to the public of Hawai`i. If this utility-scale solar project is allowed to move forward and be developed in Ocean View, it will adversely affect the value of homes and land; ruin the ocean views and ranch-like ambiance; present a severe fire hazard for which Hawai`i County is not prepared; necessitate herbicide spraying of about 60 acres that can contaminate groundwater; industrialize a residential neighborhood; produce unneeded power; qualify the developers to apply for federal tax credits (30 percent) and state tax credits (35 percent), which amounts to a subsidy by taxpayers; and give control over this project to off-shore companies and shell companies.
      “We respectfully urge the commission to conclude that the goals of 2008 Energy Agreement are now out of date and that these FIT projects should be extinguished. We also respectfully request that the commission revoke the FIT permits, as they were issued under false pretenses and are of no public benefit at this time. …”
      “We trust that this complaint will be taken seriously, as the future of a thriving town must be weighed against the quick profits for a few,” the complaint states.
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MADELINE IS VISITING KA`U. Although Central Pacific Hurricane Center has downgraded its Hurricane Warning to a Tropical Storm Warning and steading weakening is forecast over the next 48 hours, damaging winds and heavy rains are still a possibility.
GOE-West Satellite image of Madeline at 4 p.m,
      At 5 p.m., the eye of Madeline was 75 miles south-southeast of South Point and moving west-southwest at 12 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds around the eye were near 65 mph, reducing Madeline to a Tropical Storm. However, there are higher gusts. The strongest tropical storm -force winds extend outward up to 10 miles from the center, and lighter tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles.
      Tropical storm conditions could develop over portions of Hawai`i County today and continue into early Thursday.
    This afternoon, Ka`u saw bands of wind and rain and some fallen branches. In Volcano, an electrical transformer exploded and caused a fire.
      Madeline could produce total rain accumulations of five to 10 inches, with isolated maximum amounts near 15 inches across Hawai`i County.
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Grace Tabios
GRAHAM MILLDRUM, of West Hawai`i Today, spoke to Ka`u residents yesterday about their thoughts on Madeline.
      Milldrum spoke with Harry Evangelista, of Pahala, who was closing up Na`alehu Theater.
      “If it rains, it rains; if it blows, it blows,” he said. Evangelista told Milldrum about a storm in 2000, when he helped secure vehicles to trees in Wood Valley as a gulch became a 100-yard river. He said residents made sure everyone had what they needed.
      “It is the way it is,” he said.
      He said Ka`u residents are more self-reliant because of the lack of stores here.
      Milldrum also spoke with Grace Tabios at her store in Na`alehu. Tabios said her major concern is losing electricity, which occurred in 2014 with Tropical Storm Iselle.
      “We just pray,” Tabios told Milldrum. “We want to be open so people can buy food.”
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TO ENSURE THE SAFETY of visitors and employees, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will close at noon today until it is determined safe to reopen. Rangers will assess impacts from Hurricane Madeline at 8 a.m. tomorrow.
Photo shows the calm before the storm this morning
at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Photo from NPS
      Park staff and volunteers not directly involved in storm efforts were directed to stay home. Guests at Kilauea Military Camp and Volcano House will shelter in place, or, if necessary, be directed to the nearest shelter.
      “The closure will continue until we have a chance to assess the impact to the park and mitigate any damage. With Hurricane Lester right on the heels of Madeline, and still a Category IV hurricane, we could end up continuing the closure for a few days until it’s safe to reopen,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.
      Rangers will determine by Friday if the Kahuku Unit, open only on Saturdays and Sundays, will remain closed over the weekend.
      Updates will be posted at www.nps.gov/havo and ​its official social media sites.
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Ka`u High Band Room is now open as an emergency shelter.
Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U HIGH SCHOOL BAND ROOM is serving as a shelter during Madeline’s approach.
      Ka`u High and all other public schools on Hawai`i Island are closed. County and state facilities, offices and services are closed today including Hele-On Bus service, solid waste transfer stations and landfills. Residents are asked not to leave trash at the gates and wait until transfer stations reopen to dispose of trash and recycling.​
      All state and county park facilities including lava viewing areas are closed.
      Hawai`i County Civil Defense urges residents and visitors to stay off roads if at all possible.
      CU Hawai`i Credit Union's office in Na`alehu is closed. Manager Mako Okazaki said it is scheduled to reopen tomorrow, subject to weather conditions and damage assessments.
      Bank of Hawai`i's branch in Pahala is also closed.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

KA`U’S U.S. REP. Tulsi Gabbard listened to challenges of the coffee industry Monday at a meeting at Ka`u Coffee Mill.
Ka`u Coffee growers Ann Fontes, Miles Mayne and Trini Marques
at U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's talk story. Photo by Ron Johnson
      Researcher Dr. Nick Manukas said that while coffee berry borer is a worldwide pest, Hawai`i’s variable conditions and different practices and coffee culture necessitate study of the pest here. On six managed Ka`u Coffee farms, he is studying when, where and how much CBB affects crops, hoping to be able to predict infestations in order to help growers control CBB.
      While many people think unmanaged coffee fields are habitats for CBB, Manukas said they are not, mainly because such areas produce fewer berries. “No coffee; no CBB,” he said.
      Andrea Kawabata, extension agent at University of Hawai`i, said more farms are using methods of treating and preventing CBB. More growers are practicing field sanitation and stripping trees of berries to eliminate CBB habitat.
      Ka`u Coffee grower Miles Mayne said a lot of CBB work is done reactively. He suggested that more funding is needed for educating field workers from other countries who could bring CBB with them when coming to Hawai`i farms.
      Kawabata also expressed concern about coffee rust, which she said “is world’s worst coffee pathogen.
      One speaker compared Colombia’s CBB infestation rate of two percent with Kona’s. Figures for Ka`u were not available, but Kona had a 40 percent infestation rate in 2011. In 2015, it dropped to 13.5, then to 8.79 percent in 2016. “Lots of work to do,” he said.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.


Click on document to enlarge.

See kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.html
and kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_August_2016.pdf.

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