Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016

A group of citizens is hoping to preserve a wall remaining at Pahala's Ka`u Sugar mill site in honor of past employees.
Since the mill closed, the wall has been used for graffiti. See more below. Photo by Julia Neal
THE PROPOSED SOLAR PROJECT IN OCEAN VIEW is on hold after Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission suspended an application for a utility line to serve it. The 12-page order means a temporary setback for the developers, who plan to install two-acre arrays of photovoltaic panels on each of 27 three-acre residential sites next to homes in Ranchos and neighboring subdivisions. 
      The order is the result of a formal complaint by Ranchos residents Peter and Ann Bosted, who allege that Hawai`i Electric Light Co. and Hawaiian Electric Co. allowed the solar developer, SPI Solar, to break and circumvent rules.
      Residents are against what they consider to be the industrialization of their rural neighborhood, and, according to Ann Bosted, the high-cost power from this renewable source irks energy professionals who say rates from the utility-scale project should be negotiated.
Hawai`i PUC has suspended an application for a utility line
that would serve a large solar project in Ocean View.
Photo from Peter and Ann Bosted
      The PUC’s order states that the Bosteds complaint will need to be resolved before HELCO’s transmission line application can be decided, as “the disposition of the complaint may have a substantial impact on the commission’s evaluation of the instant proceeding.”
      The order’s conclusion is based on a strong position taken by the Consumer Advocate, who, in June, expressed concerns about administration of the Feed-In-Tariff program. The PUC noted that “the Bosteds have filed the complaint, which pertains to the underlying FIT projects, raising many of the same issues that were identified by the Consumer Advocate. If the commission were to grant the relief sought in the complaint, namely that the commission issue an order removing the FIT Projects from the FIT’s Active Queue, it could materially affect the commission’s evaluation of the instant proceeding.”
      On June 29, the Consumer Advocate took the position that HELCO’s transmission line should be placed underground at the developer’s expense and that the developer should “pay for additional mitigation measures.” The CA also expressed concerns about the delay in getting the projects operational. The order quotes the CA as writing, “These projects may have originally been an attempt to take advantage of market conditions” and that “the FIT program was deemed necessary at the time to encourage renewable energy, … but the need for FIT projects at compensation rates that are no longer reasonable may not be consistent with the public interest at this time.”
Patricia Tummons Photo from Environment Hawai`i
      This point of view is shared by other energy professionals. Writing in Environment Hawai`i, Patricia Tummons said, “Beset by a host of problems, the FIT program has stalled out, for the most part. As of last year, just over 20 megawatts of FIT renewable energy had been installed, out of the 80 MW allowed statewide.”
      On the Big Island, the 1.25-megawatt installation in Miloli`i is the only project that is up and running. No work on the 6.5 megawatts of permits that SPI Solar holds for Ocean View has been done. According to Ann Bosted, the Big Island currently has a surplus of daytime energy.
      Reporting on the PUC’s action in Pacific Business News, Duane Shimogawa said that “Hawaiian Ocean View Estates is one of the nation’s largest housing developments. It covers 18 square miles and 11,500 one-acre parcels.” Three-acre parcels are located in subdivisions makai of Hwy 11 in the area.
      Today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser carried a story by Kathryn Mykleseth on the order under the headline, State puts Kibosh on Big Island Solar Power Project. Mykleseth quoted PUC Chair Randy Iwase as saying that the FIT project is obsolete because the cost is too high.
      “Nobody is going to move on the FIT project,” he said. “We have suspended any action on the application pending review or an investigation or resolution of the complaint filed by the Bosteds.”
      According to Mykleseth, each of the FIT projects would have been paid 23.8 cents a kilowatt-hour, which is roughly 10 cents higher than four solar farms the PUC allowed to be waived from the competitive bidding process in 2014. The four projects the PUC accepted were selling energy to HECO for approximately 14 cents a kilowatt-hour for the duration of their 22-year lifespan.
      “This is a boondoggle project through and through,” said Mats Fogelvik, President of the Ranchos’ road corporation. “It is too big, too expensive, too late, not needed and unwanted. The developers have no money. It is being built for the tax credits and so that it can be flipped. I hope the PUC will look behind the curtain and see it for what it really is.”
      Iwase said the PUC will order HELCO to respond to information requests as to whether there was an attempt to circumvent competitive bidding laws.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

PAHALA RESIDENTS ARE SHARING their thoughts about a proposed development on Maile Street with Hawai`i County Planning Department Director Duane Kanuha. The project calls for buildings totaling more than 130,000 square feet, including a water bottling facility, warehouses and retail centers. Parking would be provided for cars, vans and tour buses.
The massive Pahala mill site wall has stood for more than 100 years.
Photo by Julia Neal
      “We hope you will enter into the community discussion on the proposal for Pahala Town Square & Hawaiian Springs Facility,” Clyde Silva wrote. “It would be most desirable to recognize one of the most significant structures in Pahala town.
      “On the site of the proposed project, there is a wall, a wall from the old Pahala sugar mill. This wall has been there for over 100 years and played a key role in the sugar cane production.
      “Trucks full of cane drove up the ramp on one side of the wall, dropping their load over the wall as the first step in the processing. Truck after truck after truck went up beside the wall. It was important, and it is one of the few remaining structures from the sugar era.
      “The wall is approximately 110 feet long, 12 feet in height, with the ramp about 20 feet wide.
      “There has been a sense of sadness as the town has watched this memorable structure decay.
      “This seems like the perfect time to plan for this symbol of the past, a symbol of our history to be a part of the plans. A part of the plans for the future.
      “It is assumed that PMK Capital Partners LLC desires to develop this area because they recognize the historical richness of this small plantation town.
      “The value of the town includes the old plantation homes, the safe streets where people can walk, the appreciation people have for one another, and our history. The wall’s preservation should be considered in the planning.”
      Dorothy Kalua expressed concern traffic that would be created by the project.
      “The plan allows for 104 parking stalls, four bus slots and two van slots,” Kalua wrote. “These numbers do not include all the service vehicles needed.
      “A direct entrance to the proposed project would be desirable to eliminate the concern of compromising community safety and high usage on our town roads.
      “Hopefully, this can be addressed in the planning stages.”
      Comments on the plan can be sent to planning@hawaiicounty.gov, susan.gagorik@hawaiicounty.gov and larry.nakayama@hawaiicounty.gov.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

HAWAI`I ISLAND POLICE HAVE LOCATED Joshua Corbin, a 30-year-old man known to frequent Ocean View, who was wanted for sexual assault and traffic incidents.
      He was arrested in Hilo at 10:45 a.m. yesterday. He is being held at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Juvenile Aid Section, which is responsible for investigating sexual assaults, continue the investigation.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

KA`U HIGH GIRLS VOLLEYBALL TEAMS traveled to Hilo Tuesday. Both teams lost, with varsity scores of 17-25, 11-25 and 17-25 and junior varsity scores of 9-25 and 8-25.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

Time is running out to register for Saturday's
Ka`u Coffee Trail Run.
REGISTER NOW FOR THIRD ANNUAL Ka`u Coffee Trail Run held at Ka`u Coffee Mill this Saturday. All proceeds of the southernmost trail run in the USA, which is sponsored by `O Ka`u Kakou, County of Hawai`i, Ka`u Coffee Mill, Edmund C. Olson Trust II, Queen Lili`uokalani Children’s Center of Ka`u and Jeff Gomes of Hawai`i Bookmark, remain in Ka`u to benefit Ka`u’s kupuna and keiki, as well as local schools and community groups.
      Race Director Candy Casper called on area residents to participate. “Invite your family and friends to join you or cheer you on as you set out to meet your goal in the family-friendly 5K run/walk, take the challenge of the 10K or test your endurance in the 13.1-mile climb up to 3,100 feet. Set your stride as you run through fields of coffee and macadamia nuts and forests of eucalyptus and `ohi`a trees, and cherish the breathtaking views of the Ka`u coastline.
Staggered starts begin at 7 a.m.
      Register at race360.org/21357.
      For more information about the race, course maps or volunteering opportunities, contact Casper at candy.casper@gmail.com, or see okaukakou.org.


Click on document to enlarge.

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

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