Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, March 20, 2014

Vigilance is key to keeping little fire ants out of Ka`u, according to representatives of Hawai`i Ant Lab and The Nature Conservancy.
Photo from Hawai`i State Department of Agriculture
A PROPOSAL FOR LIQUID NATURAL GAS to be used in power plants on Hawai`i Island and elsewhere in this state could go to the state Public Utilities Commission for approval by as early as August, according to a statement from Hawaiian Electric Co. LNG would be trucked to power plants around the island from maritime facilities. At some locations, most likely O`ahu, storage could be on an offshore barge with the LNG piped to shore. 
     Earlier this month, HECO issued a request for proposals for a contractor to deliver up to 800,000 tons of LNG per year. The RFP notes that 70 percent of the income from HECO bills currently goes to buying fuel. LNG is expected to be less expensive and cleaner, according to HECO. The RFP also states that use of LNG “is not intended to displace renewable energy.”
    It states that “high oil prices and more stringent air regulations (Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury Air Toxic Standards) and National Ambient Air Quality Standards increase the urgency to reduce Hawai`i’s dependence on oil. While the majority of Hawaiian Electric’s current generation portfolio utilizes oil, liquefied natural gas has emerged as a viable alternative fuel that may substantially lower fuel costs while helping to comply with more stringent environmental regulations.
      The RFP is available for review on the company’s website at hawaiianelectric.com/LNG.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Renewable Watch tracks solar and wind generation on Hawai`i Island.
Image from HELCO
HAWAI`I ELECTRIC LIGHT CO. announced yesterday an online daily report of renewable energy use. Renewable Watch can be viewed at www.hawaiielectriclight.com under Clean Energy Future and shows daily contribution of solar and wind generation and how energy from these resources changes throughout the day. The display shows the measured output from large wind and solar facilities combined with the estimated output from residential rooftop photovoltaic systems. It graphically displays how renewable energy resources can vary significantly by day and time of day due to changes in weather, such as wind strength and cloud cover. Non-variable renewable energy generation, such as geothermal, is not shown. 
      “Hawai`i is blessed with abundant sunshine and strong winds. With the Renewable Watch displays, anyone can see at a glance that these are extremely productive resources with output that varies throughout the day,” said Scott Seu, Hawaiian Electric vice president for energy resources and operations.
      The Solar Electric Power Association ranks Hawai`i number one in the nation for solar watts per customer. At the end of 2013, over 40,000 solar installations across the HECO service territories in this state recorded a combined capacity of about 300 megawatts.
      A press release from HECO says, “To maintain reliable electric service for all customers, utility engineers must adjust the output of firm sources of generation up or down as the output from variable sources like solar and wind rises and falls throughout the day. The Hawaiian Electric Companies developed Renewable Watch to help system operators and engineers obtain information about the contribution of energy from the variable solar and wind resources.
      “This information can help us integrate higher levels of renewable energy more effectively. Solar and wind power are increasingly important to our energy mix, so we need to understand when and how these resources affect our system,” Seu said.
      Data from wind facilities and utility-scale solar facilities for Renewable Watch comes from utility system-monitoring equipment. Data for customer-sited solar power comes from regional estimates using solar sensors strategically placed throughout the islands and other sources. Solar sensors monitor irradiance (the rate at which solar energy falls onto a surface) to help estimate the energy generated by thousands of PV systems across the island.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Respresentatives of Hawai`i County Police Department answered questions
from Ka`u residents Tuesday. Photo by Ron Johnson
HAWAI`I COUNTY DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF Paul Ferreira, Ka`u Captain Burt Shimabukuro, Ka`u police and other officers from Area II Operations Bureau answered questions from the public at a community meeting in Na`alehu Tuesday. 
      Property manager Patty Barry brought up concerns about homeowners being burglarized when they are on the mainland. Ferreira suggested that homeowners identify valuables with markings and document what is in their homes before leaving Ka`u for the mainland.
      Rancher Lani Petrie asked for information about motion sensitive cameras. “Can they be used as evidence? Do they need GPS for identification of locations?” she asked. Ferreira and other officers said that any kind of camera can be used for gathering evidence. He suggested that security companies can be helpful in setting up these systems.
      A Discovery Harbour resident asked if the department had plans to use cameras mounted on officers’ eyeglasses. Ferreira said there were no immediate plans, citing issues of cost and possible concerns by the police union.
      “Do thieves have to be caught in the act?” asked one resident. “No,” Ferreira answered and explained that police must have “a reason to believe” a suspect was involved in order to make an arrest. He said that anyone in possession of stolen property can be arrested.
      “Is the meth problem getting worse?” asked another resident. One officer replied, “Same; same guys using.” He said there is a correlation between drug use and crime. “When drug use is on the rise, property crime is on the rise.”
      Regarding some residents reporting a lack of communication between the police and victims, Shimabukuro said, “The victim should always be contacted with follow-up information.” He vowed to get back with them about their individual cases.
      Raylene Moses asked when it is appropriate to call 911. Ferreira said to call 911 in case of emergencies, including serious medical problems, any life-threatening situations, fires or crimes in progress. He also said to call in cases where a situation could become an emergency, such as a cow on a road.
      Ferreira encouraged residents to call Ka`u Police Station at 939-2520 with any questions or concerns. He also suggested visiting the Police Department website at hawaiipolice.com.
      See more in tomorrow’s Ka`u News Briefs.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Small compared to the tropical fire ant, the little fire ant packs a mighty sting.
Photo from Hawai`i Ant Lab
KA`U CAN CONTROL LITTLE FIRE ANTS if residents are vigilant. This was the message at an informational meeting held by Hawai`i Ant Lab and The Nature Conservancy yesterday. The meeting follows identification of an LFA infestation in Na`alehu ball park and surrounding areas. 
      Cas Vanderwoude, of Hawai`i Ant Lab, explained that the best way to limit LFA populations, whose natural spread is very slow, is to check items brought in from other locations. Items include plants, gardening materials and anything that might harbor the invasive species, such as a car or containers that have been left outside.
      Vanderwoude showed a film about the devastating effects of LFA on communities from Puna and Hamakua to Maui and Tahiti. In Tahiti, some people have abandoned land that has been in families for generations.
      In the film, John Cross, manager of Olson Trust Land in Ka`u who has a farm in Hamakua, said the ants cause crops to become unharvestable. In his lychee orchard, he said, “it was raining ants” onto pickers. If the LFA is not controlled, “ag as we know it will not be here,” he said.
      The ants’ stings cause itchy and burning rashes which can become infected if scratched. They also cause blurred corneas and blindness in pets and other animals.
      Vanderwoude said controlling LFA includes surveying the area to know where they are, developing a management plan, eradicating known populations, preventing re-entry of LFA and ongoing monitoring and vigilence.
      Excerpts from the film, as well as information about identification and control of the pest, is available at littlefireants.com. The Nature Conservancy is also helping. Call TNC’s Ka`u representative John Replogle at 443-5401.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Discovery Harbour Community Association's rummage sale to benefit its
volunteer fire department begins tomorrow.
DISCOVERY HARBOUR COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION’S rummage sale to benefit its volunteer fire department takes place tomorrow and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The sale also features hot dog lunches for $5 on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
      DHCA is accepting items for the sale today until 4 p.m.
      Proceeds go toward the purchase of supplies not provided by the county.

PICK-UP OF DINNERS TO RAISE FUNDS for Ka`u Summer Fun programs is tomorrow from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. Dinners include teri-beef, rice, corn and bread for $7. Call 928-3102.

CHARLENE ASATO TEACHES traditional styles of Japanese Book Binding, including Tortoise Shell and Noble Binding, Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Advanced registration is required. Fees are $36 or $32 for VAC members, plus a $10 materials fee. Call 967-8222 or see volcanoartcenter.org.


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