Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, March 15, 2015

Snow continues to blanket the summits of Mauna Loa, in the foreground, and Mauna Kea following last week's winter storms.
Photo from NOAA;s Earth System Research Lab. See story below.
MARCO MANGELSDORF, SPOKESMAN for Hawai`i Island Energy Cooperative and president of ProVision Solar, Inc., answers frequently asked questions about the organization at hahahahamakuasprings.com, the website of Richard Ha, co-op member and owner of Hamakua Springs Country Farms. HIEC is a group of business and community leaders researching public ownership of the island’s electric utility. 
      The hui is exploring the possibility of emulating the Kaua`i Island Utility Cooperative model and is participating in the Hawaiian Electric Industries-NextEra Energy merger docket by proposing an option that offers the possibility of democratic ownership and control of the island’s energy infrastructure.
Marco Mangelsdorf
      Is HIEC against the proposed merger? HIEC takes no position either for or against the proposed merger. HIEC desires to explore through the proceedings the unique perspective, goals and objectives of the residents and communities of Hawai`i Island, and depending on the outcome of the proceedings, consider whether a different ownership model for energy services on Hawai`i Island may provide a positive alternative. A sound discussion should include evaluation of the pending transaction in relation to potential future options that may be in the public interest for the unique interest of the island of Hawai`i. HIEC’s participation can assist the development of a sound record by providing a Hawai`i Island focused perspective.
      Is HIEC making an attempt to buy Hawaiian Electric Light Company? It’s important to note that HELCO is not for sale at this time. So no, HIEC is not submitting an offer to purchase HELCO. HIEC is positioning itself as a possible option worthy of consideration to take Hawai`i Island in a different energy direction, depending on the course of the proceedings.
      Would a co-op lead to lower energy bills on the Big Island? HIEC believes that a case can be made that there would be lower energy costs to the consumer over time through tax exempt status, lower cost of capital and no shareholder profits, greater efforts to develop less expensive island-based power sources, promotion of education, markedly improved energy efficiency and the accelerated adoption of appropriate advanced technologies.
      What’s the position of HIEC regarding geothermal energy, an interisland power cable from the Big Island to the other islands, and this or that particular or specific issue on the Big Island? The residents and communities of the Big Island, through an elected board of directors, would decide what choices and directions to take as far as energy sources and policies under the co-op.
      What would make HIEC different from a standard electric utility co-op? The cooperative would have a more diversified focus compared to a standard electric utility by focusing on greater overall energy independence, higher renewable energy generation and enhanced sustainability through a comprehensive and integrated approach to all energy-consuming sectors on the island.

      Has HIEC been working with Kaua`i Island Utility Cooperative? HIEC has been in contact with KIUC and they have been supportive. In the event that HIEC is successful in establishing an energy co-op, it is likely that synergies would exist between the two islands that would enable both to benefit by working together in certain areas.

Sen. Brian Schatz
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

GIVING FEDERAL AGENCIES GREATER ability to reduce energy use and save taxpayer dollars is the subject of bipartisan legislation that Sen. Brian Schatz and three others, one Democrat and two Republicans, have introduced. The Utility Energy Service Contracts Improvement Act of 2015 would allow federal agencies to enter into long-term contracts with utilities for energy-saving services, giving agencies more options to conserve energy and reduce costs.
      The act clarifies an existing law that allows federal agencies to enter into utility energy service contracts of up to 25 years, provided certain conditions are met.
      “Renewable energy projects, long-term energy security projects and large-scale energy conservation measures often are simply not cost-effective with a 10-year contract period,” Schatz said. “To date, federal agencies have used UESCs to invest approximately $2.7 billion in their facilities, however a much greater potential exists.
      “As the largest consumer of energy in the country, the federal government needs to do everything it can to save energy and taxpayer dollars. Our bipartisan legislation would expand opportunities to invest in energy efficiency and clean energy projects while saving money. I look forward to working with Sens. Lamar Alexander, Dan Coats, and Chris Coons to make this practical solution law.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

From Mauna Kea, snowcapped Mauna Loa looms in the background.
Photo from NASA Infrared Telescope Facility
KA`U HAS BEEN CLEAR AND COLD the past few days, but not nearly as cold as summits of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, where snow continues to blanket the ground. 
      Last week, the National Weather Service placed both mountains under a blizzard warning. Meteorologists said as much as eight inches of snow could fall at 11,000 feet elevation. Strong winds with gusts of 85 miles per hour were also possible, according to weather.com meteorologists.
      The weather delayed construction preparations for the high-powered, deep space Thirty Meter Telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea because conditions shut down the access road.
      The road is still closed to public due to heavy accumulations of snow and ice in spots. The road crew is working for the seventh day in a row, and it is unlikely that the road will open today, according to the Mauna Kea Weather Center website, mkwc.ifa.hawaii.edu.
      Images of the summits, including current photos and daily animation, are available at irtfweb.ifa.hawaii.edu and esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/obop/mlo.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U RURAL HEALTH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, INC. invites the community to its 18th annual Ka`u Rural Health Conference Friday, March 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. The topic is Rural Health at Work in Our Communities Focusing on Health, Education, Resource opportunities and Economic Sustainability
      Those interested in health resource information, job opportunities, workforce development, employment and training, distance learning, enrollment and admissions to the University of Hawai`i, Hawai`i Community College, Allied Health & Practical Nursing Program and the Office of Continuing Education & Training are encouraged to attend.
      KRHCAI will provide its annual report and elect its Board of Directors.
      Required registration is due tomorrow. Call 928-0101 or see krhcai.com. Lunches and refreshments are provided with registration.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

REGISTRATION IS DUE TOMORROW to participate in a Forest Restoration Project sponsored by Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. On Friday, March 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, volunteers plant native seedling trees in a fenced enclosure where plants will be protected from grazing animals. 
      Email forest@fhvnp.org or call 352-1402.

THE NEW KA`U ALOHA FORUM IS HOSTING its second event this year a week from today on Sunday, March 22. Featuring Keoki Kahumoku and the Aloha Bluegrass Band, it will be held at Na`alehu Methodist Church with pupus at 5 p.m. Program begins at 6:15 p.m.
      All proceeds are being donated to the Center for Hawaiian Music Studies. Suggested donation for tickets is $20, and seating is limited. One lucky ticket will win a brand new `ukulele.
      Make checks payable to Center for Hawaiian Music Studies and mail to Woodley White at PO Box 44, Na`alehu, 96772 or RSVP to Woodley@easystreet.net or 854-9483.
      Tickets are also available at Ka`u Realty in Na`alehu and Pahala Plantation Cottage Office in the Edmund C. Olson Trust Building.

KA`U COFFEE GROWERS AND PROCESSORS are invited to meetings about new coffee shipping permit conditions. Hawai`i Department of Agriculture offers two opportunities to participate. The first is in Hilo tomorrow at 10 a.m. at HDOA Plant Quarantine Office,16 East Lanikaula Street. The second takes place on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. at Kona Cooperative Extension Service Conference Room, 79-7381 Mamalahoa Hwy in Kealakekua.


See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_March2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf and

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