Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, July 22, 2015

KDEN has added another matinee to its final weekend of performances of The King & I. Photo from KDEN
KA`U COULD BE A PIONEER in the use of hydrogen fuel for transportation. Nancy Cook Lauer, of West Hawai`i Today, reported that the county Agriculture Advisory Commission yesterday discussed using excess power from Edmund C. Olson Trust’s proposed hydroelectric plant to create a hydrogen filling station.
At full capacity, Keaiwa reservoir holds almost 13 million gallons of water.
Photo by Julia Neal
      Cook Lauer called the project “a model for private-sector self-sufficient water and energy projects on agriculture land countywide.”
      Chair Tim Richards said at the meeting, “Ka`u is a place where, if you just add water, you can grow anything you want.” 
      The Keaiwa reservoir, the source of water for Olson’s coffee farm and proposed hydroelectric plant, was damaged in the 1983 earthquake, leaving cracks about halfway up the side of the nearly 13-million-gallon structure. 
      Olson Trust land manager John Cross told Cook Lauer, “We’re working with the Department of Land & Natural Resources on an acceptable repair plan to return the reservoir to its originally designed capacity.” The reservoir currently can hold five million gallons of water but could generate much more electricity if full.
      According to Cook Lauer, original plans to produce enough electricity to run the Ka`u Coffee Mill and use the excess to power 400 homes in Pahala fell through when Hawai`i Electric Light Co. told Olson he would have to pay about $1 million to upgrade power lines along Wood Valley Road.
      Another option is to use the power to replace propane burners at the mill, creating a 100 percent green energy operation. “It would be exciting to have this powered completely by water,” Cross told Cook Lauer.
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U’S COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBER Maile David submitted a resolution to provide $15,000 in contingency relief funds to `O Ka`u Kakou for community outreach and engagement activities that promote agricultural tourism. David’s request states that the goal is to “increase economic contribution of the visitor industry of Hawai`i Island and promote quality experiences for visitors and residents alike.” 
      Hawai`i County Council meets Friday at 9 a.m. at West Hawai`i Civic Center in Kona. Ka`u residents can participate via videoconferencing at Na`alehu State Office Building. The meeting is also streamed live at hawaiicounty.gov. Click on Council Meetings.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC COMPANY and NextEra Energy responded to Gov. David Ige’s and state agencies’ opposition to the proposed merger of the two utilities.
      “We recognize that this proposed merger is a very important matter for our customers, our communities and the state at large,” HECO president and CEO Alan Oshima said. “The PUC review is an ongoing process that provides an opportunity to address and answer questions or concerns. As more information is provided throughout this process, we feel strongly that others will also conclude that this partnership with NextEra Energy will result in significant benefits for our customers and for Hawai`i’s leadership in clean energy.”
      NextEra spokesman Rob Gould told Cindy Ellen Russell, of Honolulu Star-Advertiser, “NextEra Energy and the Hawaiian Electric Cos. believe that this merger truly is in the best interest of the state of Hawai`i and, in particular, Hawaiian Electric’s customers. We have made commitments to employees, community causes and for the establishment of a local independent advisory board, and we will listen to and work with all stakeholders to achieve what’s best for the state of Hawai`i and Hawaiian Electric’s customers.
       “We are optimistic that as the regulatory process continues, we will find more common ground and further demonstrate the strong public-interest benefits of this merger.”
      See staradvertiser.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Marti Townsend
THE SIERRA CLUB OF HAWAI`I PRAISED Gov. David Ige for publicly announcing his opposition to the NextEra-HECO merger. “We 100 percent agree with the governor on the NextEra takeover,” said Marti Townsend, Director of Sierra Club’s Hawai`i Chapter. “Hawai`i is leading a revolution in renewable energy that requires local leadership that is committed to serving the needs of Hawai`i’s energy customers. NextEra is just not on the same page with the rest of Hawai`i.” 
      Sierra Club’s testimony submitted to the Public Utilities Commission on Monday highlights in detail how NextEra’s business philosophy and culture as practiced in Florida run in what the Townsend called “the exact opposite direction of Hawai`i’s statewide commitment to clean energy.”
      According to the Sierra Club, NextEra:
  • “Demonstrates no experience or accomplishments in renewable energy, but relies predominantly and increasingly on LNG and secondarily on nuclear energy, neither of which will achieve Hawai`i’s 100 percent renewable by 2045 goal. 
  • Aggressively campaigns against customer-side clean energy, including energy efficiency and customer renewable systems. 
  • Focuses decision-making on revenue loss to the utility, rather than total benefits and costs to all customers and society. 
  • Lacks experience or accomplishments in solar energy; less than one percent of its capacity is from solar energy, and 0.01 percent of its 4.7 million customers have rooftop solar. 
  • Perpetuates the lack of market competition by opposing customer options for third-party solar providers, eliminating customer solar incentive programs and circumventing competitive bidding for its proposed utility solar projects. 
  • Continually opposes customer energy efficiency, recently gutting energy efficiency goals and programs to almost nothing. 
  • Fails to use advanced metering infrastructure to support customer options and value such as innovative rate designs and distributed energy resources. 
  • While restricting and eliminating customer options to manage their energy usage and bills, pursues massive utility-side investments like costly and risky nuclear plants and automatically passes the costs onto its ratepayers. 
  • Dominates the political arena through extensive spending on lobbying and political contributions, and revolving door relationships. 
  • Pushes through controversial projects and revenue increases over the strong objections of the Office of Public Counsel, Florida’s counterpart to Hawai`i’s Division of Consumer Advocacy. 
  • Actively engages in the political arena where the commission’s authority is undermined and even commission members are replaced.” 
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and five other lawmakers hosted a press conference
to encourage members of Congress to vote no on the DARK Act.
Photo from Office of Rep. Gabbard
TODAY, U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD and other colleagues condemned the industry-driven Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, also known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know Act. This legislation would overturn state laws requiring labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms. 
       According to Gabbard, although 90 percent of Americans support the labeling of food containing GMOs, there is no federal policy in place to label such foods. Three states – Vermont, Maine and Connecticut – have passed laws requiring GMO labeling, and over 30 states have considered similar legislation, including Hawai`i.
       The bill would preempt states’ laws on GMO labeling and codify the current system of voluntary labeling. In addition, the bill would require the Food and Drug Administration to allow “natural” claims on food products containing GMOs.
       Gabbard said sixty-four countries around the world already require the labeling of GE foods, including all the member nations of the European Union, Russia, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand.
      “Almost 90 percent of the American people want to know what’s in their food,” Gabbard said. “The DARK Act would roll back steps taken by a majority of states and counties, including communities in Hawai`i, to better inform people about the ingredients in the food they eat. This bill takes away a basic consumer right for people to know what’s in their food and undermines local control. This bill is bad for transparency, consumer rights and democracy and should be defeated.” 
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

DUE TO OVERWHELMING RESPONSE TO KDEN’s production of The King and I, a Saturday matinee has been added to this final weekend of performances. The show, which stars Norman Arancon as the king and Jeanette Gilbert as Anna, plays Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Kilauea Military Camp Theater in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      Tickets for the Saturday matinee are by reservation. Advance sale tickets for Friday and Saturday evenings and the Sunday matinee are available at Kilauea General Store, Kea`au Natural Foods and The Most Irresistible Shop. Call 982-7344 for reservations or more information.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_July2015.pdf.

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