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Hawaii Moves towards Energy Independence

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This article on Treehugger mentions the plans for the islands to lessen its dependence on the oil tankers that come every few days to supply the island with energy.

The ethanol project seems like a no brainer given the growing season in Hawaii. Likewise it would seem to be a prime place for wind energy.

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From what I understand, Brazil is on its way toward energy independence through sugarcane ethanol. This is a good move for Hawaii. Louisiana also produces a lot lot of sugarcane. Sugarcane ethanol could be a good boost to their suffering economy.

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Yeah it's a very very good move. There are also many other projects like Wind Farms, some other one that uses Waves to create energy, Geothermal (on the Big Island), a push for more solar power usage by way offering tax breaks and an other project in downtown Honolulu that sucks in cold ocean water and circulates it through some 50+ downtown buildings to cool it. I also think there is a law that requires all government perhaps county/state buildings to use solar panels by a certain year. I can't remember all the specific details of all these projects but there's a lot going on to make the state become more energy independent.

On a side note though, the state is becoming more and more import dependent on goods, sadly it never used to be that way as many things were produced in the islands but the price of things like feed, the lack of support or tax breaks for farmers and so on are causing a lot of agricultural businesses to shut down. Also, cheaper goods being shipped in from the U.S. Mainland, South America via El Salvador and places in Asia are also hurting local businesses. The scary thing about all this is that if there is another port strike (think Long Beach) or oil prices increase, terrorist attack, etc the people in Hawaii will be screwed. I wish the old timers in office would give more support to businesses that make Hawaii more self-sustaining and less import dependent cause all i see is a crisis waiting to happen and no one in Hawaii deserves that.

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It would help if there were a lot of "buy local" campaigns.

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^Actually there are but most local products are a bit more expensive than imported stuff so it's still hard to compete at the moment. Just recently put into law (probably with in the past 2 yrs) all products produced in Hawaii will be labelled "Made in Hawaii."

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Yeah, I understand about that.

Are their any nuclear plants on the islands, or is most of the electricity generated from buring oil?

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^I don't think there are any, well i've never seen or heard of any being in the islands. Most of the electricity generated is oil based, although, there is a certain amount that is from other resources like plant bi-products, renewable energey, trash, wind, solar and geothermal....oil is still makes up the majority. :(

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Too bad smiles from new tourists don't provide enough energy. ;) No, seriously... the wind farms, solar arrays, and all would be a good move. I look forward to seeing the progress.

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Here's some more energy related news. Good stuff too especially because Brasil Bioenergia will also be involved with the renewable energy research in Hawaii! :D

Group to do renewable energy research in Hawai'i

Source: Honolulu Advertiser

Three of state's largest landowners announced today they will form a consortium with several international firms to conduct research on the development of renewable energy crops, products and services in Hawai'i.

The local participants are Kamehameha Schools, Maui Land & Pineapple Co. and Grove Farm Co., the companies said in a news release. The consortium also will include Vinod Khosla, a nationally recognized leader in renewable energy and co-founder of Sun Microsystems. Khosla, now a partner in a venture capital firm, has made substantial investments in private companies involved in ethanol research and development.

The consortium, called Hawai'i BioEnergy LLC, will identify sugarcane and other potential fuel crops, processing techniques and distribution channels for biofuels within the state, according to the release.

A new law that kicked in April 1 required most gasoline sold in Hawai'i to contain 10 percent ethanol. Five companies say they plan to produce ethanol locally, but none have broken ground yet. The state currently imports 100 percent of the ethanol used here.

The consortium also will include Brasil Bioenergia, a company formed by leading Brazilian industrialist Ricardo Semler; and Tarpon Investments, an investment firm with expertise in the Brazilian energy sector. Brazil is the world leader in ethanol production and is expected to become energy independent this year, according to the release.

"The development of a viable biofuel industry in Hawai'i can yield huge economic benefits for the state," Grove Farm chief executive Warren Haruki said in a written statement.

"Hawai'i imports well over 40 million barrels of oil a year, including 500 million gallons of fuel purchased for vehicles. At $3.50 to $4.00 a gallon at the pump, the cost to consumers is nearly $2 billion a year."

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More updates:

Lawmakers hope to pave the way for a hydrogen-fueled Hawaii

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Source: Honolulu Star Bulletin

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif.

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Here's another interesting idea:

'Urban' windmill blows into town as energy source

Source: Pacific Business News

A Honolulu entrepreneur is preparing to market a new "urban" windmill that can be installed on residential and business rooftops and -- assuming the trade winds blow -- slice a huge chunk off utility bills.

But don't mistake Richard Figliuzzi's PacWind SeaHawk for those wooden monoliths chugging around and around in Holland. For starters, its blades rotate vertically instead of horizontally and it weighs only about 140 pounds. The turbines spin no matter what direction the wind blows, and it has to be only about 20 feet off the ground to be effective (most similarly sized windmills need about 40 feet).

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More Progress and push towards Biofuels...

Biofuels summit generates industry support

Source: Pacific Business News

More than 40 representatives of both the private and public sector, including Gov. Linda Lingle, met in Honolulu Tuesday to discuss how to help the state's biofuel industry progress.

The attendees developed 38 recommendations on how to jumpstart the industry, then voted on which ones should receive the highest priority. Three that received the highest priority were:

* State incentives and tax breaks for agricultural companies to encourage them to grow biofuel crops, such as sugar cane.

* An industry-led logistical master plan to help develop its infrastructure.

* State incentives and tax breaks to encourage small- and large-scale consumers, such as Hawaiian Electric Co., to buy biofuels.

Attending the four-hour Hawaii Biofuels Summit at the Hawaii Convention Center were government officials, lawmakers, landowners, energy company executives, private business people, academics, and utility commissioners.

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Another update:

Hawaii to get more wind power

Source: Pacific Business News

Hawaii is about to get another major wind power project, and the details about it will be announced this week at the State Capitol.

Senate Energy Chairman Kalani English and House Energy Chairwoman Hermina Morita will join Warren Bollmeier, president of the Hawaii Renewable Energy Alliance at noon Wednesday (Honolulu Room 325) to announce plans for a "wind farm to cut the Big Island's dependence on imported fossil fuel, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide electrical energy for more than 10,000 homes."

Also attending will be Andy Katell, senior vice president for General Electric, which makes wind power turbines, Tony Pace, billed as the chief executive officer of Apollo Power Corp. Dun & Bradstreet lists an Apollo Energy Corp. headquartered on South Point Road in Naalehu, near the southern end of the Big Island where there is already a major wind power farm. The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism indicates that the new project includes a mechanical upgrade to the existing South Point Road wind farm, acquired by Apollo Energy Corp. in 1994 and currently operating at about 7 megawatts.

Many of the details have actually have been revealed elsewhere. Pacific Business News reported in June that General Electric had been selected to supply turbines for a Hawaiian Electric Industries wind power project on the Big Island, and that GE saw it as a demonstration opportunity.

"On an island with less than 300 megawatts of generating capacity, a 21-megawatt project can have a system-wide impact on grid reliability," GE Vice President of Renewable Energy Victor Abate said.

GE Energy said in June it would supply 14 of its 1.5-megawatt wind turbines to Tawhiri Power, an affiliate of Apollo Power Corp., to generate power to sell to HEI subsidiary Hawaii Electric Light Co.

The Pakini Nui Wind Project is at South Point, at the bottom of the Big Island. The wind-swept peninsula, the southernmost point of the 50 states, has long been an optimal site for wind power. Installation was expected to be completed by next March.

Wind power first showed promise in Hawaii in 1980, with a wind demonstration project on a ridge above Kahuku on the upper windward coast Oahu. By 1990 there were five wind farms in the state. But a later operator of a Kahuku wind farm went bankrupt, and a wind farm on a Maui ridge was torn down in 1991 due to structural problems. Most produced less power than projected, and a key turbine manufacturer, Westinghouse, got out of the turbine business. By 1996 there was just one wind farm still generating power, with 81 turbines at Lalamilo Wells on the Big Island. But this year the same Maui ridge where wind power once failed has a new wind farm with next-generation turbines.

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