Wind Power Growth Slows to 2007 Levels

In July, the American Wind Energy Association reported that it was having a lousy year. It appears the third quarter of 2010 wasn’t much better.

According to an analysis released on Friday, the trade group reports having its slowest quarter since 2007, adding just 395 megawatts of wind power capacity.

For the year to date, new installations were down 72 percent.

The reasons are many.

For starters, as any number of unemployed Americans can testify, the nation’s economic engines just aren’t humming like they used to, and that means less demand for electricity over all. Natural gas, the chief fossil-fuel competitor to renewable sources of electricity, is also dirt cheap these days, making wind power a tougher sell for cost-conscious utilities and state regulators.

State gets $2.1M in federal funding for renewable energy

The federal government has awarded $2.1 million to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to build energy storage systems that can be used to increase the capacity of electric utilities to accept more renewable energy.

DBEDT said it will allocate $1.2 million of the total to Maui Electric Co. and $900,000 to Hawaii Electric Light Co. on the Big Island. The funding will be used to build energy storage systems that would help smooth out the ebbs and flows of electricity to the grid from renewable sources, such as wind and solar. Interconnection costs will be paid by the utilities.

Battery technology is the primary method for storing electricity generated by renewable sources, but other options are available, including compressed air, pumped hydro, and flywheels.

Grants available for Native Hawaiian cultural programs

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is accepting funding applications for 2011 Native Hawaiian cultural and natural resources programs.

The agency announced it is seeking applications for projects that honor and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture and community, and that strengthen the relationship between the visitor industry and the Hawaiian community.

It also is seeking projects that manage, improve and protect Hawaii’s natural environment and areas frequented by visitors.

Request for proposal packets are now available at HTA’s office at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu, on the agency’s website or by contacting HTA by phone.

The deadline to apply for either program is Nov. 4.

Grants available for Native Hawaiian cultural programs – Hawaii News – Staradvertiser.com

Hawaii rural companies get fed clean energy grants

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii businesses are receiving federal money to help increase renewable energy production.

Hawaii Director for Rural Development Chris Kanazawa said the grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help create jobs and reduce energy use for rural communities.

Lalamilo Farm Partners in Kamuela will receive nearly $170,000 to help buy and install a 95 kilowatt photovoltaic system.

O Guest Ranch Maui in Kula will get $70,000 for a 43 kilowatt photovoltaic system on a dairy farm.

Hawaii rural companies get fed clean energy grants – Yahoo! Finance

East-West Center to help Pacific islands cope with climate change

A federal agency has awarded $3.8 million to the East-West Center to help Hawaii and several Pacific island nations cope with the effect of climate changes.

The five-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will help to bring together scientists and decision-makers to help Pacific communities respond to changing climates, East-West spokesman Derek Ferrar said.

The areas included in the Pacific Regional Integrated Science and Assessment program are the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau, and American Samoa.

East-West Center to help Pacific islands cope with climate change – Hawaii News – Staradvertiser.com

Feds helping Big Island company with $5 mil loan guarantee

An energy company on the Big Island will receive a $5 million loan guarantee from the federal government to help finish construction of a manufacturing plant in Kawaihae.

The announcement was made Thursday in a Washington news release by Hawaii’s Democratic U.S. Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka.

Big Island Carbon’s $25 million plant will convert discarded macadamia nut shells into a product that can generate power, filter air and purify water.

Plans call for the company to buy about 10,000 tons of more than 20,000 tons of shells produced annually on the Big Island to convert into 1,000 tons of granular activated carbon.

Big Island Carbon will power its own operations. Any excess biofuel or gas will be sold on the island.

Feds helping Big Island company with $5 mil loan guarantee – Hawaii News – Staradvertiser.com

$12.8M to help protect lands across Hawaii

Several nonprofit organizations, a state agency and three local counties have been awarded $3.3 million from a state land preservation fund to protect 753 acres on the Big Island, Kauai, Molokai and Oahu.

The money from the Legacy Land Conservation Program will be matched with about $9.5 million from federal, county and private sources to acquire land or protective easements for public benefit.

Seven projects are being financed, including four land purchases totaling 25 acres and three easements covering 728 acres.

Laura Thielen, chairwoman of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources, said the fund provides an efficient way to protect land containing important natural, cultural or agricultural value. “By providing these grants as incentive, the state is utilizing mostly private and federal funds to protect these resources,” she said in a statement announcing the awards.

USDA Blog » Biomass and Biofuel – What’s in it for Hawaii’s Agriculture?

Hawaii and the Pacific Basin

The dwindling global supply of fossil fuels and the resulting escalation in prices has set the stage for entry of commercial biofuel produced from biomass, including co-products and bi-products. This transition in the energy sector’s feed stocks offers Hawaii a unique opportunity to locally produce biofuel from locally produced biomass feed stocks, and ultimately support the stabilization of the state’s energy resources; increase the local circulation of energy dollars; and further under gird Hawaii’s agricultural industry.

In October 2009, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced plans for a “Great Green Fleet” to demonstrate that Navy and Marine Corps ships and aircraft could operate utilizing non-fossil fuels by year 2016. In January, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Secretary Mabus to support the biomass and biofuel development that would ultimately fuel the Green Fleet. Hawaii was selected as a pilot region, with USDA providing the “push” through research and business incentives and the Navy making the “pull” with plans for purchase of biofuel from locally produced biomass.

State offering agricultural leases in Pahoa | Hawaii 24/7

MEDIA RELEASE

The state Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is now accepting applications for lease negotiations on seven parcels of state agricultural land in the Pahoa Agricultural Park.

Interested persons should submit an application to the Agricultural Resource Management Division (ARMD) to determine whether they are qualified to hold an agricultural lease with the state. The deadline to submit the application is 3 p.m. July 14. Once qualified, the applicant will be notified about submitting a proposal for the parcel.

To qualify, a potential lessee must:
* Be a U.S. citizen who has resided in the State of Hawaii for at least three years; or
* Is a permanent status alien who has resided in the state for at least five years; and
* Is a bon fide farmer or new farmer as defined in the Hawaii Administrative Rules.

The parcels available in the Pahoa Ag Park include:
* Lot 1 – 10.193 acres
* Lot 3 – 10 acres
* Lot 12 – 29.166 acres
* Lot 15 – 19.596 acres
* Lot 18 – 5.372 acres
* Lot A – 13.428 acres
* Lot 8 – 5.002 acres