A solar energy project that supplies Lanai with 10 percent of its electricity needs recently began operating at full capacity after a battery system was installed to better integrate the renewable power into the small island electrical grid.
The La Ola photovoltaic solar project, owned by Castle & Cooke, has a maximum output of 1.5 megawatts of direct current, or 1.2 megawatts of after converting the power to alternating current for household use.
Since launch of the La Ola project in December 2008 its output had been restricted because officials were concerned that the power fluctuations associated with solar energy might damage the electrical grid. To address the issue Castle & Cooke installed a battery back-up system developed by Xtreme Power to smooth out the volatility of the solar energy. Completion of the battery installation, orignally scheduled for last summer, was delayed due to technical issues.
When operating at full power the La Ola project has the largest percentage of solar energy penetration of any independent island grid in the world, according to Castle & Cooke.
Hunters hired to control invasive species on Hawaii island have killed their first axis deer.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Tuesday the deer was captured in the southern part of the island.
Big Island Invasive Species Committee Manager Jan Schipper declined to say specifically where the deer was killed to prevent interference with the committee’s two hunters.
The animal native to India and Sri Lanka was first introduced to Molokai and Oahu in 1868, Lanai in 1920, and Maui in 1959, but they hadn’t been found on the Big Island until last year.
Non-native mammals such as like pigs and goats already damage the island’s environment. But axis deer are a new type of menace in part because they’re so large they can jump over fences that are meant to protect native forests.
Lanai residents were miffed recently when a helicopter carrying a film crew “buzzed” a game management area on the opening weekend of the island’s hunting season.
Hunters from around the state and as far away as the Mainland flock to the island to pursue axis deer and muflon sheep, making the scheduled hunting weekends an important moneymaker for the island’s tiny economy.
“There’s over 200 hunters that come in,” said Lanai resident Christine Costales. “They pay big money to pay their way here. . . . They want to get their game, and when there’s a helicopter flying all over it spooks the animals away.”
The incident occurred on the weekend of March 17-18, which was the opening weekend of the Lanai deer rifle season, said Department of Land and Natural Resources spokeswoman Deborah Ward. After the department received complaints that a helicopter was “circling” the game management area, had descended near the ground and was “flying low and scaring the game away,” a DLNR officer on the island made contact with the pilot, Ward said.
She said the pilot informed him the crew was scouting locations for a TV show, and invited the officer to accompany them the next day to observe.
The June 14 article about Maui County’s powerful letter to the Public Utilities Commission – and the county’s decision to intervene in Hawaiian Electric Co.’s request to be reimbursed by ratepayers to the tune of $4 million – contained a number of inaccuracies.
The article identifies two organizations that were denied intervention by the PUC: Life of the Land and Lanaians for Sensible Growth. That is incorrect. The two parties denied intervener status were Friends of Lana’i and Life of the Land.
The article states that the Big Wind project will likely have an enormous impact on Lanai and possibly Molokai. True enough, but one look at the state’s project maps (www.hirep-wind.com/documents/EISPN_PROJECT_AREA_22NOV2010.pdf) confirms for all Maui residents that the state plans to run a cable to/from Maui as well. And First Wind Hawaii, the developer that was unsuccessful in its attempt to develop a wind power plant on Molokai, stated in an April 26 Pacific Business News article that it has now turned its sights to Maui, suggesting that “Maui be included in the interisland cable project.”
The June 14 article’s comments about the deal struck between Castle & Cooke and Pattern Energy also requires clarification
Wind energy is cited among the green alternatives to fossil fuel, but environmental and community groups are irritated about the handling of a massive project to transmit energy to Oahu from windmills on Lanai and Molokai. They should be provided more access to preliminary work on the plan by state agencies and Hawaiian Electric Co., and hold project members to promises of full access and participation at future venues.
HECO is seeking a “power purchase agreement” from the Public Utilities Commission to recover $4 million from ratepayers in costs for studies associated with the Big Wind, or Interisland Wind, project. The PUC has endorsed the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which mandates that 40 percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2030, so the studies are consistent with the state’s goals. The path to getting there, though, has the potential to keep lay people in the dark until it emerges as a fait accompli.
Even Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa is complaining that “no one can tell us where the cable will run, its overall cost or how it would interconnect with the grids on the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai.… We need a clear, complete, accurate, detailed analysis for the cable system before we agree to finance it on the backs of the ratepayers.”
The acronym IAM represents “I Aloha Molokai,” a newly formed working group comprised of Molokai residents opposed to the proposal to develop a 200 megawatt industrial scale wind power plant to serve the energy needs of Oahu. IAM’s mission is to share information, as well as educate the general public to the potential impacts of the project. This is a grassroots effort to raise awareness and provide balance as the developer and proponents of the project move forward in their attempt to persuade the island community to support the project.
IAM is fortunate and pleased to announce that on June 2 at 6 p.m. at the Kulana `Oiwi Halau, Robin Kaye from Friends of Lanai (FOL) will be sharing the “Lanai Wind Fall Out” video and their experience with the Big Wind and undersea cable project. IAM invites the public to join us to talk story and learn how others are proactively engaged in mitigating efforts to challenge the Big Wind and Undersea Cable project.
Numerous testimonies, letters printed in the local paper and a recent voting survey reveal major concerns and opposition to the proposed project. IAM stands firm on the position that the cultural, social, economic and environmental impacts far outweigh the benefits and opportunities of the project. “NO DEAL” is worth sacrificing our integrity and island for.
HONOLULU – The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is now accepting application forms for the 2011 Lanai Mouflon Sheep Hunting Season.
There will be three types of hunts, archery, muzzleloading and general rifle, which will be held during different periods beginning July 30 through Oct. 23.
Applications and instruction sheets are available at all Division of Forestry and Wildlife offices statewide.
Applicants may also see: www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw.
Applications for all hunts may be submitted in person or mailed to the Maui Division of Forestry and Wildlife Office, 54 South High St., Room 101, Wailuku, 96793.
Lanai residents only are to mail or deliver their applications to the Lanai Division of Forestry and Wildlife office at 917 Fraser Ave., P.O. Box 630661, Lanai City, 96763.
The deadline is 4 p.m., May 27.
For more information on Maui, call 984-8100; on Molokai, call 553-1745; and on Lanai, call 565-7916.
First Wind Hawaii, the principal partner of Maui’s Kaheawa Wind Farm, has apparently been frozen out of the no-bid project called “Big Wind” that is a centerpiece of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.
First Wind officials said they were not able to find a site to locate a proposed 200-megawatt wind farm on Molokai, because the island’s major landowner, Molokai Ranch, refused to negotiate with them. Last month, the Public Utilities Commission rejected First Wind’s request for more time to identify a location for the project, ruling that First Wind was not a party to the 2008 agreement that evaded the usual competitive bidding process.
“We’re disappointed, but it was not unexpected,” said John Lamontagne, director of corporate com-munications for First Wind. “We appreciate the PUC’s consideration.”
First Wind Chief Executive Officer Paul Gaynor warned the PUC in a letter in March that if plans for a Molokai wind farm falter, “the state would have put itself in a situation where there is a single point of failure – the Lanai wind farm.”
The no-bid project stems from an earlier request by Hawaiian Electric Co. for companies to submit proposals for the development of 100 megawatts of renewable energy on Oahu.
A community group that opposes the development of large-scale wind farms on Lanai and Molokai is asking state regulators to reopen the bidding process for the projects, saying the original agreement is no longer valid because one of the developers dropped out.
An attorney for Friends of Lanai said a decision by First Wind LLC not to pursue the Molokai portion of the proposed project triggered a series of events that were not authorized under the original approval granted by the Public Utilities Commission last fall.
First Wind withdrew from the project after missing a key March 18 deadline set by the PUC to show that it was making progress on its planned 200-megawatt Molokai wind project. Castle & Cooke Resorts, which is pursuing a 200-megawatt wind project on Lanai, met the deadline. The two projects, dubbed “Big Wind,” would transmit electricity to Oahu via an undersea cable under a plan that is still in the preliminary stages.
Friends of Lanai attorney Isaac Hall noted that the PUC had to grant a waiver for the Big Wind project to proceed because its proposed size exceeded Hawaiian Electric Co.’s original request for proposals of up to 100 megawatts of renewable energy.
“Since only one party timely complied (with the PUC deadline), Friends of Lanai believes that the waiver is no longer valid