The 100 Percent Solution

July 23, 2009 at 11:33 pm Leave a comment

The Maui Weekly, July 23, 2009
by Chris Mentzel

Can we switch Maui completely away from oil, considering that wind and sun energies are variable and not always available? Like almost no other place on the planet, we are in the fortunate situation to have an abundance of natural energy resources.

Doubters say that we need to wait until systems are available to store energy when the wind stops blowing, or that clean energies will always be secondary to oil.

But the obvious solution is all around us. Sugarcane has the optimum photosynthesis process to transform sunlight into plant material. There are a variety of methods available to transform these plants into energy, from burning bagasse—which is done today—to planned ethanol factories and modern gasification plants. All of these methods can also utilize leaves that are now wastefully burned away.

It’s a bit more expensive to make energy from sugarcane than from oil. It’s a bit cheaper to make energy from wind. A combination of wind and sugarcane together with solar and storage turns out to be a perfect solution. Analyzing the available resources brings to light that in God’s infinite wisdom, we have just the right amount of sugarcane growing to balance the variations in wind energy.

Old man sugar is in trouble. Sugar prices have not increased in 25 years. Most sugar plantations on the islands have closed. There is not a good alternative crop in sight, but empty fields would allow winds to blow dust throughout Kahului and North Kīhei. Clearly, the transformation into an energy plantation is the only way out.

Thirty 5 MW windmills would generate half of our electricity needs, and sugar plants (including the leaves) would generate the other half. Electricity prices would stop rising and new jobs would be created. To complete the picture, powerful electric cars will be available next year, which could run on 100 percent clean energy if this system was in place.

Given the political will, Maui could be powered by 100 percent clean energy within five to seven years.

Chris Mentzel, CEO of Clean Energy Maui LLC, consults with county and state governments in Hawai‘i to secure a quick transition to a clean energy future. He is also the chairman of South Maui Sustainability’s renewable energy committee. His goal is to end oil use on Maui by 2020. He can be reached through http://www.CleanEnergyMaui.com or at 214-7678.

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Renewable Energy.

Dollars and Sense A Clean Energy Future for Maui and Hawaii

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Latest Articles

RSS care2.com

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Earth2Tech

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS The Abrams Clean Tech Report

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Styrophobia

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS EcoGeek

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Friends of the Earth

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Blogroll from Abrams Clean Tech Report

Title

July 2009
M T W T F S S
« Jun   Aug »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

%d bloggers like this: