Archive for October, 2010

Vote for Energy Sustainability

Chris Mentzel asked the 2010 candidates for Maui County offices if they would support the following twelve important local, low-cost policy initiatives.. See the results on the Maui Weekly website.

  1. Adopt a formal policy, passed by the County Council, to make Maui a Clean Energy Island, achieving 100% electrical energy independence by 2020. This policy will provide guidance to all parts of the administration. A preference for buying local and for respecting Hawaiian values should be included.
  2. Use the 100% goal to bring clean energy visitors and make Maui a mecca for clean energy conferences.
  3. Install clean energy and energy saving devices on all county buildings within the next 2 years. This includes the new Kihei police station. Many businesses have offered to do this for free and sell the energy to the County at reduced rates, so there is no cost to the County. Prefer local businesses as far as legally possible.
  4. Create a Sustainability Department in the administration similar to the proposed Hawaii Energy Authority for the State to coordinate clean energy and sustainability efforts. Savings from county energy initiatives and federal grants will return far more money than this office costs.
  5. Ensure that Maui has a strong representation at State level, with the PUC and other counties to bring home money and projects and to influence broader policies. Apply for federal grants on the basis of becoming a Clean Energy Island.
  6. Prevent homeowners from being taxed for renewable energy installations, such as PV panels. Create a PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program as soon as current legal hurdles are resolved.
  7. Standardize county energy and resources consumption reports and request large energy users to do the same.
  8. Continue the work of the Maui County Energy Alliance (MCEA), a group of 80 energy experts, and provide funding for their long-term planning.
  9. Prioritize permits for clean energy and energy savings. Issue electrical permits for rooftop solar in 14 days and building permits for small renewable energy projects in 30 days.
  10. Perform energy audits in all County facilities and offer audits to residents, using UHMC graduates where possible. Explore funding this program through the $2-3 million Hawaii Energy receives from Maui ratepayers each year.
  11. Focus on clean energy efforts at the Water Department. It is Maui’s largest electricity user and could easily transition to wind and solar. Its reservoirs could provide pumped storage, the most proven form of electricity storage.
  12. Change County procurement procedures so that they include the long-term energy cost for energy-consuming items (include a bonus for renewable energy options). Include life-cycle costing as requested by Hawaii State law. As far as legally possible, give a preference to local products.

October 28, 2010 at 10:08 pm 1 comment

Compressed Air Automobiles – update

Air Engine

This Australian newscast video shows vehicles and engines from two different manufacturers.

Driving distance on one 3 minute refill of compressed air – 200 kilometers.

October 28, 2010 at 9:31 pm Leave a comment

Sign up to help with planting at the KES Garden!

No gardening experience is needed. Our garden volunteers are always a big help to teachers and students, and it’s a lot of FUN for the volunteers too! New volunteers from the community are always encouraged to join us, so even if you can’t make this event, let us know you are interested and we’ll add you to our school garden mailing list!

Sign up by selecting form below or call Kathy at 344-0469 or email kathy at southmauisustainability dot org to sign-up or get more information. You have your choice of several days and times.

Click to sign up. Please make sure to submit the form. You will receive confirmation within 48 hours.

October 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm Leave a comment

Feed-In Tariff Program Approved

– Commentary by Chris Mentzel
The PUC (Public Utitilities Commission) has approved the first stage of the Hawaii Feed-In Tariff (FIT) which will take effect in the next months. While it is not the wide open FIT that has made Germany the undisputed leader in clean energy, it is a first step to open up the grid for sellers of renewable energy. For the first 2 years it is limited to 5% of the island’s peak power production, which translates to only 1-2% of energy production. While this will not effect a significant move towards clean energy, it is still a lot of new solar PV installations.

The FIT makes it possible for everyone to invest in clean energy systems and receive a virtually guaranteed return of 6-8% per year, better than most other investments.

Read the October 13, 2010 Pacific Business News article on the PUC approval.

October 14, 2010 at 9:30 pm 1 comment

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October 2010