Posts filed under ‘Events’

Hearing: Maui Island Plan – South Maui – Tuesday, May 29, 9am


Where: Maui County Council Chambers, 200 High St Wailuku

If you can’t go, send comments to General Plan Committee:

May 26, 2012 at 2:02 pm Leave a comment

Notes from Clean Energy Meeting, Kihei March 17, 2011


  • Situation in Japan
  • Reation what can we do
  • Why 2011 is “Solar Year”
  • Solar Investing
  • Action Items in Maui and Honolulu
  • Kanu Hawai’i – July energy challenge


  • The reactors are out of control.
  • The situation is worse than Chernobyl, which had 1 million deaths. Now there are 6 reactors compared to 1 in Chernobyl. Some commentators say this is 500 times worse.
  • Reactor 3 is run partially on plutonium which is 1000 times more dangerous, experimenting with MOX for 3 months 5-15% plutonium
  • A Google news search for plutonium incidents shows that the US media doesn’t report them, but they are big news in Germany.

What can we do?

  • Set up a web page with radiation information. Click here to see this new posting.
  • Discussion: Should we start a Facebook page for distributing information about radiation risks and protection on Maui? What organizations already exist here with those resources?
  • Call for replacing nuclear with clean energy, wind, solar.
  • The Sierra Club already has anti-nuclear position, but it hasn’t started to point what we should be learning from the Japanese events and implementing in the U.S. We are prompted to encourage the Sierra Club to more actively to promote renewable energy in place of nuclear.
  • There is much discussion now on the internet about nuclear risks and suggested political actions.
  • There is also some information about the risks on Maui from the Japanese nuclear accidents and recommended precautions.
    Click here for some online resources as of 3/18/11.
  • Radioactive Iodine (Iodine-131) was major risk from the Chernobyl nuclear plant meltdown is not as big a factor with the current situation, which is leaking more Cesium.
  • For radioactive iodine, potassium Iodide is recommended, but only when person is exposed. It’s absorbed by the thyroid, which then doesn’t take in the radioactive substance.

    Good natural sources of iodine are edible seaweed, like nori, kelp, dulse and irish moss as well as asparagus, garlic, lima beans, mushrooms, seafood, sea salt and fortified salt, sesame seeds, soybeans, spinach, summer squash, swiss chard and turnip greens.


  • PV costs have come down to between $2.80/watt (Germany) and $6.50/watt (US).
  • Chinese thin wafer technology is less expensive but can fracture more easily.
  • China is installing a new coal plant each week.
  • Safe nuclear? This is a problem because of the long half life of nuclear waste, which contains certain radioactive elements (such as plutonium-239) from “spent” fuel that will remain hazardous to humans and other creatures for hundreds of thousands of years. Other radioisotopes remain hazardous for millions of years.
  • What is needed is the political will to make the change to clean energy happen sooner. Because of the wealth and lobbying power of the established oil, coal and nuclear suppliers , this is a huge challenge. How can we make the change?
  • Suggestion: Lease rooftops to MECO to generate electricity.
    Response: MECO did survey about this and found it difficult to manage a large number of small roofs.
  • One problem with locally generated clean energy is the limited capacity of the grid to take variable energy. Reliable forms of storage are needed, perhaps incentives for homeowners to get batteries to store sun and wind generated electricity during high production and and installation of available systems that let individual batteries feed back into the grid at specific times of day, like peak demand between 7-9pm.
  • Currently the best batteries are Lithium-Ion batteries.
  • Energy can also be stored by Pumped Hydro systems, but local studies about feasibility of pumped storage at Ulupalakua revealed serious problems regarding environmental impact statements and getting permits.
  • A planned reservoir in upcountry has a cost of $100 million to build and an 18-year of permitting process. Two of those would be needed for pumped storage. MECO is only worth $100 million and they burn $300 million of oil burned/year, which is paid for by consumers. It is hard for them to invest $100-200 million in a storage system.
  • The Lanai PV farm was designed to store energy, but the battery company failed and the Chinese bought it. Lanai is just now getting a new battery.
  • The new FIT (Feed-in-Tariff), policy allows an electricity producer to upload a maximum of 250 kw to MECO for 20 years at a guaranteed rate of 21-27 cents per kw hour.
  • Net metering is better for homes than FIT, however, a producer can have a FIT meter on a separate meter from the Net Meter.


  • An investment in a PV system with a 6% interest loan gives power costs for 30 years between 14-33 cents / kWh. MECO currently charges $0.30-0.34/kWh and that will likely only get higher.
  • Inverters for PV systems are warranted for 10-15 years and will likely be replaced because of limited lifetime and improvements in technology.
  • The PV modules have 10 year warranty, but can least for up to 40 years if not damaged by a big voltage surge, people walking on top of them and creating micro fractures, or getting serious corrosion on the terminal or getting water seepage.
  • The resulting return on a PV system is between 8% and 13%, depending whether tax incentives are utilized.
  • This grows to a 31% annual return in 20 years (considering a 5.5% increase in kWh prices)
  • Commercial systems pay off in 2-4 years –
  • Investments in solar parks yield 7-14%. A solar park is where people rent out their land or their roof and others invest in the PV installation.
  • One problem is that the rush to install at the end of the year for tax write-offs chokes installation process with over demand of limited supplies.
  • People need to learn how to use the tax benefits that are year-round.
  • Need to have clean energy education for architects and bankers.
  • LEED (international green building certification system) points are given for generating energy, but not for design. Because of the current low economy, there are few LEED projects on Maui now.
  • PV installation also protect roofs, but you need to start with a roof in good condition.


  • Signs in front of PV homes or stickers on their mailboxes could show the trend.


  • These are very practical, can be placed in parking lots, give shade to parked vehicles and provide power for all the associated businesses or homes.


  • Alternating PV pipes and open space can make the right amount of shade for vegetables like tomatoes. Some panels let sunlight through and could also be installed in gardens.


  • Ground mounted systems require a building permit and they must be engineered.


  • Solar hot water was tested by, and standards developed in part by the utilities. Now it is mandated for new construction, but regulations and enforcement were not mandated. The mandate eliminated solar hot water tax credits and rebates and costs the state money for inspection. Contractors also must be trained to properly install the units.
  • Architects also need to be educated about locating solar electricity and solar water units appropriately, too limit length of pipes from source to end use.


  • These are made from amorphous materials and serve a double purpose, but are not yet efficient enough to be really practical.


  • The Small Wind Power market is still developing.
  • The vertical axis installation at the MECO office is wobbly. Same problem at the UHC. The 20′ height above the bearing creates cantilever problems on bearings.
  • All wind units get energy from their “swept area”, which is one of the most important factors in predicting energy production
  • Vertical wind turbines swept area is half the cage size because because half of the time it’s rotating into the wind.
  • The small turbines at the Ma’alea aquarium are challenged to follow shifts in wind direction.
  • Wind turbines must be high enough to avoid turbulence, which kills energy production.
  • Wind power provides better dollar per kw hours than solar in a good wind resource.
  • Durability is issue with wind equipment. There’s a 20-year design for the better units.
  • The first big Maalea turbine fell apart each week because it was an old design that wasn’t  made for the salt environment)
  • The <i>First Wind</i> farm now has storage in the form of a semi-truck sized GE battery. Their new farm will go up soon. Huge pieces of the new windmills can be seen stored beyond the fence at the end of South Holopono Street in the Maui Research Park.
  • Land is leased from the state by First Wind. Customers pay MECO which pays First Wind which pays state.
  • When excess energy is generated, it can be curtailed  by stopping the windmill from turning.
  • Construction has begun at the Auwahi Wind Energy 22-megawatt wind energy and battery storage project near Ulupalakua. Because it’s at end of power line, it needs a massive 30 MW battery.



March 19, 2011 at 2:26 am 1 comment

Clean Energy Meeting – Kihei – March 17

2011 is a landmark year for Clean Energy. Recent technological advances, cost reductions and generous government support make investing in solar and wind generation highly lucrative. New governments in Maui County and Hawaii State have pledged their support for a swift reorientation away from oil.

Join us this Thursday, March 17 at 6:30 pm for a spirited discussion of investment possibilities for individuals and recommendations for Maui’s transition into an oil free future.

Chris Mentzel (in affiliation with South Maui Sustainability)
619 Kupulau Dr
Kihei HI 96753
– no cost –
– please park above the house along the empty lot –

Energy Revolution
How to get Maui off oil by 2020

By Chris Mentzel

The central question about the introduction of renewable energy is WHO will do it. It’s not anymore about necessity, technology, finance and practicality – those have been proven and are available. But revolutions depend on the people who will bring them forward.

Consider the last revolution with massive impacts on our daily lives, the structure of our society and the distribution of wealth and knowledge. In a little more than a decade, people have embraced wireless technologies from the cellular phone to satellite TV to wireless Internet.

This change was not driven forward by government planning or the existing telecommunication companies with their huge investments in wired networks. Instead it was driven from the ground up by countless entrepreneurs, inventors and users that embraced a new technology and the autonomy it brought them.

In Bangladesh, Grameen Shakti has brought a network of ingenieurs and installers, most of them female, into place who have installed 1.5 million PV systems in less than 10 years. That was just the beginning, tens of millions are in the plan. For comparison – Maui has 800 PV systems, we are outrun by one of the poorest countries on earth.

In Germany, the Feed-in Tariff has created $130 billion in renewable energy investments in 10 years, ten times more than all the investments of the traditional energy sector. Income from clean energy systems mostly benefits the middle class, rather than large corporations. The law is so successful, that the government is trying to reign it in for fear of destabilizing the traditional energy sector.

In summary, the fastest progress has been achieved by involving many players in the society at large, especially when they are less hampered by laws or the involvement of the existing industry. Many small energy systems can be installed in weeks, rather than in years or decades like large power plants.

…to be continued…

March 14, 2011 at 8:39 pm Leave a comment

The Hawaiian Heritage and Environmental Sustainability Fair

On Saturday, April 17th, The Hawaiian Heritage and Environmental Sustainability Fair will be held in Paia, featuring sustainable companies and projects from all over the island.

See details.

March 14, 2011 at 8:15 pm Leave a comment

Body & Soil Conference Preview

Our January Event
Meet the presenters for Body & Soil Conference

 Wednesday, January 12
6:30-8:00 P.M.
Kihei Charter High School
[see map]

Again this year we are teaming with Vince Mina and the Maui Aloha Aina Association to host the kickoff event for the Body & Soil Conference. This year’s theme is “Getting to the Heart of Body & Soil Vitality”. We’ll have short presentations by each of the world-class presenters. You will be able to purchase tickets for the 3-day event (January 14-16) at the meeting. The opening is a FREE night of great information from world-renowned speakers so you really don’t want to miss it.

Come early to talk story at 6:00 P.M. Presentations will start promptly at 6:30 P.M. Watch for the blue and yellow South Maui Sustainability signs starting at the Pi’ilani Highway and Ohukai St in North Kihei.

January 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm Leave a comment

Locavore Potluck & “Two Angry Moms” movie

Two Angry Moms
Dinner & A Movie
Thursday, December 9
6:00 PM
Kihei Charter School [map]

Back to our usual 2nd Thursday of the month, join us for a fun and educational evening featuring great food and a movie about improving the food our kids eat. And pick up a few Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) to go!

We’ll start off at 6:00 with a food prep demo by Chef Andrea of Whole Foods. She will demonstrate an item that could be part of a healthy school lunch made of local ingredients like mac nut butter, apple banana and honey sandwiches on HomeMaid Bakery bread.

At 6:30, we’ll socialize and enjoy the potluck local dishes that everyone has brought. Please bring a dish to share made from predominantly Hawaii Grown/Produced ingredients. It should be labeled for ingredients and boldly noted if it is VEGAN, CONTAINS MEAT, etc. Please make the effort to have your dish on the table prior to 6:30 so everyone can share the food. This is also a trash free event, so bring your own eating utensils.

After a quick dinner (7:00 P.M.) we’ll be showing the movie, Two Angry Moms. This is a true documentary about (you guessed it) two angry moms who decided to try to change school lunch programs. Learn more about what our kids are fed at school and what we can do about it.

UH Maui College’s Go Green Club, in an arrangement with the Blue Planet Foundation is giving away free CFLs. The Go Green Club, is made up of students involved in greening the UH Maui College through such planned initiatives as setting up a office paper recycling on the campus, will receive $400 for their club from the Foundation by collecting the names of people receiving the bulbs. We’ll have bulbs at our event and all you need to do is submit your name.

Everyone is invited. Follow the SMS blue and yellow signs from Pi’ilani Highway and Ohukai to find the high school.

See preview and clips of Two Angry Moms .

November 22, 2010 at 8:51 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

October 2010 School Garden Work and Learn Day

Saturday, October 16
8:00 – 11:00 A.M.
Kihei Elementary School
This will be a big event as we prepare for the planting days to start the end of October. More people make it faster AND more FUN. We’ll have all types of tasks from applying amendments to labeling beds for planting.

Bring your gardening questions and we’ll try to help. Please dress in comfortable gardening clothes and closed-toed shoes, a hat and apply plenty of sunscreen! We’ll provide some snacks and water. Please bring your own cup or bottle.

We are also looking for
Garden Teaching Assistants who can help out during school hours. Typically hours are just 11 A.M – 2 P.M. but may be longer on planting days. No gardening experience is needed. We’ll orient you and it really helps the teachers when there are extra adults in the garden. This is always one of the most rewarding volunteer things you can do! Call Kathy at 344-0469 or email kathy at southmauisustainability dot org to sign-up or get more information.

New volunteers from the community are always encouraged to come 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!

September 29, 2010 at 2:16 pm Leave a comment

Tour de Kihei Bike Ride

Saturday, August 28
9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Kamaole Beach Park III

Join us on the Tour de Kihei Bike Ride. Come out and support greener and safer transportation on a ride for bike awareness and bike safety for South Maui and also have a chance to meet candidates running for office.

On the morning of August 28th, we’ll be starting from Kamaole Beach Park III and ride down Kihei Road to Lipoa St. We’ll stop for a water break at St. Theresa’s Church and return by riding south on the Kalama Park Pedestrian Trail. We finish back at Kam III where we’ll have water, light snacks and a chance for people to find out more about bike riding and safety issues in South Maui. The ride itself should take less than an hour. For safety reasons, we’ll be riding in groups of about 10 people.

We have invited our elected officials and candidates for office to join us for the bike ride so they will be more informed about the bicycling needs of the South Maui Community. At the end of the ride, we have suggested that they make themselves available to meet and talk story.

Please RSVP and let us know, so we can plan for snacks. Signup for The Tour de Kihei here (or visit or contact us directly at  874-5955.

Special thanks to: Kihei Community Association, South Maui Bicycles, South Maui Bicycle Coalition, South Maui Sustainability and the local bike riding community for their support.

August 6, 2010 at 7:32 am Leave a comment

Support New Local Farmer’s Market in Kihei

Saturdays starting July 31, 2010
8:00 AM to noon (but come early!)
The South Maui Center on Lipoa

Did you miss the opening of the Lipoa Farmer’s Market last weekend? It sold out early at the Grand Opening and we are anticipating more participation by local farmers each week. There is a wide variety of fruits and vegetables available, all grown on Maui and all clearly marked with name, grower, organic/traditional etc. The farmer’s will only keep coming – and more will join them – if the market is successful. That usually means selling out early so they can leave and get on with their day.

The Lipoa Street Farmers Market is located in the parking lot of the new South Maui Center at 95 Lipoa. Easy access and lots of parking is available. Bring your own shopping bags as our goal is to be a “Plastic bag free market”.

South Maui Sustainability has an information table so drop by and talk story about ways we can promote, encourage and support local food production. The market opens at 8 AM and closes at noon or when sold out. Hope to see you there just a few minutes after eight, after we’ve gotten our shopping done 😉

August 6, 2010 at 7:26 am Leave a comment

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