Posts filed under ‘Past Meetings’

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

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

Event Re-cap: Maui Growing Local

Over 130 people turned out on Saturday, May 15 to celebrate, dissect, chew and digest the subject of growing food on Maui. At  Maui Growing Local, locavore potluck dishes were piled on tables and attendees loaded their plates with the delicious variety of edibles Maui makes possible. Hosted by the current sustainability groups on Maui, South Maui Sustainability (SMS), Upcountry Sustainability (US), West Maui Sustainability (WMS) and the Sustainable Living Institute of Maui (SLIM), Maui Growing Local was dedicated to supporting and strengthening Maui agriculture.

Steve Phillips, of WMS reflected, “What inspired me most from this event was the realization that, not only can our diverse and opinionated people on Maui work together in the spirit of aloha, but that it is absolutely essential that we work in coordinated cooperation in order to reach our sustainability goals.”

Rob Parsons’ parting words were, “It’s a great start. Now we need to go out and take action.”

For those interested in getting involved, and to view the results of the 12 groups, visit,, and

Keep an eye out for the full article submitted to the Maui Weekly to be published the week of June 10.

UPDATE: Here is a list of the Top Ideas and Associated Actions that came out of the working groups.

June 3, 2010 at 9:41 am Leave a comment

SMS at KCA June 16, 2009 – Review of Meeting

June 16, 2009, 68 p.m., Kihei Community Center, 303 E. Lipoa St. Kihei, Maui, HI

The Kihei Community Association hosted South Maui Sustainability for a slide presentation and breakout group discussion of community gardens, renewable energy, reef sustainability and recycling and conservation.


Curbside Recycling
Advocate for full service curbside recycling
In the meantime set up neighborhood recycling groups where neighbors take turns transporting to the recycle/redemption centers.

    Money collected could go to:

  • The person who transports the materials
  • The whole group
  • Other organizations as a donation.

Advocate for the recycling of office paper.


  • Charge for plastic bags in the stores. This stick might be a more effective way to reduce use of plastic bags than the carrot of getting a small refund for using your own bags.
  • Find a way to get money for plastic bags (by weight) to motivate the pubic to pick up the bags, especially off the beaches.
    Energy and water Conservation

  • Clean the exhaust ducts from electric dryers
  • Turn off dishwaser “drying cycle”.
  • Watch your wattage on all appliances with KillaWatt or other metering devices.
  • Lower thermostat on hot water heater. 100 degrees is enough.
  • Upgrade any appliances older than 10 years to Energy Star.
  • Clean off the radiator tubes of your refigerator.
  • Turn dishwashing and hand washing water off when not actually using it to wet or rinse.
  • Turn off electricity for hot water heater, then turn on 15 minutes before needed. A timer box by the heater is better than using the circuit breaker for this.
  • Plug appliances, sound and computer equipment into power strips and then turn off power strip when done.
  • Use drip irrigation whenever possible
  • Promote graywater usage and public policy.
  • Advocate for Xeriscaping.
  • Advocate for bike lanes, especially on the Norht/South Kihei collector road.
  • Encourage bus usage
  • Whenever possible rescue freshly dug up plants from beting taken to the landfill. Can take them to schools, Aloha Shares, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, churches, homes, etc. Also see
  • Use used coffee cans for storage.
  • Convert old cloths into bags or material to chrochet into rugs.
  • Take old towells to the Humane Society for use with the anmials.
  • Use the library instead of buying new books.
  • Use passive solar jugs to store heat for upcountry greenhouses
  • Take used magazines to your doctor and dentist’s offices.

Most important issues

    Carbon dioxide deposition, nutrient rich waters going into ocean.

  • Run off from development (concrete, better construction, land use)
  • Street run off, golf courses. Irvine& Newport Beach already doing good things. John
  • Decline in fish, over fishing
  • Water quality
  • Sewage dumping.
  • Community ed. is poor, need to raise awareness. Population and growth problem
    What needs to be done?

  • Start at worst problem and work back.
  • Put filters in run off areas, since wetlands are already built over.
  • Promote natural wetlands, have penalties to over fishing, rules and regulations.
  • Neighborhood watch program.
  • Mooring. Rotationrest rotation – put into law?
  • Small steps s/b encouraged faucets, car washes, look at selfbehaviors.
  • Consulting Hawaiian Kahuna
  • More gray water use – education
  • Apollo alliance –Pam lightfoot
  • Water recycling link west Maui, establishing political strength, Gary Hoosier, political advocacy, Malama Kauau = connecting
  • Pick two/3 political issues, strength together State issues DNLR enforcement, 24 county offices to work with.
  • Use wastewater instead of dumping It., proactively protecting reefs now. Spending now to save reefs/water later.
    What is being done by other groups?

  • Pump don’t Dump. Putting signs up to help protect reefs. Educating visitors PSA on Airlines, Ziggy Lovenut. “Eyes on reef” –How to recognize Coral Disease and algae Growth.
  • Darla White. Shoreline reef cleanup Diving, snorkeling, beach line
  • Aquamarine collection Legislation Dyer?
    What can we do? And how will we do it?

  • Education. Create Hawaiian island alliances to gain political power.
  • Encourage –testify legislators – to save reefs and waters
  • Create Education programs, all age schools
  • Presentations –water quality, respecting our waters.


    Possible Sites

  • Kalama heights, Churches, ML&P land, Technology Center
  • KCA back and front. Safeway –North Liloacatchment

Interested parties – Kirk Surrey, Anne, Michael

    Ideas for bringing in the community

  • Church out reach, parents of children in schools, Rotary, SMS mailing list, Advertising in Maui Weekly etc. Flyers on Apt. doors.
  • Master Gardeners. Marin County model.
  • Tova

Challenges of water cost.
Do prototype, then “sell” idea.
Create a social network.


  • Funding – Done by county or state – solar install paid on property tax bill and passes on to new owner w/tax credits over 50% it is a good return on investment 1017%. Also prop value goes up. $24,000.00 = 3KW system. Fed Gov will lend money for this. Standard measurement unit is peak power output of solar panels….?
  • New units prices going down due to supply and demand
  • MECO can invest in solar elect, themselves and will start doing installs.
  • New super efficient glass which gives 3% better absorption of solar light.
  • Panel warranties going up to 20 yrs.
  • Efficiency = conservation w/out sacrificing
  • Great person in Kihei for solar – Steve Fryer
  • July 18th solar Town call Hawaii PV
  • Know what you need – Willy Bennett can do this for you.

June 30, 2009 at 5:49 pm 1 comment

Edible Garden Tour: Great success!

On April 4 over 100 people visted three Kihei home gardens on our first Edible Garden Tour. The garden owners did a great job of showing us around and answering our questions. Manky thanks to them and to all those who participated.





We will be doing another garden tour in the future, and welcome any feedback about what worked for you, what didn’t and what you might like to have included next time. We appreciate you taking time to let us know via email. Send us some photos of your garden and we’ll post them to our website—or you can post them yourself on the SMS social network site.

So much great information was shared, we imagine it would be useful to all. We have also had requests to compile the notes taken at the gardens and find a way to make them available to our members. If you took notes and are willing to type them up, please email them to us. We will also post them to our social network site so everyone can participate in the conversation and add their knowledge.

One of the owners had a fruit fly trap which he made after attending a UH “Fruit Fly Training Program”. No, they don’t train the flies, they train you to eradicate them. If enough South Maui folks are interested, we could have a 2 hour training somewhere in South Maui. Let us know if you are interested in this idea by emailing us. Let us know if days, evenings or weekends are best for you.

April 13, 2009 at 11:59 pm 1 comment

FUEL: Film—SMS Screening Feb 2009

 South Maui Sustainability hosted a screening of FUEL on February 27th 2009. An insightful portrait of America’s addiction to oil and an uplifting testament to the immediacy of new energy solutions. Director, Josh Tickell, a young activist, shuttles us on a whirlwind journey to track the rising domination of the petrochemical industry—from Rockefeller’s strategy to halt Ford’s first ethanol cars to Vice President Cheney’s petrochemical company sponsored energy legislation — and reveals a gamut of available solutions to “repower America” —from vertical farms that occupy skyscrapers to algae facilities that turn wastewater into fuel. Tickell and a surprising array of environmentalists, policy makers, and entertainment notables take us through America’s complicated, often ignominious energy past and illuminate a hopeful, achievable future, where decentralized, sustainable living is not only possible, it’s imperative.

The cast includes: Barbara Boxer, Richard Branson, Sheryl Crow, Laurie David, Larry David, James Gennaro, John Paul DeJoria, Larry Hagman, Woody Harrelson, Jay Inslee, Jack Johnson, Robert Kennedy Jr, Bud Mcfarlane, Willy Nelson, Julia Roberts, Josh Tickell, Neil Young, Smudo and Jim Woolsey.

The film won the following awards:
• Sundance Film Festival: Audience Award for Best Documentary
• Sedona Film Festival: Best Screenwriting
• Sedona Film Festival: Most Compelling Documentary
• AFI Dallas Film Festival: Current Energy Environmental Award
• GAIA Film Festival: Audience Award for Best Documentary
• Santa Cruz Film Festival: Producer’s Award
• IVCA Clarion Award: for Corporate Social Responsibility
• Cinema for Peace Award: Berlin Film Festival

Not yet in release or available on Netflix.

*Kihei Charter School location:
300 Ohukai Rd # 213
Directions: Coming from south Kihei, take the Pi’ilani Hwy toward the Mokulele. Turn right (mauka) onto Ohukai Road. Take your second right. Go straight to the very end and turn left around the building. Turn left into the next bay. KCS is located on the right. Coming from north of Kihei, turn left (mauka) onto Ohukai Road and follow the directions as above from Ohukai Road. Look for the blue and yellow signs.

Click map to enlarge.

February 22, 2009 at 1:13 am Leave a comment

If you missed the Gardening Panel

You missed a great event.  We had record attendance with over 120 people.  We may need to find a bigger venue!   The good news is that we hope to be posting the video soon.  Here are a couple of pictures from the event.

Over 120 attended the South Maui Sustainability Gardening Panel

Over 120 attended the South Maui Sustainability Gardening Panel

The panelists provide tons of information, experience and humor!

Phyliss Robinson facilitates a panel including (left to right) Tim Gunter, Marian Scott (face not shown), Ann Emmsley, Lindsay Manuel, Kainoa Horcajo and Blaze (Gene Weaver).

Phyliss Robinson facilitates a panel including (left to right) Tim Gunter, Marian Scott (face not shown), Ann Emmsley, Lindsay Manuel, Kainoa Horcajo and Blaze (Gene Weaver).

January 9, 2009 at 8:15 pm Leave a comment

Pictures and Notes from 9/11 Event

We had a great event at the Kihei Charter School on 9/11/2008.   Speakers were Vincent Mina, co-owner of Hanu Aina Greens and Gabriel Audant.   The topic of the evening was about growing foods in South Maui and we learned tons of great ideas and tips from speakers and each other.

Vinceent MinaGabriel Audant

.            Vinceent Mina                                            Gabriel Audant

Here are the notes from our brainstorming sessions –

Successes – What worked and tips

  • tomatoes, eggplant, peppers in Maui Meadows
  • any herbs – parsley, rosemary, basil
  • Korean Sweet Potatoes
  • Citrus
  • sprouts in window sill; use water to put on house plants
  • Okinawan spinach from cuttings
  • trees as windbreak between rows for lettuce; keep it cool
  • compost box under each fruit tree
  • layers of plants on lanai; shade structures
  • 50 gallon drums w/lids under water spouts
  • Gliricidia


  • Nutgrass
  • Snails
  • White flies
  • Spider mites
  • mealy bugs
  • Cost of water
  • Birds eat fruit and seeds
  • the wind
  • fruit flies
  • white flies stunt tomato flowers
  • sooty mold
  • tomato bugs
  • lack of space
  • lack of good soil
  • the heat
  • rats in avocado trees
  • mice in compost pile

Had trouble growing

ID Things that SMS can do to support your sustainable garden efforts  (GROUP A)

  • seed exchange and cuttings
  • chat forum on website
  • photos of problems and solutions (ref.
  • classes
  • worm lady speak
  • workdays
  • list of sources of materials
  • group purchases
  • networking of neighbors
  • food exchange
  • soil information in depth
  • youth program – schools
  • business support (coffee grounds)

ID Things that SMS can do to support your sustainable garden efforts  (GROUP B)

  • Seed Exchange
  • Make resources available (soil, seeds, companies, organic pest control)
  • Info on using grey water
  • Create community – meeting groups (cooperative buying / co-op trading)
  • Share lots
  • Continue with guest speakers and lectures
  • Pamphlet of S. Maui Gardening tips
  • Team “mom and dads” growing
  • Print/post lecture notes on website
  • Consider Hawaiian Cultural Practices / Practitioners
  • More info on hydroponics

ID Things that SMS can do to support your sustainable garden efforts  (Community Gardens)

  • Educational workshops
  • sources for dirt, mulch
  • Soil quality – integrity of site (not sprayed)
  • Liability / security of site
  • Water availability – H2)
  • Accessibility
  • expenses
  • School involvement
  • tools / equipment
  • Network – blog, chat for planning
  • Starts – plant material
  • composting
  • organization
  • garden club connections
  • existing + potential sites/location

Mahalo for all great ideas — let’s move to some action!

September 13, 2008 at 9:36 am 2 comments

Latest Articles


  • 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


August 2020