PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

December 1, 2008

Hawaii’s leadership on renewable energy

Filed under: 6Sustainable Environment,HI Politics — BobSchacht @ 10:59 pm

Jeffrey Mikulina, a longtime environmental activist in Hawaii, is making waves, so to speak, with the Blue Planet Foundation.

An editorial in the New York Times quotes him in the lead sentence about “a new campaign to wean Hawaii from fossil fuels in 10 years.” According to the editorial,

A green consciousness is beginning to take root in Hawaii. In January, the state approved a plan to cut its reliance on foreign oil by 70 percent by 2030. Mr. Rogers doesn’t want to wait that long, so his [Blue Planet] foundation is trying to turbocharge the effort. Mr. Mikulina, the foundation’s executive director, says this will mean more than just throwing up lots more solar panels and windmills and making lavish investments on exotic technologies.

The editorial concludes,

Hawaiians have a long tradition of self-sufficiency, community action and a deep attachment to the land that sustains them — leadership in a clean-energy movement could powerfully reaffirm those values and perhaps spread them to the rest of the nation.

You’ve probably heard about this effort before. Perhaps you read about the ambitious conference in Ko Olina last April, bringing together dozens of experts in the field to develop tangible ways to advance the goal of clean energy for Hawaii (Blue Planet Summit taps array of experts). If not, check the summit’s website.

Anyway, it is not often that Hawaii is recognized by the New York Times for its leadership. Now, how can we engage the political process to promote achieving this campaign to wean Hawaii from fossil fuels in 10 years?

Bob

1 Comment »

  1. Hi Bob… just a caution that the price of oil may drop as more wells come into existence in the next ten years. Also technology is continually changing. What we have 10 years from now may not meet our needs 30 years from now.

    We need to be able to adapt to change without burdening ourselves with excessive costs that must be amortised through periods of low oil costs. We also need to think about potential technologies that will allow us to outgrow our water needs by providing energy for desalinization. Currently even agriculture must fight a losing battle on this island for cheap water. How can we be truly sustainable if we cannot grow enough to feed ourselves?

    Perhaps our future includes offshore farms/energy platforms/living structures of fish and plankton that we can also use to generate energy, fresh water, and exports to ship abroad. And perhaps we need to design/build large wind driven ships that can transport those exports to distant ports very cheaply.

    I’ve read of projections of cheap fusion energy in 30 to 50 years. So perhaps our grandchildren will live to see that day. I’ve seen occasional reports of progress. For example, IIRC a fusion power plant may be completed in France in about 10 years by the Europeans. But even before then, I would suspect that the French are converting their nuclear plants to safer and cheaper technology. I see the Iranians point about limiting their oil for export and going nuclear. The US and the europeans should just give that advanced nuclear technology to the Iranians instead of having them reinvent the wheel and continue with their uranium enrichment research and development. The newer technology can result in use of non-enriched uranium with less dangerous waste in cheaper, smaller plants with less safety concerns. Of course, there is always the possibility of human error. So I don’t think that this is a good alternative for Hawaii– also given the possibility of a vessel carrying waste sinking at sea not to mention unscrupulous contractors just dumping the stuff overboard to save costs. It may be cheaper to scuttle a ship carring tons of the stuff than to be responsible for transporting it all the way to Nevada.

    Comment by Al Toda — January 2, 2009 @ 10:07 pm

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