Escape Hatch in 100% Renewable Bill Signed into Law
by Lawrence Downes, New York Times June 9, 2015 (excerpt)
...The growth of solar power in Hawaii — the mother of all green-energy no-brainers — has been marked by fierce battling on the rooftops involving customers, utility officials, regulators and the solar industry. Many islanders are wary of wind farms, which can be a hard sell in a place where the natural beauty is sublime, cherished and imperiled. Endless rows of windmills may be an aesthetic non-issue, or even an improvement, in a vast mainland desert or cornfield, but in tiny Hawaii, resistance has been intense.
As for geothermal, the issue is complicated not just by the industry’s toxic spills and accidents, but also by native Hawaiian religious traditions. The state’s active volcanoes are believed to be the home of the goddess Pele, and many anti-geothermal activists are not speaking entirely metaphorically when they denounce drilling as rape.
Hawaii deserves credit for trying, but my eyes fell on what seems like an escape hatch in the bill. While the bill calls for punishing utilities that fall short of the green energy requirements, it does not specify any penalties. It also outlines broad reasons the requirements may be waived. Among the many reasons the public utility commission may let a utility off the hook is this:
“Inability to acquire sufficient renewable electrical energy to meet the renewable portfolio standard goals beyond 2030 in a manner that is beneficial to Hawaii’s economy in relation to comparable fossil fuel resources.”
That there is a legislative paraphrase of a well-known Hawaiian pidgin saying, an eloquently condensed version of the serenity prayer, which goes: “If can, can. If no can, no can.” ....
read ... A Green Future for Blue Hawaii, Maybe