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Sunday, December 14, 2014
December 14, 2014 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:33 PM :: 3464 Views

How Christmas Came to Hawaii

NextEra: The Green Corruption Files

A Cliff in Hawaii Income Tax, Too

Save HECO pt 1: Demand that NextEra Block LNG to keep Rates High

Shapiro: Since Florida-based NextEra Energy announced it will buy Hawaiian Electric for $4.3 billion, many public officials have hoped the new owner will better HEI's dismal record on reducing fossil fuels and cutting rates.

Our leaders can do more than hope.  (Yes: They can impose demands designed to chase NextEra out of the state.)

The state Public Utilities Commission has power to set conditions on the sale or even reject it, creating strong leverage to demand the clean energy future Hawaii wants....  (Clue: The 'conditions' Shapiro wants are designed to favor rooftop solar contractors at the expense of all other alternatives.  These conditions are designed to obstruct all of NextEra's business strategy, thus rendering the merger undesirable and causing NextEra to abandon it.)

That's good if the strategy is a new business model that accommodates decentralized renewable energy; not so good if the strategy props up the grid by beating back diversified renewables, as HEI has done on rooftop solar with installation delays and threatened fees.  (Yes.  Everything revolves around rooftop solar. There are no other conditions.)

Robo says NextEra supports renewables, but its vision is for big centralized solar farms and wind farms that feed the grid and preserve the utility's tight lock on power generation and distribution....

NextEra's plan to import large quantities of liquefied natural gas as an alternative to oil also needs scrutiny.

Relying too heavily on another imported fossil fuel as a bridge to a renewable future makes little sense if it only delays the development of renewables that can already compete with gas.  (And how would LNG do this?  By lowering utility bills, thus causing consumers to lose interest in expensive rooftop solar systems.)

read ... A fight between two groups of alt energy scammers

Save HECO pt 2: Jobs Lost as NextEra Cuts Electric Bills by Building Natural Gas Plants, Installing Smart Meters

SA:  Modernized generation plants and smart meters have contributed to the cut in demand of positions, said Robert Gould, vice president for marketing and communication at Florida Power & Light....

HECO finished installing 5,200 smart meters for a pilot program in September. NextEra has installed smart meters to almost all of its 4.7 million Florida Power & Light customers.

There are 38 meter readers employed by HECO who may be affected by the change....

In July, Florida Power & Light demolished its older Port Everglades Power Plant and built a new, more fuel-efficient natural gas plant in its place. The new plant is expected to come online in mid-2016.

Only 38 workers are needed to run the natural gas-fired plant, compared to 135 at the older plant, reported the South Florida Business Journal....

The job reductions increase efficiency and allow the company to keep rates low. Florida Power & Light's rates are 25 percent below the national average, the company said....

NextEra hopes to follow through on Hawaiian Electric's plans to convert oil burning power plants to liquefied natural gas, which can be cheaper than oil and burn cleaner.

NextEra's plans will help Hawaii reach its energy goals, but the impact on jobs needs to be considered, said state Sen. Mike Gabbard (D, Kapolei, Makakilo) chairman of the committee on Energy and Environment.

"It's a huge concern for these folks to continue to have good jobs and feed their family," Gabbard said....

(Translation: NextEra rate reductions chase out other green energy scammers leaving it to monopolize the field.)

read ... It begins

Utility merger brings attention to undersea power cable proposal

MN: Last year, NextEra was among companies eager to install a 112-mile, 2,100-foot deep interisland cable, which was seen at the time as a first step toward connecting electric-power-hungry Oahu with firm, geothermal energy on the Big Island. The PUC opened a docket on the matter and launched a feasibility study....

NextEra officials were in the islands promoting the proposed undersea cable. The cable would lower consumer bills, slacken Hawaii's thirst for imported oil, improve system reliability and create a "modern, integrated grid for Hawaii," Eric Gleason, NextEra president of transmission, said at the time.

Recently, after NextEra and Hawaiian Electric announced a $2.6 billion merger ($4.3 billion with NextEra's assumption of HEI debt), top-level officials from both companies indicated that they were open to rethinking their positions on the undersea cable.

(What nobody is talking about is the fact that with separate grids on each island, HEI is obligated to maintain triple redundant power plants for each island.  With Big Cable, some of those plants could be shut down because the grid can be backed up by plants on Oahu.  The shutdowns would reduce costs and electric rates but also eliminate jobs.  This island by island redundancy is one of the key reasons Hawaii rates are so high.  Unfortunately all they can do is babble about the idiotic idea of using big cable to shunt erratic and expensive wind energy around the islands in a desperate effort to find someone to use it.)

read ... We're not taking the cable off the table.

Life of the Land, HECO & the Future

IM: The absolute highest penetration of intermittent renewables (wind, solar) on a reliable transmission grid in the world is Maui followed by the Big Island. The latter has higher renewable energy levels but some of that is baseload geothermal.

HECO used to have a monolithic internal structure. In the last five to ten years there have been major internal struggles over who should lead the utility down which path forward.

The inability of a slow, conservative, rigid utility to adapt to rapid change is not surprising.

There are now major options on the table: micro grids (Parker Ranch, Pearl Harbor), smart grids (Maui), leaving the grid (nebulous but growing), interconnecting grids (Nextera), cooperatives (KIUC), municipal ownership (like water departments) and community acquisition of a grid (proposed by various parties).

The Nextera proposal to buy out Hawaiian Electric Industries have placed all of these on the table as possible conditions to the community, legislative and regulatory acceptance of a future utility structure.

Now is the time to raise possibilities, to think outside of the box, to contemplate change.

One of the first changes that must occur is to resolve the instability at the Public Utilities Commission. There has been a stunning exodus of key staff members.

read ... Life of the Land

Star-Adv Cheers Obama Library 3' Above Allegedly Rising Sea Levels 

SA: The official proposal, coordinated by the University of Hawaii with the participation of public and private partners, has been submitted to the Barack Obama Foundation, the entity that will develop the legacy institution to preserve the president's documents and represent the record of his administration.  (The entire legacy of the Obama Presidency is to be placed at elevation 3' above sea level.  Question: Do you believe in sea level rise only when you are told to do so?  This proposal demonstrates that neither UH, nor the Star-Adv editors, not Obama believe that sea level rise is real.)

Don't worry, sea level rise is fake anyway: No sea level rise: Pacific islands growing not shrinking, says study

read ... They can turn the propaganda on and off and nobody notices except me

Star-Adv Continues to Cover up Litigious Atheists' Move to Michigan

SA: ...Two Oahu churches being sued for allegedly underpaying the state Department of Education for using school facilities for religious services are appealing a state judge's refusal to throw out the lawsuit.

Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of Church and State founder Mitch Kahle and his wife, Holly Huber, (both of whom have absconded to Michigan, but we at the Star-Adv aren't telling) are suing One Love Ministries and Calvary Chapel Central Oahu on behalf of the state. Kahle and Huber claim One Love Ministries underpaid Kaimuki High School $930,000 and Calvary Chapel underpaid Mililani High School $171,000 by using the school facilities for longer periods than what they claimed on their applications.

What the Star-Adv Won't Tell You:  Hawaii Atheists Move to Michigan, Begin Suing

read ... Lie of Omission

Suggested Amendments to Sunshine Law

SA: Hawaii's Sunshine Law (Chapter §92-1) states: "Opening up the governmental processes to public scrutiny and participation is the only viable and reasonable method of protecting the public's interest."

Most state departments are led by a single administrator, with no board or commission.

These have no open meetings, no public access to observe decisions, or provide public input in them.

We find out about decisions after the fact....

Perhaps we should rethink the very purpose and value of boards, as well as their obligations, including:

» Allow for all board members to attend the same events — conferences, workshops, public forums, meetings of other boards — otherwise, we limit their ability to interact with and learn from the widest possible range of views, themselves and the public.

» Insist documents or staff presentations be posted in advance along with the original agendas to allow the public time to review and comment. Otherwise, the ability to observe, understand and comment on what is happening is a sham.

» Don't say we can testify for only two minutes, unless the chairperson allows more. Say five minutes, unless the chair needs to shorten it.

And allow testimony before or after each agenda item, not all at the beginning. Otherwise, we are dismissing meaningful participation of the public.

read ... Sunshine Law

Cyclists Will Die, but I've Got Counter Research

SA: ...One critic is Bob Vieira, whose real-estate work and visits to the doctor at Straub Clinic bring him down King a lot. He echoed the refrain voiced by many. This, critics maintain, is simply too hazardous to stand.

And although enthusiasts point to an increase in ridership, the counterargument is that cyclist counts can be very low at times. On one trip down the length of King Street, Vieira counted one cyclist in the track and one on the sidewalk. But safety is his main concern.

"It's just mind-boggling," he added, in a phone interview last week. "They're blind to the fact that this is an accident waiting to happen. … It's crazy. It's nuts." ...

On the safety issue, league President Chad Taniguchi said he saw the stories about L.A. hit-and-runs but, with a lot of the counterresearch at his fingertips, stressed that this has to be viewed in context.

"California bicycling rate increased by 60 percent over the last seven years, so you would get more deaths," he said. "California has the highest number of bike commuters in the country but the rate of fatalities is not the highest in the country."

Some of the complaints about the cycle track involve features that are there by design. Having a parking lane separating a two-way bike lane more effectively insulates it from traffic, in the same way raising it off the ground would, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

This doesn't make the naysayers feel any better just now. The City Council representative for the district, Ann Kobayashi, said she remains supportive of the track but is hearing complaints from some constituents.

Some are especially worried that when the lane goes two-way, drivers exiting driveways onto one-way King Street will need to be retrained to look both ways, rather than just look right, Kobayashi said.

read ... Acceptable Losses

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