Monday, December 23, 2013

The Public and Private Versions of Solar Power, in Brief

Private version: The installation of photovoltaic panels to generate electric power utilizes unused rooftops and provides free building cooling. (Y. Hata Co., Honolulu, HI.)

Public version: The installation of photovoltaic panels to generate electric power wastes productive land, wastes taxpayer funds, and lies about sustainable green jobs; there aren't any. (DHHL, Kalaeloa, HI)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

AIKEA FOR HONOLULU No. 32 – Here’s Wishing for a Helmet Law and Jones Act Repeal

The magic of Fibonacci numbers. Simple series. Fascinating creations!

Biologist Mohamed Hijri brings to light a farming crisis no one is talking about: We are running out of phosphorus. (TED talk in French, subtitled.)
As 2013 comes to a close it is worth remembering that Honolulu's $5.2 Billion rail project is a testament of the power of government and special interests to get their way.  The Honolulu Civil Beat's multiple polls over the years show that the rail project never had a public approval of over 35%. Here’s a link to a slideshow summary I presented at the ADC conference in Washington, D.C. in mid-October.

My first transportation wish for 2014: Hawaii needs a motorcycle helmet law. It’s a no brainer! Just read these few lines about the impact of injuries of motorcyclists without helmets: “The helmet-less are distinctive, says Dr. Lori Terryberry-Spohr: they suffer ‘diffuse’ internal bleeding and cell death across large areas. Such patients typically run up $1.3 million in direct medical costs. Fewer than a third work again. A study of helmet-less bikers admitted to one large hospital, cited by the Centers for Disease Control, found that taxpayers paid for 63% of their care.”

My second transportation wish for 2014: Hawaii gets an exemption from the Jones Act which artificially inflates the cost of living for all of us. BusinessWeek observes that “when large container ships filled with bicycles and sleeper sofas leave China for the U.S., they don’t stop in Hawaii to unload cargo bound for that state before continuing to Los Angeles or Seattle.” Unfortunately status quo politicians such as Hirono, Schatz and Hanabusa are strong supporters of the Jones Act. And fake energy solutions. They cost Hawaii dearly … expensive gas, expensive power, expensive groceries, and extra taxation on everything for the rail.  Other than that, Hawaii Democrats are all about support for the little guy ;)

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for 2014!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mayor Enrique Peñalosa: Why buses represent democracy in action

1998-2001 Bogota Mayor Enrique Peñalosa: "An advanced city is not one where even the poor use cars, but rather one where even the rich use public transport."

In this TED talk, the former mayor of Bogotá shares some of the tactics he used to change the system in the Colombian capital.

"Buses have great capacity. For example this system in Guanzhou is moving more people per hour than all subway lines in China, except one in Beijing, at a fraction of the cost."

Friday, December 6, 2013

Senator Schatz is Wrong about Wind Energy -- Part 2: Sample Responses

Most people dislike irresponsible calls for "improvement at any cost" although some accept cost-ineffective renewables. The quotes below are a sample of the responses I received to my AIKEA FOR HONOLULU No. 31.

Alexa: Thank you for the informative email. But I still do not know what we the poor residents can do to help ourselves and Hawaii from the increasing expense.

Patty: They surely are an eye sore.  Did not appreciate seeing them as I toured visiting friends around the island.

Teri H.: “No” to liquefied gas. At some point, someone has to have the courage to advocate and implement renewable energy.

Robert: 3 cents per kw, does that include the cost of Columbia river dams and lost salmon runs?
No such thing as a free lunch but you are right about distributed pv.

Greg W.: Tell them to come to South Point on the Big Island. Are they trying to finish off the Nene and the Io?

John D.: wind energy, in my opinion is better than solar, or at least compliments it. just note all of us who have blue water sailboats- sun by day, and wind by nite- at nite, the sun is gone, but the wind blows, continuing to give energy. i like that. i don't like the idea of huge turbines in my immediate neighborhood, but small individual ones like i mentioned, are fantastic... keeps the beer cold.

Thomas S.: What is wrong with a Babcock and Wilcox 300 MW nuclear plant?  The most ecologically sensitive plant and with power storage that will keep Hawaii lit a for a long time.
        Liquefied Natural Gas is replacing the Kewaunee, Wis. Nuclear Plant that my father helped build in mom, still gets 10 cent per KWH retail power out of that plant as of this moment.  (I checked her electric bill).

Bruce: I also agree with you that rooftop solar can make it on its own, without any state or federal tax credits, which are expected to expire in a couple of years.  We were fortunate to take advantage of the credits and our $50K system cost us just $17.5K.  It should pay for itself in 4 years.  Without tax credits, it would still pay for itself in 12 years and, because we purchased well-designed panels, I expect the lifetime to exceed 30 years.  We installed PV panels on our cabin in Colorado 20+ years ago, and they are still working fine...even being exposed to snow.

Patrick P: how about wind turbines, pv, and rain turbines on all erected light fixtures across the state?

Kaniu, Big Island: Mahalo nui Panos for the truth

Linda P.: Panos, we appreciate you!  Thank you for fighting the good fight and for keeping us informed.  Wish the good senator (and many others) had your intelligence, logic and values!

Valere: Thank you for always telling it like it is and for doing such credible research. I do disagree, however, about the PV systems because most of the panels are constructed in China and the mining of materials used in the panels is extremely toxic. Firefighters in California can refuse to fight a fire on building that has solar panels. And these projects survive on subsidies. It is fallacious to say that the tax benefits received by individuals and corporations are not subsidies. It's just a different name for the same thing.

S.V, Pukalani: I speak from looking hard at rooftop solar installations on Maui.  It is a wonderful and economic problem.  The only sticking point here is that Maui Electric has limited the number of penetration circuits allowed for home solar.  Reason - it impinges on their base load generation.

Tim D.: How about something simpler:  Cut demand by tax credits (and building code) for simple, non capital-intensive technologies like insulation, attic fans, and best-practices lighting (Say Energy Star Gold rating).  Mandate homes (single family & up to 4-plexes) convert to solar power hot water over the next decade.

Gordon K., Retired HECO: In November 2012 I attended the Hawaii Health Dept. hearing on Greenhouse Gas regulations.  Everybody was there--Health Dept., engineers, regulators, utilities and refineries, and environmentalists.
     I asked a question.  We live in a highrise apartment, and electricity costs us $200 per month.  I asked how much our electric bill would be after all of the solar and wind farms, rooftop solar, and undersea cables are built.  There was total silence.  A few people pointed up at the ceiling.  Afterward an engineer told me, "That was a novel question you asked.  No one ever asked that question before."
     In other words we all accepted the renewable energy without question or regard for cost.  Now that we're retired and living on pensions, cost matters a lot.  I intend to ask that question a lot more in the future.