Tuesday, June 28, 2011


STRIKE THREE?: What's really unfortunate about the underhanded, secretive and sleazy way Kaua`i Island Utilities Co-op (KIUC) and their partners in corruption Free Flow Partners (FFP) have gone about hydroelectric development is that it will inevitably delay- if not kill- immanent development of the cheapest, most dependable of carbon-free energy systems.

Add to that the fact that, because of the unique position of Kaua`i as the world capitol of various endangered bird species, there will never be large scale wind farms on the island and even backyard windmills may eventually be banned, once the county catches on to the fact that our "probation" with the feds- as a result of a settlement federal suit- probably requires us to severely restrict, if not ban, them too without prohibitively costly "take permits."

And with home windmills gone that leaves roof-top solar as the last, best bet to reverse the "we sell you electricity" business model KIUC seems to be hell-bent on perpetuating as if it were an investor based utility.

But today any hope for making it easy to put photovoltaic systems on people's homes took a kick in the nuts when Governor Neil Abercrombie put HB 1520 on the "Intent to Veto" list.

In April, as the bill went to conference committee, we detailed a decade long fight, first with the solar installation firms and currently with the utility companies to pass a bill requiring on-bill financing for home solar electric systems.

And even though the bill was watered down further in committee- changing the wording from directing the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to "consider implementing an on-bill financing program for residential electric utility customers" to "investigate an On-bill Financing Program (Program),"- and passed the legislature it appears on today's list.

Strangely it is one of a very few bills on the potential veto list for which a reason hasn't been given, as yet.

But a veto isn’t certain and you can call Abercrombie at 808-586-0034 or write him him using a handy-dandy form (http://hawaii.gov/gov/contact/contact-gov) and urge him to get the ball rolling on home solar generation with on-bill financing.

1 comment:

manaranger said...

I wonder why KIUC can't take the $350M they feel they must spend on the hydroelectric generation projects and, instead, put a 3KW photovoltaic array on every roof? At $20K (before tax credits) per installation that would provide up to 50+ Megawatts on the grid during the day. How much fossil fuel would that offset? I realize this form of power generation varies but, over all, it would sure go a long way towards the goal of 50% renewable.