Archive for the 'Energy' Category

(Chronologically Listed)

Kauai’s power keeps getting greener

yale students on Kauai

Great news from Kauai's local electric co-op, KIUC, with the the release of its latest carbon emissions data: we're still trending down!

This chart shows that KIUC's emissions are falling from over 1.5 pounds of CO2 equivalents per kilowatt-hour in 2003 to just over 1.4 pounds last year.

These figures are based on emissions data provided by Brad Rockwell, manager of KIUC's generating facilities, with whom I spent a fascinating morning last week.

Remarkably, total electricity sold last year was (416 GWh) about the same as in 2003 (414 GWh), and down significantly from the 2007 peak (448 GWh), so we get the benefit of slack demand plus cleaner generation.

Published by Ken on May 8th, 2011 tagged Energy | Comments Off

Turn up the volume: continuing conversation about Kauai’s energy futures

conversdation about KIUC

In case ya missed it, here's a podcast of KIUC's CEO Randy Hee and me on Doug Carlson's "Energy Futures" HPR radio show.

This was from September 2009.

I pushed "ramping up" our conversion to renewables (21:45), highlighted the demand destruction by Kauai customers (26:15) and the integration of sustainability challenges in energy, transport, food, water and building (30:30).

I also noted the "smart money" now going into efficiency (36:50), and the food-vs-fuel land issue on Kauai (45:30).

Good fun!

We've been missing Randy around KIUC these past months, yet the issues and challenges remain the same.

Published by Ken on February 6th, 2011 tagged Community Initiatives, Energy, Island Vulnerabilities | Comments Off

will KIUC listen to McKinsey? on energy efficiency strategy

McKinsey report

McKinsey unleashed another blockbuster on energy efficiency clearly showing how to get the first 30% of cost-savings and emissions-reductions, concurrently with developing new green energy sources (via greeninc).

The upshot would be 23% less energy demand by 2020, and trillions not needed for new energy generation.

Meanwhile, KIUC is betting against any such thing, assuming instead that energy demand will continue to grow fast (because efficiency won't work), and so we must soon add another fossil fuel generator (because green energy is unreliable).

We've noted many flaws in KIUC's plans, and next Tuesday evening you can see their business-as-usual (BAU) approach in action.

Published by Ken on August 1st, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Energy | 1 Comment »

King Coal has no clothes: don’t bow down on climate change

big coal

What's up with "Big Coal" marauding through Congress as if it's a stuck pig? The concessions wrung from the House were enough to gut the “climate change” bill's effectiveness, and now their Senate lobbying sounds like "life or death" (via wbcd).

"The idea that coal lobbyists are out there complaining that they need more is just appalling, because they already got so much" says Friends of the Earth's Nick Berning.

Fact is, we (and other nations) must get off coal if we've got a shot at achieving the required near-term global emissions reductions. So why is Congress so susceptible to the "stuck pig" thang?

Published by Ken on July 13th, 2009 tagged CO2 Emissions, Climate Change, Energy | Comments Off

KIUC forecast update: on cooking the numbers

KIUC forecast update

You're anxious to know what's in KIUC's updated Equity Management Plan, right? You want to know how rate increases and investment in renewables will impact our coop's financials in the years ahead, right?

Good luck! Although it was approved at the Board's April meeting, this document is still not available on the KIUC website.

Good news! It is available as an appendix to KIUC's request to the PUC for a rate increase...though it's not easy to get (go to this PUC Documents page and search for 2009-0050, then click on Volume I of the Verification Exhibits and go to page 315...whew!)

Published by Ken on July 7th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Energy | 2 Comments »

Abercrombie to KIUC: face up to climate change

abercrombie at KIUC

Sheesh, it's only been 18 months since Councilmember Jay Furfaro interrupted my speech to the Filipino Chamber of Commerce on Kauai's sustainability challenges with his own rant about the uncertainties of climate change and the need to proceed with caution.

And it was only last week that The Garden Island published a puff piece on KUIC's lobbying on behalf of "Big Coal" against the climate change bill now working its way through Congress

So, it was great to see this morning's headline with our Congressman, Neil Abercrombe (the apparent front-runner in next year's governor race) lecturing the KIUC board on how they must "face up to the question of climate change".

Published by Ken on July 1st, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Energy | Comments Off

ebike love.2: on days without cycling

stokes ebikin'

Back to e-bikin' (yeah), after Bionx sent me a replacement wheel under warranty and suddenly the days are fun again. Bob Stehlik at Blue Planet Surf and Bionic Wheels was super at expediting the exchange (mahalo!).

Oh, and, Stehlik's got more ebikes on Oahu or can put one together for ya...if you're ready to step up your own cycling.

Mine is built by Sun (EZ-Sport CX) and powered with BionX (350 watt hub motor). Stehlik

Going a few weeks without cycling is one of the toughest things I've done, and I'm surprised at how depressing the car-only option really is.

Published by Ken on July 1st, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Energy | Comments Off

faster is better: on energy pathways to economic recovery

next 10 energy pathways

"The faster and farther California can improve energy efficiency, while accelerating deployment of renewable energy, the faster the state economy will grow and create jobs", says a new report on "Energy Pathways" by Berkeley economist, David Roland-Holst (via next10).

If you think this sounds like greener-sooner-cheaper, you'd be right. And if you think the alternative "portends ever greater reliance on out-of-state fuel sources, and therefore greater exposure to fuel price volatility", you'd also be right.

Just don't tell KIUC, which recently joined "Big Coal" lobbying in DC to bash climate change legislation on the pretext of keeping energy prices down*.

Published by Ken on June 19th, 2009 tagged Climate Change, Energy | Comments Off

Kauai not alone in plan for unneeded generating capacity

kauai kWh trend

Actually, says Gayle the Actuary, "at this time, it is not entirely clear that we need any new electrical production capacity" (via oildrum).

Gayle reports that, "since mid 2008, the use of electricity in the US has been decreasing, but electric utilities made plans for new capacity, as if demand would be increasing. A similar situation is being reported around the world."

Fact is, this is huge news, since worldwide electricity use has be rising continuously since records began in 1945.

The IEA forecast 3.1% AAGR through 2015, yet actual growth last year was 2.5%, and is projected at -3.5% this year.

Published by Ken on May 31st, 2009 tagged Energy, HI-specific | 1 Comment »

KIUC’s unbelievable load forecast (Part III): on sustainability

From a sustainability perspective, each KIUC decision must meet three tests.

First, is it SMART: Does it account for peak oil?

Second, is it SAFE: Does it achieve the required emissions reductions to avoid catastrophic climate change?

Third, is it FAIR: Does it promote equitable access to resources?

A quick assessment of KIUC's "GenX" proposal suggests that it only partially meets the first test, is not likely to meet the second, and major questions remain regarding the third.

Here's why. "GenX" uses fossil-fuels, so its purchase would actually move us away from oil-independence in the short run. That’s a show-stopper, right?

Published by Ken on May 27th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Energy | 1 Comment »

KIUC’s unbelievable load forecast (Part II): on false choices

flawed forecast

KIUC is sitting on a consultant's forecast that says our morning peak load will need new generating capacity by 2013.

Accordingly, KIUC is now on a fast track to purchase a $75 million 35MW fossil fuel generator, called GenX, to be sited in Kapaia.

...Which is why KIUC lobbied against the legislative moratorium on new fossil fuel plants.

Yet, why did KIUC unquestioningly accept the consultants forecast? And how did fossil fuels emerge as the top candidate?

One might expect KIUC to pull out all stops to avoid any additional fossil fuel reliance, and several alternative strategies come readily to mind.

Published by Ken on May 26th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Energy | 1 Comment »

KIUC’s unbelievable load forecast (Part I): on unthinkable acts

going backward

Still haven't seen KIUC’s Energy Management Plan (EMP), just adopted despite opposition by Ben Sullivan in his first KIUC Director’s meeting. (Yeah! Ahh!).

Sadly, the BAU boyz (business-as-usual) 'freight train' had a full head of steam before Sullivan came aboard.

Worse, KIUC's plans could lock us into energy choices that move us in the wrong direction.

Sure, the Strategic Plan talks about transitioning to 'green' energy, yet KIUC’s first major expenditure will be for another fossil fuel plant. Yikes!

This prospect should be unthinkable, yet the BAU framework produced this decision...and we’ll need a sustainability framework to produce dramatically different decisions.

Published by Ken on May 26th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Energy | 1 Comment »

can we fix sustainability if “sacrifice” is unacceptable?

societal collapse

We will not "take preemptive action to mitigate the consequences" of our unsustainable industrialization, nor will we "choose to modify voluntarily our distorted, cornucopian worldview and our dysfunctional, detritovoric resource utilization behavior" we're headed for "societal collapse", says Chris Clugston (via oildrum).

Yet, don't worry: "We will be able to defer the onset of our Societal Collapse until a permanent shortage or disruption in the supply of a critical nonrenewable natural resource permanently disenables our industrial mosaic" says Clugston.

Clugston recommends preparation strategies "for those who believe that survival probabilities and living standards during and after Societal Collapse can be optimized".

Published by Ken on May 19th, 2009 tagged Climate Change, Energy | Comments Off

100 days to sustainability vision: Obama’s the ‘green’ FDR

obama 180

Three "game-changing accomplishments" in his first 100 days oughta get Obama some kind of historical recognition all by itself, says Joe Romm (via worldchanging)

Citing the "green stimulus", the first "sustainable budget" in U.S. history, and the "regulatory breakthrough" on carbon pollution, Romm claims Obama is “remaking the country through his positive vision”…”the first President since FDR to do so."

Calling Obama "the first president in history to articulate both the why and how of the sustainable vision -- and to actively, indeed aggressively, pursue its enactment", Romm calls these out-of-the-shute accomplishments "an unprecedented reversal of decades of unsustainable national policy."

Published by Ken on April 29th, 2009 tagged Climate Change, Energy | Comments Off

on resolving food and energy sustainability challenges together

food and energy

Feeding ourselves turns out to be a much bigger deal than we may have thought, if only because it's not just about food.

We know that everything's connected, and we cannot talk about food without also talking about energy...and transport...and name only the biggest 'elephants' in our ecological footprint.

Of course, it takes lots of energy to grow, process and distribute our food, and we wouldn't want to copy this wasteful food system as we reinvent our local food chain.

So, we gotta think about food and energy together...which is what makes Hawaii’s proposed Food & Energy Authority attractive.

Published by Ken on February 10th, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Energy, Food | 1 Comment »

social networking on Kauai energy: this ning’s 4U

kauai energy ning site

Few places stand alone in the energy world, yet Kauai must and can.

Join with other Kauaians now focused on our island's energy future.

Thus begins the new ning site on Kauai Energy I'm helping launch for islanders to engage with our sustainability challenges in a more robust way.

Ning's 'social networking' tools enable anyone to access and contribute to this exploration at any time.

First up: the KIUC election of 3 new Board members in the mail-in balloting that will take place in March, and news that Ben Sullivan has won nomination by the KIUC Board to stand for election.

Published by Ken on January 20th, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Energy | Comments Off

Stanford tackles next revolution with new energy institute

global energy

Something there is about oil company and hedge fund money that wants it to go green...or so it seems down on "the Farm".

Stanford yesterday announced the creation of a $100 million energy-research institute that will house a new sustainable-energy research center. And the donors are: former execs at an oil company and a hedge fund. Kewl! (via greeninc)

Already, Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project, is researching energy technologies from fuel cells to carbon capture and storage.

Now, Lynn Orr, who heads GCEP, will direct Stanford’s new Precourt Institute for Energy, which will also house the new TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy.

Published by Ken on January 13th, 2009 tagged Energy, Sustainability Science | Comments Off

tax credits for retrofits: bailout helps EVs

EV components

You noticed that tax credit for EVs added to the bailout bill last October to ensure its passage? No, neither did I.

Yet there it is: $2,500-$7,500 per vehicle, with $417 for each kWh of battery pack capacity in excess of 4 kWh.

So we could get a refund for most of the cost of an EV conversion, right? Wot are we waiting for?

Andy Grove says don't wait. "The ramp will be too slow, if we rely fully on new vehicle purchases". To get the needed penetration and reduce oil demand, we gotta retrofit the current car fleet (via greeninc).

Published by Ken on December 22nd, 2008 tagged Energy, Transport | Comments Off

Obama’s got a brand new bag: on finessing the climate fiasco


America may be starting late, yet the EU's failed will in Poznan suggests that leadership on climate change is up for grabs.

Please, Mr. President-Elect: Grab it!

Perhaps we can leapfrog to the head of the pack, here, and catalize a global agreement that'll get'r done.

Just so, the editorial at New Scientist notes that "the politics of climate change has been turned on its head. The old villain, the US, is our best hope - and a good one, too, because Barack Obama is serious."

Can you say Chu (as in ‘super-grid’) and Holdren (as in ‘global climate disruption’)? Great start!

Published by Ken on December 21st, 2008 tagged Climate Change, Energy | Comments Off

on district energy systems: the neighborhood DIY model

sunnyside energy

Ya got old boilers in the school, skyrocketing home utility bills, and that climate thang hanging over yer head...wot's a low income neighborhood to do?

Build yer own solar-powered geothermal heat pump, that's what the Sunnyside neighborhood in Portland is doing (via sightline).

See, it all started when some students got together to figure out what they could do about global warming.

Then they discovered that "district energy systems" have been implemented throughout Europe, and they decided to replicate this model for small-scale energy systems to provide space heat and hot water for single family homes in the US. Then, the city got involved.

Published by Ken on December 18th, 2008 tagged Community Initiatives, Energy | Comments Off