Archive for the 'HI-specific' 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

another ooops story: of road salt and watersheds

road salt impacts

My grandots in snow country will love this one! It's a real howler about our "system blindness". And about how un-sustainability means doing all the wrong things.

Wudja believe all that road salt we spread for "safety" purposes actually ends up somewhere our groundwater and streams. (You mean there is no "away" place we can throw this stuff?) Duh!

Yet, it took these new studies from Toronto and Minneapolis to make us realize road salt is a huge mistake (via treehugger).

Nor is this just about the impacts on aquatic life and drinking water. It's also about destroying roads, shortening the life of cars, and killing vegetation. WTF?

Published by Ken on March 5th, 2010 tagged Best Practices, Ecosystems Research, Island Ecosystems, Systems Thinking | 1 Comment »

think “one pound per mile”: on emissions reduction priorities

1lb emissions

Embedding balanced thinking in every day life is an essential part of the "resource literacy" we're promoting, right?

So, sustainability thinking involves much broader awareness of emissions 'metrics' the numbers in this chart. Wanna know the relative emissions impacts of, say, plastic bags versus driving. Here ya go!

Let's see: if we use an average of one plastic bag a day, we could go two weeks before accumulating the equivalent of one pound of emissions.

Now, perhaps if we all held in our minds the "one mile, one pound" metric associated with our vehicles, we might work harder to reduce our miles.

Published by Ken on August 19th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Systems Thinking | Comments Off

more HCA video: Ramsey Taum says keep it REAL


There are many solid reasons to watch this presentation at last week's Hawaii Conservation Alliance conference, especially including where Ramsey Taum ends up after a marvelous romp through native insights on sustainability.

Taum opens with this quote from Marcel Proust: ""The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Then he adds, "Sustainability acknowledges the systemic relationships between activities and entities that at first glance may not reveal their connectivity." Yeah, try them new 'eyes'!

Taum's presentation is all about the special sustainability challenges in these islands, sitting on the mountaintops of the "Blue Continent".

Published by Ken on August 12th, 2009 tagged HI-specific, Sustainability Science | 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 »

sustainability ain’t philanthropy: Werbach on corporate strategy

adam werbach

Sustainability is not about "doing good" or "protecting the environment", says Adam Werbach, and corporations must integrate sustainability into their core business strategies (via SFS).

"Yes, it's important to reduce waste and toxins in a company to protect our diminishing natural resources", says Werbach.

Still, "an environmental strategy is not enough to sustain most businesses for the long haul", says Werbach, and "too often, a 'sustainability strategy' is simply an environmental strategy with a new name."

Instead, Werbach urges business to focus on a "strategy for sustainability", and underscores the difference with three telltales. A company has a strategy for sustainability when it:

Published by Ken on August 1st, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Systems Thinking | Comments Off

Mayor as playuh: Kauai’s lineman for county sustainability

kauai mayor

Pinch me! For the first time, our island's political leadership is stepping up to the sustainability challenge, and I'm feeling better about our chances with this big guy up front.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho isn't just mouthing the "S" word...he's serious about preparing Kauai for the sustainability transition coming down on his watch.

Carvalho is launching a series of newspaper columns on sustainability and is learning to fold-in the sustainability theme with his daily "stories" as he moves from appearance to appearance.

Ya gotta like Carvalho’s chances as a cheerleader for the behavior changes that are integral to these transition times.

Published by Ken on July 26th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off

Hawaii climate change funds escape guv veto

HI climate change

Bravo for state legislators who last week overrode Governor Lingles' veto of SB266!

So, there will be a climate change task force to study the potential impacts of rising sea levels, eroding coast lines, ocean acidification, fiercer storms, and other expected affects of climate change, and to suggest response strategies...all funded with $100,000 a year to be diverted from the state tourism fund (via gristmill).

Grist's Jonathan Hiskes notes that the fed’s climate change report forecasted severe effects on U.S. Pacific islands if climate change continues unchecked.

Lingle had argued that the state's emissions reduction task force was already addressing climate change.

Published by Ken on July 20th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Climate Change | Comments Off

runup to Copenhagen: agreement on planes and boats?

ships planes on copenhagen agenda

Forgive yourself if the rush of high-level pre-Copenhagen gatherings leaves you befuddled about the prospects for an achievable climate change deal to supersede Kyoto. We just hope it all works out, right?

Now, Gordon Brown has called for $100B annually from developed nations to help developing world 'leapfrog' to cleaner energy technologies, with funding from a new tariff on airline and shipping industries (which were excluded from Kyoto). Kewl! (via newscientist).

Guess that means emissions from flying and shipping would become the 'cash cow' for the green fund, rather than coming under the umbrella of national emissions targets. Double kewl!

Published by Ken on July 20th, 2009 tagged CO2 Emissions, Climate Change | Comments Off

Maui beach scientist’s swan song: retreat and relocate

Zoe Norcross Nu`u, climate specialist

As Zoe Nu`u leaves the UH's research program on sea level rise, where she has focused on Maui's beach erosion, Rotarians in Kihei/Wailea got to hear a parting shot about what's coming.

We're already seeing ocean inundation in low-lying areas, says Nu`u, and it may only be a few decades before rising seas will necessitate 'fortification' of many beach areas.

Longer term, says Nu`u, Hawaii must plan for retreat and relocation.

Nu'u spoke to the Rotary Club of Kihei-Wailea on July 8th, 2009.

Zoe Norcross Nu'u Rotary Club Talk on Vimeo.

Published by Ken on July 18th, 2009 tagged Adaptation, Island Vulnerabilities | Comments Off

unsustainability = not thinking of the whole system

kalo connection

While being interviewed for a forthcoming Ode article to feature Hawaii's influence on Obama and his thinkng about sustainability, I mentioned that, in the Hawaiian patheon, the `aina ("nature") is a sibling.

The interviewer chuckled, as if this was a 'cute' concept.

I'm guessing that the interviewer missed the message: our 'modern' thinking has led to a loss of consciousness about our place as a part of natue.

As John R. Ehrenfeld stressed in his marvelous presentation at Delft last April, we cannot even see that our 'consumption' has become a form of addiction that is destroying nature itself.

Published by Ken on July 15th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off

where we’re headed: top minds on past/future perspectives

speakers sterling + orlov

The best guy to envisage the near future gave the closing keynote at Reboot's "Practical Visionaries" conference last month, and now you can watch Bruce Sterling's fascinating 40 minute presentation. Kewl!

And the best guy to remind us about the lessons of the near past gave a marvelous romping speech in Dublin last month, and now you can watch Dmitry Orlov draw parallels between the demise of the Soviet Union and America's current state of affairs. Kewl.2!

Either way, our outlook is so screwy that these views just might help you get your mind around the grimness of what’s coming…

Published by Ken on July 13th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Systems Thinking | Comments Off

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

Lihue sustainability: AIA submits planning recommendations

lihue mill artist conception

Recall the AIA confab last Fall that focused on sustainability in Lihue's Development Plan? Well, the SDAT team has just filed their recommendations, and they're worth a look (via KPAA).

"Focus on long-term sustainability", "meet uncertainties head-on", and "consider a pause on development activity until the plan is fully worked out" are three of their top recommendations. Oh, and, “stick with it”, once adopted. Kewl!

One especially intriguing suggestion focuses on the abandoned Lihue Mill, which the planners think might perform a great "gathering" function if it were redeveloped as a microbusiness incubator and food distribution center (as illustrated).

Published by Ken on July 7th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | 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

indigi-new economy: Adamson on sustainability and hard times

rebecca adamson

"We will find abundance through hard times when we find each other", says First Nation’s Rebecca Adamson.

"Abundance comes not from stuff…An indigenous system is based on prosperity, creation, kinship, and a sense of enough-ness. It is designed for sharing."

Adamson's wisdom flows through a marvelous interview by Sarah Van Gelder in the "New Economy" issue of Yes!

"Fear makes scarcity self-fulfilling. The more fearful, the more you go out and buy. And pretty soon you run out of money and go into debt, and pretty soon the planet runs out of natural resources and places to put all the garbage."

Published by Ken on June 17th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off