good news in KIUC emissions: trending down

KIUC emissions and power trends, click for larger

Never mind that KIUC's electricity generation is a long way from green. At least it's emissions have been moderating in recent years, following the switch to naptha as a fuel source.

Since 2002, power sold has grown by 9% while emissions have declined by 2% (via email).

Yeah! Oh, and it's not just the fuel switch that's making a difference. Our new Kapaia generator is much more efficient than our largest unit at Port Allen.

According to KIUC's data submitted with its IRP, Kapaia's naptha unit has a generating efficiency of 41% versus Port Allen's diesel unit at 24%. So far, so good.

Question is, how does KIUC get its emissions back down below 1990 levels, as mandated by Hawaii's new greenhouse gas cap legislation?

Problem number one: KIUC's load forecast shows energy demand in 2020 will be twice the 1990 demand.

Problem number two: KIUC's 2006 emissions per kWh were the same as in 1990, despite the improvement in recent years. In other words, our emissions rate had climbed from 0.71 tons of GWP in 1990 to .81 tons in 2001, before falling back to 0.71 tons in 2006.

This suggests that our efficiency and fuel improvements with existing fossil fuel generators may have already gone as far as they can go in reducing our emission rate.

Further improvements must come either from switching to renewable technologies or 'demand side management'-- a euphemism for cutting the waste in our current electricity usage to limit the pressure on future growth in energy supply.

The good news is, the Strategic Plan sets a target of 50% carbon-neutral energy generation by 2023...15 years from now.

KIUC is already developing green sources for up to 33% of our electricity, so 50% seems like a reasonable target.

Still, the 'big picture' mandate is for larger emissions reductions sooner, if the planet is to avoid the worst consequences of global warming.

Me? I'm pushing for 100% renewable as soon as possible.

Published by Ken on February 15th, 2008 tagged Energy, HI-specific

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