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geothermal working group

Hawaii News — Geothermal Working Group Recommends Embracing The Resource

(Media release) — Hawai‘i Island is rich in resources to address our energy needs. All that is needed is cooperation and initiative to make the move to 100% renewable energy, agreed all the speakers at the unveiling of the Geothermal Working Group’s final report today at Mayor Billy Kenoi’s office.

“Hawai‘i County should aim and commit to being 100 percent renewable,” Mayor Kenoi said. “Federal, state, county, community, we’re all in this together. We all recognize our commitment to our children and future generations and the quality of life on Hawai‘i Island.”

At the urging of the Hawai‘i State Legislature – Sen. Gil Kahele and Rep. Mark Nakashima were present and gave remarks at the unveiling – Hawai‘i County convened the Geothermal Working Group to map assets, discuss, examine, and make proposals to maximize geothermal energy toward the goal of making Hawai‘i Island and the State of Hawai‘i the leaders in renewable energy.

“On this island we spend over a billion dollars every year to import oil for our energy needs here on the island,” said Wallace Ishibashi, co-chair of the Geothermal Working Group. “That money can stay right here to build a better community.”

The group’s mission was to evaluate geothermal energy as the primary source of baseload power on Hawai‘i Island – that is, power that is reliably generated at a constant level. Though all renewable energy technologies do and will continue to play a role in Hawai‘i’s energy future, many renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind are not viable candidates to supply baseload power because of the fluctuating nature of their production.

Geothermal, however, has proven a very stable supply of power. Puna Geothermal Ventures’ 30 MW plant provides between 25 and 30% of the electricity on Hawai‘i Island. “When the sun doesn’t shine, when the wind doesn’t blow, geothermal is there,” Ishibashi said.

Power demand on Hawai‘i Island ranges between 90 and 185 MW. Geothermal power potential on Hawai‘i Island has been estimated at between 500 and 700 megawatts, according to the report.

The report recommends that government play a more active role in the facilitation of geothermal development with a review of the permitting process, regulatory capabilities, and possible investment incentives. The report also suggests establishing a community advisory board to guide the use of geothermal royalties paid by geothermal energy producers.

Under state law, royalties paid by Hawai‘i Island geothermal energy producers are shared amongst the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (50%), the County of Hawai‘i (30%), and the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs (20%). The highest annual royalties to date were paid in 2009, a total of $3.1 million.

Mayor Kenoi spoke with Lt. Governor Brian Schatz shortly before the unveiling of the Working Group’s report, and he reported that both Governor Neil Abercrombie as well as the Lt. Governor reiterated their commitment to move forward, to remove barriers, to facilitate investment to maximize geothermal’s potential.
(Submitted by the Mayor Billy Kenoi’s Office.)


Hawaii farms take honors in worldwide coffee-of-the-year competition

Hawaii farms take honors in worldwide coffee-of-the-year competition


Three Big Island coffee farms are ranked among the top 10 in the Roasters Guild of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual Coffee of the Year international competition for 2012.

All Kau area coffee farms, the Hawaii winners are:

• The Rising Sun/Will and Grace Farms — farmers Will and Grace Tabios;

• Rusty’s Hawaiian — farmer Lorie Obra; and

• Alii Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee — farmers Francis and Trinidad Marques.

The other winning coffees come from farms in Honduras, Columbia and Ethiopia.

More than 250 coffee samples representing 26 countries vied in the prestigious competition — held last week in Long Beach, Calif. — to be recognized as the best specialty coffee from around the globe for the 2011-2012 season.

A panel of experienced coffee-cupping judges blindly evaluated the sensory attributes of each coffee and issued scores for fragrance and aroma, taste, flavor, acidity, aftertaste and body.

In a news release issued by the Kau Coffee Festival’s organizers, Rusty’s Obra said: “This is a special day at Rusty's Hawaiian Coffee.” She adds, “It was my late husband Rusty's vision that Kau would become one of the world’s top coffee-producing origins. Seeing three Kau coffees among the Coffees of the Year winners continues to keep his legacy and vision alive. This victory is for Rusty, for Kau, for Hawaii and the USA.”

Alii Hawaiian Hula Hands’ Trinidad Marques linked the farm’s success to a sacred source. “It’s the spiritual connection to the aina (land). As Hawaiians, the aina and nature speak to us. I knew one day we would make it. It feels great to see the results of our perseverance.”

The coffees and the growers will be celebrated at the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s 24th annual Expo in Portland, Ore., set for April 18-22 and again at the fourth annual Kau Coffee Festival in Pahala on the Big Island, May 12.

Festival organizer Chris Manfredi of Kau Farm and Ranch Co., said: “I’m again so pleased and proud of all the Kau growers.” He added, “Their dedication, combined passion and willingness to work together make Kau a very special place and Kau coffee exceptional.”

Makuu Farmer's Market Now Open

Just about every Sunday, rain or shine around a thousand or more people show up to this Farmers Market.On the highway right before Pahoa, coming from Keauau, is the Makuu Farmer's Market, a huge Hawaiian Homeland farmers market with all the fixings, and happy people in rainboots as well. With some of the best local fruits and veggies on the Island, awesome food court area,(Greek, Indian, South American, Mexican Thai and Local food) live music, shaded spots for people to sit and much more.It's real easy to spend all of your money up front, so make sure you walk around a little and save a little money for the booths in the back.


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