Saturday, Dec. 02, 2023|
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getting a raw deal’
Why do our power poles fall over in high winds?
Do our homes fall over in 50 mph winds? No, so why are power poles engineered and constructed to be so flimsy? It defies any logic!
Power poles are parts of critical infrastructure, but their Micky Mouse engineering and construction means that they are expected to fail in high winds.
Apparently it’s cheaper for Hawaiian Electric to fix the ones that fall down than to construct power poles that can withstand reasonably high winds. Until Lahaina, that is.
Hawaiian Electric’s ratepayers are getting a raw deal. Not only do we have the most expensive electricity in the nation, we also have shoddy infrastructure.
So, where does the money go? Hawaiian Electric’s profit of $241 million in 2022 would have gone a long way toward building more resilient infrastructure, and would have saved lives.
Time for a public utility. Hawaiian Electric has been stealing from us.
A different approach to
My name is S. Amelia Kajiyama, and I’ll take you along my journey of learning and discovery of how I learned that Hawaii picked the wrong geothermal technology.
I grew up in lower Puna. I experienced the Puna Geothermal Venture well blowout in 1991. I remember hearing the loud noise, smelling sulfur gas, and listening to many friends’ and family’s stories about how they were affected by the blowout.
Being curious, I wondered if there was better geothermal. I came across a National Geographic article about Iceland’s Blue Lagoon Resort &Spa, which is right next to Svartsengi geothermal power plant. Tourists book months in advance to swim in Blue Lagoon, and their spa products are made using its water.
In university, I learned Iceland’s geology is most like Hawaii’s. Iceland has the world’s best geothermal technology. Iceland exports their technology around the world and is known for being respectful to people’s safety and cultural concerns.
New Zealand adopted Iceland’s geothermal technology in the 1970s. Maori approval is required to develop a geothermal plant.
In 2016, I went to Iceland. I toured the 303-megawatt Hellisheidi geothermal plant (world’s largest geothermal plant) and 100-megawatt Reykjanes geothermal plant, which are open to the public year-round. I experienced little to no smell and noise when I visited these plants.
I swam in the Blue Lagoon, and it was amazing. The tourists I talked to didn’t notice the nearby Svartsengi geothermal plant. Blue Lagoon began back in 1974 when an outflow pipe leaked. Best industrial accident I ever experienced!
I highly recommend a Hawaii delegation go to Iceland and see themselves. I would be more than happy to share what I have learned about Iceland geothermal.
Hawaii picked the wrong geothermal, but we can fix it.
S. Amelia Kajiyama
Hawaiian Paradise Park
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