From THE PIPELINE
In order not to be outdone by California and New York, policymakers in Hawaii are joining the long march towards unreliable power grids.
Clarice Feldmann writes:
Personally and on a small scale, I tend to like Big Thinkers. My beloved maternal grandfather was one of them. For example, he built a large boat in his little back yard and then found when he was finished that he had no way of getting it out of there until a friendly neighbor with the right equipment helped him pull down a fence and remove it . They towed the boat to Lake Michigan, where it immediately sank, overloaded as it was Grandpa’s hand-made metal-framed pictures of his ten grandchildren.
But you don’t want people like that in public who decide on public policy. I have often made fun of the Big Thinkers in California, whose grandiose plans for controlling the climate are absolutely impractical – the name for them is “Central Planner”. But California isn’t the only state that has placed great thinkers in public positions, and unless things change, the beautiful islands of Hawaii will soon be threatened by power outages.
Unless an energy law is changed, Hawaiians may move around in outrigger canoes instead of their electric vehicles, keep cool with hand fans, and work with sunlight and starlight. Hawaii was the first state to mandate a full transition to renewable energy when its then governor put that mandate into effect in 2015. By September next year, the law stipulates that 100 percent of electricity sales must come from renewable energies.
AES Hawaii, the state’s last coal-fired power station – it provides 15 to 20 percent of the islands’ electricity – is preparing to shut down to comply with the law. The planned replacement measures included the Kapolei Energy Storage Facility, which is to be built by the state’s largest electricity supplier, Hawaiian Electric. Like Grandpa’s boat in his back yard, this plan encounters a number of obstacles, most notably reality. “If there isn’t enough solar, wind, or battery storage to replace the AES, HECO would have to use oil instead to charge things like the upcoming 185-megawatt Kapolei energy storage facility,” reported Pacific Business News.
However, it is not a question of “if”. The reality is that there isn’t enough wind, solar or battery storage to replace the AES system. Hawaiian Electric has made this clear in recent documents, indicating that the company cannot meet its renewable energy target (75 percent) for the second year (75 percent) for “more than a decade”. That means Hawaii Electric will soon be recharging its huge battery to replace its soon-to-be-closed coal-fired power station … with oil. In other words, Hawaiians will trade one fossil fuel (coal) for another, albeit a much more expensive one.
This revelation prompted PUC chairman Jay Griffin to complain about Hawaiians “going from cigarettes to crack.” He said, “Oil prices don’t have to be much higher for this to look like the biggest spike people have seen. And it’s not acceptable. We have to do better. “
How exactly can you do better if I’m brave enough to ask?
Of course, it is silly to allow central planners to switch from an efficient, reliable, and cheaper way of generating electricity to a more expensive, unreliable way by the near date, but as certain central planning is always a mistake, it is from the central point of view The mistake always lies elsewhere for planners and their proponents. Much like Stalinists who blame engineers for not meeting production quotas and ignore the fact that they have been denied basic production supplies.
With the finger pointing at full speed:
For its part, Hawaiian Electric says some project delays are due to “a slow approval process of obtaining models and information from potential developers that is often beyond HECO’s control”.
Of course, the Hawaiian PUC points back at the company.
Jay Griffin, chairman of the Hawaiian Public Utilities Commission, pointed out the company’s lack of urgency and foresight, but acknowledged that “Each of these projects must go through numerous steps, including government approvals / permits and technical reviews of the connection to the Power grid”. Network before they can go online. These require coordination between a wide range of stakeholders, including the Commission. “
Read the full article here.