As the Honolulu forces gather to plunder the Big Island’s geothermal power via an expensive undersea cable system, local resistance is sounding off loudly. We the people of the Big Island of Hawai`i do not wish to put our people at great health risk to power our own grid. We certainly don’t wish to put ourselves in harm’s way for Oahu’s demands or the Governor’s re-election bid. If the State of Hawai`i intends to put our people in jeopardy to serve the utility monopoly, the Big Island residents will view this as an act of war on our island. This conflict will eclipse the Super Ferry resistance many times over.
Governor Abercrombie, clean the crud out of your ears and hear us, we are expressing our opposition week after week. The Governor is in a soundproof lobbyist bubble. When did the Big Island get all this extra energy?
Oahu is desperate to solve energy problems and energy demand issues. Fortunately there is plenty of sunshine, wind, and wave power available to meet these needs but the State has blinders on. There is nothing in this proposal to solve any problem we face. The Feed-in Tariff program will only add cost to any outside fuel we add to the grid. Thanks for looking out for us Public Utility Commission. They forget they work for us, not the utility from time to time.
The energy produced by geothermal is not cheap. You can build three nuclear power plants for the price of one geothermal plant. Guess who pays for that?
Geothermal power is not clean. They inject all kinds of toxic chemicals into the ground, thousands of gallons. The steam coming off the vents is not clean either. Puna Geothermal Venture sits in the middle of a residential district. NO geothermal plant in the world is sited so close to people’s homes, due to the negative impacts people may suffer from uncontrolled venting events or long term exposure to hydrogen sulfide. Here in Hawai`i, we live right next door and ignore the EPA guidelines. Logic: What people don’t know is hurting them, won’t hurt them.
Geothermal is not renewable. The holes they drill are only useful for so long and they need to drill another. Drilling the well is the most dangerous part of the operation.
This is the political reality; the Big Island of Hawai`i has less than 200,000 people living here. Oahu is the most densely populated city in the country with about one million people. If all the people on the Big Island join together to fight this, and Oahu voters still don’t care about the impacts to our island, we will lose this fight. We need all the neighbor islands and our friends on the mainland to join us in this struggle.
Hawai`i County Council and Mayor, look at each other and try to wrap your head around the idea that we need to unite on this. We cannot spare one Judas official in this battle. There will be no political advantage to turning your back on our residents. We are watching you too closely now and we will know what we see. If our local government won’t stand for the safety of the residents, it is a violation of the concept of social contract.
If the people of the Big Island and local government unite to fight this attempt to “drink our milk shake” regardless of the impact on our island and people, but the State still refuses to listen, we will view this as an act of war. There will be a reaction that will make all other political uprisings in the state’s recent history seem like nothing. Precedent has already been set on this. The biggest political protest in this state’s history was over geothermal exploration in the Puna district. Thousands protested, and hundreds were arrested for this cause. They still live here, and more have come to join the battle since then. Business knows how tricky it can be to operate in this state with the local resistance groups we have. Governor Abercrombie, you are playing with matches in a sulfur mine. Back off.
Hawaiian Electric wants to control the new green energy grid. They know their fuel is obsolete so they intend to sell their power plant on the Big Island and maintain the grid as their primary business. Of course this new green grid will need to be updated at the expense of the tax payers and utility customers of the state. Why do we allow them to control what we pay for? They want to make money off of our grid? That’s right you heard it, whose grid? OUR GRID! If we have to pay for improvements, it is ours. We demand democratic control of OUR GRID. What we have now is a collusion between the state and corporation and the Public Utility Commission is where the line between state and corporation have blurred. This in not how it is supposed to work in this country.
Call the Governor, your state Representative and Senator and tell them to listen to us. Tell them how big this mistake will be. If you live on a neighbor island, this is your fight too. They are coming for geothermal on Maui and wind farms on Molokai and Lanai. If you live in Honolulu, stand with us. There are better ways to get the energy you need without lining the pockets of so many as they did with the rail project.