October 1999 Home   Newsletters

December, 1999

January 2000

Annual General Membership Meeting
President's Message - Our Planning Meeting (Grace Furukawa)
New Members / Contributions
Planning Committee Report
Transportation - Here We Are Again! (Arlene Ellis)
Energy for the Millennium Conference (Grace Furukawa)
Waahila Powerline Issue Is Due to Thinking Small (Grace Furukawa)

Energy for the Millennium Conference

At least six League members attended the Energy for the Millennium Conference sponsored by Life of Land on November 5 and 6th, and received an education they didn't know they needed. It would be impossible to cover all the areas, technical and political, that were discussed. The featured speaker, Dr. Donald Aitkin, explained how use of solar panels is rapidly developing and how it is now possible to fill all the energy needs in offices and homes if they are designed to make use of all of natures available energy. What was the most astounding about this technology is the fact that it is economically feasible, even cheaper than our current dependence on fossil fuels, and Aitkin had the facts to prove it.

Not only is this technology possible but it is in use in various cities in California and elsewhere because far-sighted political activity encouraged its implementation. If we continue to build more power plants, lay lines and build towers we will be dependent on the current, outdated technology into 2020s. The building and maintenance of these lines will use the available funding necessary to implement the newer technology, which in the long run could save enormous amounts of that available funding.

The conference speakers also stressed how Hawaii is blessed with, not only an abundance of sunlight, but also with other natural forms of energy - geother mal, wind, begasse or garbage (and who doesn't have plenty of that) and seawater conversion possibilities. These other forms of alternate energy may or may not be feasible or palatable to the community.

I was amazed to know that geothermal energy supplies 27% of the Big Islands energy, but that technology certainly has its drawbacks. Windmill turbines take up a great deal of land (expensive in Hawaii) and are a visual blight. Solar energy seems to be Hawaii's best choice, if we can hold off the expansion of power companies. HECO can't tell us if the proposed 138kv lines are really necessary when we have two lines already and anything that is old can be repaired less expensively than the proposed project. At the same time new forms of energy sources are explored and implemented.

The Conference stressed the role of the various organizations dedicated to energy conservation and the future, the importance of networking, and the role government must play in encouraging new technology.

Grace Furukawa
October 1999 Home   Newsletters January 2000