RSS feed for entries


Too much power from the sun

In some ways, Hawaii has nice problems. The LATimes wants to know whether the rapid growth of solar power there is Too much of a good thing? “[P]ower generated by homeowners … exceeded output from power plants in some areas.”

photographer unknown:

Solar power in Hawaii

Energy from the sun is the only kind which could give us more power than we know what to do with, even if we got our act together and grabbed as much as we could.

But in Hawaii’s particular case, the problem is due to the fact that the utilities literally don’t know what to do with it. They’ve been hanging onto old fossilized business models and haven’t upgraded their distribution and storage facilities to handle their real business. Which should be load balancing.

We’re always going to need public utilities to wheel the power to where it’s needed, to store the excess, to stop spikes and surges and brownouts.

Instead of acknowledging their stupid lack of planning, what does Hawaiian Electric do? “[P]roposed a moratorium on solar installations, a plan that met with immediate outrage and was quickly withdrawn. But utilities are requiring expensive “interconnection” studies[.]”

The studies are needed to prevent surges, but the company should be the one paying since its lack of planning caused the problem. Instead, it’s doing everything it can to slow down energy independence.

Happily, they haven’t been as successful as they’d like. Yet, anyway.

The state has set a goal of obtaining 40% of its power from locally generated renewable sources by 2030. Already, the Big Island has jumped ahead and is producing 44% of its power from renewable sources, and it could hit 100% by the end of the decade.

Kauai announced earlier this month that it would build its third large-scale solar plant and expected to generate half the island’s power by the sun soon.

Go Hawaii!