Energy efficiency and least-cost planning : the best way to save money and reduce energy use in Hawaii (01/11/1990)

Mowris, Robert J.
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If the geothermal resource on the Big Island of Hawaii is developed as planned, the Wao Kele '0 Puna rainforest will be destroyed, seriously damaging U.S. credibility in its efforts to halt rainforest destruction worldwide. It would be tragic for this to happen, since on a least-cost basis, the geothermal project does not make economic sense. Improving energy efficiency in Hawaii over the next ten years can reduce electricity demand by almost 50% at an average cost of less than 4 kWh. This is almost 5 times less than the estimated 30-year levelized cost of providing power from the proposed geothermal project and accompanying undersea cable. The "bottom line" is that the geothermal project is risky, very expensive to build and maintain, and comes with no guarantees. On the other hand, a state-wide energy efficiency program using proven technology, will free up more power than the geothermal project could ever provide, will save Hawaiian ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars, and will buy precious time to develop solar and wind power over the next 10-20 years. The choice is simple, but political and legislative action is required. Hawaii must move forward and develop a least-cost electricity planning process to ensure that all available options for meeting new electricity demand are assessed before investing in new supply. Utility profit-making rules have to be rewritten to reward utilities for investing inthe energy efficiency of their customers, and building energy standards must be implemented and enforced. If new sources of electricity supply are required, then state energy planners must make every effort to develop solar and wind power, and improve the efficiency of electricity generation from sugar cane bagasse, since all of these technologies are currently cheaper than geothermal power. All available resource options must be seriously evaluated on an economic basis before plans for the geothermal project go any further.
opposition, brochures, Kahaulea, Kilauea, Hawaii
Mowriss RJ. 1990-1-11. Energy Efficiency and Least-Cost Planning: The Best Way To Save Money and Reduce Energy Use In Hawaii. Berkeley, California: Robert J. Mowris, Professional Engineer, California Licence Number 26191.
80 pages
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