Business

Waimea Town Meeting to Spotlight Residential Photovoltaic

July 31, 2018, 10:45 AM HST
* Updated July 31, 8:47 AM
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The Waimea Community Association will hold a Town Meeting to address both “the big picture” and specifics that are relevant to photovoltaic for residential electricity consumers at 5:15 p.m., Thursday, Aug.2, 2018, in the in Waimea School Cafeteria.

All three panelists have a major stake and experience in the electrical energy business. They include Jay Ignacio, president of HELCO; Marco Mangelsdorf, president of Provision Solar; and Roland Shackelford, vice president of Renewable Energy Services.

The high cost of residential electricity continues to consume many throughout North Hawai‘i and the state. What is the current status of residential alternative energy opportunities—how do they work, what’s the process, what can individuals, families and businesses do to minimize their electric bills or hedge future electric bills… and reduce their carbon footprint? And what’s the downside?

A recent Pacific Business News interview with Mangelsdorf “frames” the conversation regarding the status of solar-photo voltaic opportunities in Hawai’i now that the days of net energy metering are history.

“While the incentives to go solar PV are less now than in the past, and the challenges to connect to the grid can be patience-testing, the stars do align from so many different angles to encourage more and more solar going in across our isolated and vulnerable island chain,” said Mangelsdorf. “We’re still dangerously dependent on sources of energy coming from thousands of miles away. The trend line for the cost of oil goes nowhere but up despite the ostensible miracle of fracking and other enhanced extraction techniques. Successive governors, legislatures, mayors, the PUC, our electric utilities and consumers are all supportive of making our islands more energy independent, secure and renewable. I have absolutely no doubt that solar PV will continue to play a very large part in that quest.”

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The panel presentation will begin with Ignacio’s overview of HELCO’s power generation facilities—its transmission and distribution network, typical islandwide power consumption—where power is generated and where it is consumed, and how it fluctuates throughout the day. He will discuss fossil and non-fossil fuel sources and firm and intermittent sources, and how a residential customer can connect to the HELCO grid, or be independent of their grid. He also will comment on the utility’s responsibility to provide power and the oversight and requirements of the Public Utilities Commission regarding rates and services. Ignacio also will include insight into steps HELCO has taken to account for the deficit caused by not having access to 38 MW of geothermal power from PGV.

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Then Mangelsdorf and Shackelford will explain the services that their respective companies can provide to the residential customer, and the various programs that HELCO offers for grid connected systems, as well as those that are independent of the HELCO grid—dependent on battery storage. They will discuss the assessment process, preliminary design, construction cost estimate, permitting, funding options, construction time required, and dedication/interconnection to the HELCO grid. They also will talk about current tax credits, and the typical savings expected on the average residential monthly electrical bill and will touch on the future of alternative energy for Hawai’i.

Also on the subject of alternative energy opportunities, but separate from the panel discussion, will be a brief update on Parker Ranch’s new Paniolo Power partnership with Innergex Renewables USA and its collaborative response to a HELCO request for proposal (RFP) for a 30 MW PV project with battery storage backup.

As with all Waimea Town Meetings, the program will begin with a brief update on a valuable community not-for-profit. This month, it will be the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center (HWC), located in North Kohala, which is dedicated to protecting, conserving and aiding in the recovery of Hawai‘i’s native wildlife through hands-on treatment, research, training, science education and cultural programs.

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The HWC is the first organization of its kind exclusively for native Hawaiian wildlife and provides state-of-the-art care and rehabilitation to all species of native birds and bats from throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Unlike a zoo or preserve, the HWC focuses on treating and rehabilitating sick, injured and oiled wildlife for release back into the wild. In additional to wildlife care, the HWC also provides professional wildlife rescue and response training throughout the Pacific region as well as public education and outreach programs for students and visitors.

“The wonderfully unique animals that we work with have both a local, cultural importance as well as a profound global significance,” said HWC’s Linda Elliott. “Hawai‘i holds a great deal of the world’s biodiversity in its islands and it is our hope that the work we do and the stories we share will play a role in preventing the extinction of more native Hawaiian species.”

As always, WCA Town meetings include a public safety briefing by Waimea Community Policing.

Everyone is welcome to Waimea Town meetings and there is no charge to attend, though membership in the association is urged. Annual WCA membership is $15 for individuals and $25 for families, and as a not-for-profit 501(c)3, dues are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

For more information, go online, email Patti Cook at [email protected] or call her at (808-937-2833).

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