Monday, August 3, 2009

Hawaiians Have Power to Initiate Geothermal Talks

Puna Geothermal Venture's Mike Kaleikini after today's show.
Today’s Energy Futures program on Hawaii Public Radio gave even more attention to the issue of geothermal expansion in the islands to reduce the state’s dependence on imported oil. We felt the issue deserved additional exposure after last week’s show, which included strong opposition to geothermal energy by at least one of the Native Hawaiian guests on the program.

Today’s guests also are Native Hawaiians – State Senator Kalani English, who lives in Hana, Maui and is vice chair of the Energy and Environment Committee, and Puna Geothermal Venture power plant manager Michael Kaleikini.

Our headline today tries to capture what we thought was the most significant comment during the show. Senator English suggested, as he has in a video posted on YouTube, that the Native Hawaiian community has the ability to advance discussions on geothermal energy development in the islands and thereby assert a fair amount of “power” (our word) in shaping the geothermal debate.

English – and Kaleikini, of course – see geothermal energy as a gift of the Pele deity, not a defiler of the volcano goddess in Hawaiian religion. We’ll let the listener decide how this all played out when the show’s audio is archived on the HPR website sometime on August 4th.

Next Week

Our focus will shift to solar energy in the August 10th edition of Energy Futures. Guests Mark Duda of the Hawaii Solar Energy Association and Riley Saito of SunPower, the company that has installed the state’s largest solar farm on Lanai, will answer listeners’ questions about recent legislation that favors solar installation from 5-6 pm on KIPO-FM (89.3 in Hawaii) and streamed on the Internet.

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