Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Musings: Giving Way to Good

Venus, bright as a UFO in the west and just an arms width from a golden crescent moon, gave way to Jupiter, burning like a yellow coal directly overhead, which gave way to clouds the color of a shiner, streaks of pink and a band of gold in the east.

Slowly, KIUC's reliance on fossil fuel is giving way to renewables, with groundbreaking planned today on a $40 million solar project that will allow our utility to burn 1.7 million fewer gallons of oil every year while keeping tons of emissions out of the air. And it might even save everyone a few bucks. 

Meanwhile, up in Wainiha, swaths of naupaka, heliotrope, spider lilies and other coastal landscaping are giving way to sand. That's right, the state Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands is finally making landowners give us back our beach under authority of Act 160.

In some places, as much as 20 feet of beach has been cleared. And when the beach is just 60 feet wide, well, that's significant. Now folks can actually walk that beach when there's big surf without fearing for their lives.

For example, this is a BEFORE picture of the beach in front of actor Pierce Brosnan's place, where an April 2011 post documented his long-term, systematic planting of the beach, replete with chicken shit and wood chips.
And here it is AFTER the state made him, and other landowners, get their vege off the public beach:
To give you an idea of the extent of encroachment along the stretch of beach near YMCA Camp Naue, this picture shows an area where one lot has been cleared, but the other hasn't yet come into compliance:
And yet another example of a cleaned lot next to one not yet cleaned:
Clean up is under way at this lot, where ironwoods were removed:
Unfortunately, Joe Brescia is still encroaching, but feel free to use his lawn chairs and hammock, since he's positioned them on the public beach:
Of course, the state will need to stay on it, since seeds are already sprouting:
But at least for now we have our beach back!
Big shout out to Caren Diamond, who proves once again that persistence, coupled with civility, intelligence, networking, scrupulous research, and a carefully executed lawsuit or two, can bring about positive change. 

If it weren't for people like Caren, Lucinda Pyles (her Oahu counterpart), Mina Morita, Harold Bronstein and a few key others — Rep. Derek Kawakami, who championed the bill's extension, and Sam Lemmo of OCCL for following through on enforcement — this problem would not have been addressed. We owe them a super-sized mahalo for devoting countless hours of their lives to protecting our beaches.


Anonymous said...

KIUC is probably using the $10.58 extra that they are charging non smart meters to fund their solar farm project.

Will the members see a decrease in their electricity bill? Probably not, in fact they might see it increase.

I am elated to see in the letters to the editor section of TGI; that the people of Kauai have opened their eyes.

All the people of Kauai's voices are important and needs to be heard. Let these career politicians and the status quo hear your voices in the ballot boxes.

This coming election we need to be heard. We spoke out an voted out a tyrant prosecutor an now we must do the same with these good ol boys and gals.

Anonymous said...

Well, according to a draft report prepared for the Hawaii DLNR back in 2004, it seems vegetation helps prevent beach erosion by trapping sand, etc. It specifically suggests that Naupaka be planted to prevent beach erosion. It states that "vegetated dunes trap windblown sand, store excess sand reserves, serve as natural
erosion buffers and create an elevated berm and dense root system that may protect against st
orm and high wave events."

Anonymous said...

A big Mahalo to everyone who takes their personal time and contributes to the public interest. You are the salt of the earth.

Thank yous goes out most to the private citizens who get involved.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Mahalo Caren!!!

Anonymous said...

To 9:11 AM,

How could KIUC be using the smart meter fee it hasn't even collected yet to pay for the solar farm?

This project will save each customer roughly $200 per year, depending on usage.

If you are an example of someone who has opened his/her eyes, we're in trouble.

Anonymous said...

Lets thank the real heroes - Pierce Brosnan and the rest of the Wainiha oceanfront owners - for doing what any soils engineer would recommend they do - plant vegetation on the beaches to prevent erosion.

Anonymous said...

Ask the residents that have smart meters if they are seeing a difference in their electricity bills worth noting.

The same thing being sai about the solar farm was said about the smart meters but people aren't seeing any difference.

The fact that this solar farm will save 1.7 million gallons of oil annually is great but the saving will not be passed down. KIUC is just growing its profits.

Estimates of 10-13 cents per kilowatt hr for solar and 23 cents for oil is not the same as what KIUC charges it's customers at 44.5 cents per kilowatt hr.

So if you are saying that the average customer is going to save 20 per month or 200 some a month, that means that KIUC will be charging 40 cents per kilowatt hr?

But in the article it is says that it can only provide energy for only 4000 homes. So what about the other 30k + homes? Are they going to see a rate adjustment? Or are they going to suffer the same fate a the non smart metered homes? Are the rest of the coop members going to be discrimated against?

What will the new rate adjustments be for all KIUC members that do not have solar or do not live next to a solar farm?

Anonymous said...

Pierce Brosnan is only a hero in the movies.

Jim Kelly said...

Just to clear up a couple of things here. KIUC's solar benefits all customers, not just the ones living near it. When we say it generates enough power for 4,000 homes that's to give an idea of the scope of it - it feeds into the grid for everyone's benefit, not 4,000 specific homes. It means KIUC can buy 1.7 million gallons less of oil every year, and those savings are spread among all members. As a coop, there is no "profit" - any money left after paying our bills goes back to the members. This is only one of several renewable projects in the works - if they're all up and running by the end of the decade everyone we should all see savings and we'll be burning a lot less oil.
Jim Kelly
KIUC Communications Manager

Anonymous said...

What's eroding is Pierce Brosnan's reputation...