Kenoi: Biodiesel Deal of No Benefit to Residents, County
by Erin Miller (West Hawaii Today) Aina Koa Pono’s biodiesel proposal isn’t a good deal for Hawaii County residents, Mayor Billy Kenoi said Monday, hours before the Public Utilities Commission was set to begin its first Big Island hearing on the subject.
…Aina Koa Pono and Hawaiian Electric Light Co., as well as HELCO’s sister company, Hawaiian Electric Co. on Oahu, negotiated a contract to provide 16 million gallons of locally produced biodiesel annually. HELCO and HEI took the proposed contract to the Public Utilities Commission in August for approval. The PUC planned a hearing for Monday evening in Hilo, and for 6 p.m. tonight at Kealakehe High School.
The exact figures to which HELCO and Aina Koa Pono agreed, for the cost of the biodiesel and the cost which would be passed along to HELCO ratepayers, have been redacted from the application. Kenoi said the proposal reportedly fixed the price of the biodiesel at roughly $200 per barrel, more than double the current, going rate for crude oil. The reasoning, Kenoi said, is based on projections that oil costs will skyrocket.
…He (Kenoi) questioned using Ka‘u as a test site for microwave catalytic depolymerization technology, which Aina Koa Pono proposes using, noting the technology has never been used in production scale operations. Other concerns include displacing cattle operations from about 10,000 acres in Ka‘u to grow the biomass crop to be turned into biodiesel and that Aina Koa Pono has not yet specified which crop it will use for the project. READ MORE