On Top of the Aloha Beat BLOG


Hello out there - we're trying to go green!

While the governor of Hawaii is promoting Green legislature, the county of Kauai is still dragging its feet. A property owner in Wailua, the mountain area just above Kapaa,  hangs poised to run the island’s first Skystream 3.7 residential windmill, which he and other community members say they want in order to cut their electric bills and “go green” at home. Kauai has one of the most expensive electical costs in the entire US and many folks here would prefer to generate their own power. With current technology however, there is a still about a seven year ROI.

Kaua‘i Electric installed a 1.8-megawatt renewable-energy system Monday at the Wailua Homesteads agricultural subdivision, but the county electrical inspector still needs to sign off on it. The owner first submitted his permit package to the county Planning Department on Sept. 5. After three months of department-hopping for approvals, the county granted his request to install the windmill.

A final inspection of the project is scheduled for today. The system must have its final sign off before Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative says it can schedule a site visit and process the paperwork necessary to install a net metering system — a process that generally takes one to two weeks. The net metering system  allows residents using solar, wind or hydropower to plug into the local grid and literally spin their electric meters backward. It measures imported and exported power. For a wind turbine, the local electric utility would supply power when the wind fails to blow and let residents sell excess energy back when conditions are ripe.

The owner of this rural property has estimated that just 72 hours of 12 mph wind would produce 100 kilowatts and save him roughly $40 per month. But it takes about a year of data to make reliable predictions, he said.

An unclear county process has snared residents  who want to use wind turbines for crop irrigation
Kaua‘i Electric has a warehouse in Kapa‘a that houses the state’s largest inventory of Skystream systems, and until the county gets its act together, the Skystream systems will just sit and gather dust.

Despite the fact that the owner of Kauai Electric get up to 25 calls a week for his alternative energy systems, until our wonderful county gets its act together, embarking down this green road stills takes a ton of patience, and many owners are not willing to invest the time and money until the county figures things out in terms of permits and permissions.

Don't you just love bureaucracy? 

Ron Margolis, RA, CDPE, ABR Hawaii Life Real Estate Services 808.346.7095 email: ron@hawaiilife.com

Comment balloon 8 commentsRonnie Margolis • January 25 2008 12:24PM
Hello out there - we're trying to go green!
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