Hawaii Five-O

hawaii-fiveo

Here’s the Huffington Post’s take on the latest wind weasel shenanigans in Hawaii.

STT thinks it sounds like a job for Steve McGarrett and his faithful side-kick, Danny “Danno” Williams.

How Renewable Portfolio Standards Can Subvert Your Economy
Huffington Post Hawaii
Sally Kaye
10 September 2013

A strange thing happened on our way to a “clean energy” future in the U.S.: we’ve been hijacked by private developers whose primary interest is cashing in on state and federal subsidies and the guaranteed payback of a hefty return on investment, spawned by each state’s need to meet self-imposed renewable portfolio standards (RPS).

Sales propaganda aside, many of these developers could care less if their pet projects lower greenhouse gases or otherwise help the planet; they are simply capitalizing on the potential riches guaranteed by us, the rate and taxpayers.

Hawaii is the poster child for how a stiff RPS can spawn a developer frenzy, especially in the absence of a coherent, community-based energy policy.

Hawaii’s Legislature first established a renewable portfolio “goal” in 2001. In 2004 it acted to mandate 20 percent renewable generation by 2020, and amendments adopted in 2006 allowed solar hot water and seawater air conditioning savings to count toward the RPS. Good moves, we all agreed we needed to reduce our dependence on imported oil.

Then, on June 6, 2007, LA billionaire and real estate developer David Murdock, through his privately owned Castle & Cooke Resorts (C&C), announced plans to develop a $750 million industrial wind power plant on the island of Lana`i (98% of which he owned at the time), capable of producing 300-400 MW. This intermittent wind power would be shipped one-way to O`ahu, Hawaii’s energy-hungry (and some say energy-wasteful) population center through an undersea cable that he would also build. Despite knowing precisely where the development would be, no environmental studies were done.

Shortly thereafter, Boston-based First Wind got into the mix by announcing it would develop a similarly sized wind power plant on the island of Molokai, relying on a large Singapore-based land owner to eventually provide the needed space.

It wasn’t until over a year later, on October 28, 2008, that then Governor Linda Lingle signed the Hawaii Clean Energy Agreement with the state’s monopoly utility, Hawaiian Electric (“HECO”). This Agreement became, by default, Hawaii’s energy policy: its primary focus was HECO’s commitment “to integrate, with the assistance of the State, up to 400 MW of wind power into the Oahu electrical system, produced by one or more wind farms located on either the island of Lanai or Molokai and transmitted to O`ahu via undersea cable systems (the “Big Wind” projects).” The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) witnessed the Agreement.

A few months after this, on December 19th, Hawaii’s regulatory agency (the PUC) quietly ordered that the HECO companies’ failure to meet the RPS could be penalized by a fine of $20 per MWh of deficiency. This would come out of shareholder pockets, though, not ratepayers; the stakes for HECO to pursue Big Wind went way up. (HECO claimed only 12% renewable penetration on O`ahu in 2011.)

Then Hawai`i’s Legislature increased the state’s RPS, requiring HECO to acquire 40% of its net electricity sales from renewables by 2030, thereby making Big Wind all but a done deal in many minds. By March, 2009, HECO’s Executive VP Robbie Alm was claiming, “These two wind projects are absolutely essential to meeting our Hawaii Clean Energy commitments.” (Read: RPS).

Four years later, after many, many millions of rate and tax payer dollars had been spent on “studying” Big Wind, it all began to unravel.

In May, 2012 C&C’s Murdock sold all his Lana`i assets to Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison, while retaining vague and undefined “rights” to pursue developing 200-400 MW of Big Wind on Lana`i.

On February 7, 2013, Molokai’s major land owner, GuocoLeisure Limited, changed its mind: it announced it would not renew a lease with San Francisco-based Pattern Energy (a subsidiary of Riverstone Holdings), the corporation succeeding First Wind as a potential wind/cable developer on Moloka`i.

So today, 50% of the 400 MW wind energy expected from Big Wind in Hawai`i has evaporated, and last month, citing uncertainty with C&C’s ability to perform on land it no longer owned, the PUC ordered a review of C&C’s progress on the remaining 50% on Lana`i. Many believe it will soon disappear as well, leaving the state without the “silver bullet” it banked on to meet its RPS.

But a new target has emerged here in Hawai`i: Maui.

Twenty-five developers filed applications with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) in early February, eyeing a range of renewable resources each wanted to build on homestead land; they come from as far away as Australia and Minnesota. Some will require an undersea cable to deliver energy Maui cannot use to O`ahu. Sound familiar?

Although there are currently 29 states/territories with mandated RPS, many legislators in those states are considering – if not actively trying – to roll them back. They are doing this not because they are anti-renewable, or disbelievers in climate change, or are in the pocket of Big Oil and Big Gas. They are doing this because they recognize the price-gouging, rent-seeking opportunities developers – some with no experience at all in building renewables – are relentlessly pursuing.  States like Hawai`i will remain a prime target, so long as it lacks a cohesive, coherent long-term energy plan.
Huffington Post

All over the world, the great wind power fraud attracts the same scheisters, with same playbook full of lies and spin, and all aimed at the same target – a fat pile of power consumer and taxpayer cash – made available by perverse and unsustainable energy policies.

“Book Em Danno – WIND POWER FRAUD, ONE”.

Bookem-300x197

STT tends to think Hawaiians might be better off cleaning up the mess from their earlier dalliance with the great wind power scam – before they start slinging up any more.

Here’s some of the mess left by wind weasels on the Island of Oahu – the turbines gave up the ghost a while back and – apparently – the developer decided to leave them standing as a “monument” to Hawaii’s first taste of “green” energy – a bit like the giant statues on Easter Island, really. Perhaps worshiping useless giants is a “Pacific” thing?

STT feels just that bit better knowing it was all done to “save the planet”.

Hawaii rusting turbines

Wind weasels leave their mess for others to deal with.

The “green” scene above is one that’ll play out all over Australia over the next decade or so.

Do you really think that wind weasels ($2 companies with NO assets – if you think we’re joking, check out the financials of the entity that holds the landholder agreement) were serious when they told the planning panels they would “decommission” their giant fans?

Next time you’re chatting to a turbine host, ask him about the part of his contract that deals with “decommissioning”.  He’ll paw the ground with his boots and look skyward – and say something about it all being “confidential”.

Why not give him a reminder that giant fans have a useful life of about 10-15 years – or with Suzlon s88s, more like 5-10 years.  And that it will cost as much to pull them down and cart them away as it did to erect them.

STT has seen plenty of landholder agreements and NONE of them provide any SECURED sum directed at the removal of turbines.  Sure, some of them say that the developer will be responsible for the clean up, but there is nothing in these contracts which financially “secures” that promise.  “Security” that is, like a “decommissioning” bond that the land holder can call on in the event the developer fails to pay, or winds itself up in insolvency.

But at least the land holder can console himself while looking at a bevvy of rusting hulks in his top paddock – it was, after all, all about “saving the planet”.

TURBINE FIRE

They call this “clean energy” – sure, seems legit.

OK, we admit it – this post was really an excuse to listen to the Hawaii Five-O theme just one more time, for old time’s sake.  No-one said killing the wind industry couldn’t be fun.  Enjoy!

****

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Mothers Against Wind Turbines and commented:
    Wind weasels don’t clean up their garbage!

  2. I agree STT the only thing which would secure any credible assurance that comprehensive decommissioning of any of these fly-by-night wind boondoggle schemes will ever occur would be adequate bank guarantees. But I think we can safely assume these wind entities would run away with the speed of light were any prospective sucker host suggest such a thing.

    We all know the wind weasels know nothing of morality, but just as surely as Steve McGarrett always brought his evil adversaries to justice so to will the wind weasels one day have to atone for the misery they have wrought on Australian rural residents.

  3. David Mortimer says:

    The legacy in the form of rotting hulks and/or the huge cost to the host of turbine removal is something I have been trying to get through to my neighbours for some time now. I have been met with a mixture of hostility and total disbelief.

    I have travelled this wide country from east coast to west coast and from the south to the far north on a wind farm awareness mission and have seen contracts and proposed contracts with a number wind farm developers and I am horrified to see what land owners are signing up to. Their solicitors are either incompetent or in the pay of the wind industry developers. In the case of (maybe in all cases?) the host’s solicitor is paid by the wind industry developers, then one could assume that the host doesn’t really have a solicitor at all.

    If a contract indicates that the developer aims to remove the turbines on de-commissioning but ultimately passes ownership of the turbines to the host, do you really think the developer has any intention or the funds to remove the turbines? Especially when the company has gone broke? Yair, likely!

    How can a two dollar shelf company with no assets ever have the funds to remove a dead wind farm unless the fraud squad can seize the ill-gotten assets of the company executives as proceeds of crime?

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