Richard Ha writes:
The Aina Koa Pono (AKP) biofuels experiment will saddle us with expensive electricity costs when there are other, better, alternatives.
- It costs way too much. Generating electricity from oil today costs 21 cents/kWh. AKP will charge us the 21 cents/kWh plus a surcharge until oil reaches some target price in the future. In comparison, geothermal costs approximately 10 cents/kWh, according to a 2005 GeothermEx report.
- It uses more energy than it generates. An independent third party should do an analysis of the whole Aina Koa Pono process, especially its Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROI). The process uses fossil fuel energy to grow its crops, then uses electricity made from fossil fuel to run its microwaves to get pyrolysis oil. That oil (which is more like vinegar) is then sent through a refinery to make it into a fuel, which will be trucked to Keahole, where it will be burned to make electricity. If the objective were to make electricity with biomass, it would be cheaper to burn the biomass, make steam, turn a turbine and make electricity that way.
- It is speculative. Did you know there is no industrial-scale project in the world using this process to produce electricity? We are trying to be first in the world. Very frequently, a better strategy is to copy the first in the world. It greatly reduces the risk of failure.
- It will tie us to a 20-year contact, during which rate payers will have a difficult time investing in other alternatives. We need to invest in the smart grid, so we can bring more solar and wind on board.
- Rate payers (that’s you) should not be made to be venture capitalists.