Richard Ha writes:
It’s all about the cost.
What if we substituted geothermal electricity for Aina Koa Pono's biofuels proposal, in order to replace the 80MW that the Keahole liquid fuel-fired plant produces?
Aina Koa Pono’s proposed plan would cost rate payers the equivalent of $200/barrel of oil.
The “barrel of oil equivalent” for geothermal-produced electricity is $57/barrel, and this price will be stable for 500,000 to a million years. (Geothermal is competitive with – though cheaper than – natural gas, which is $5.16 per million BTUs and breaks even with oil at $57/barrel; and nuclear power, which breaks even at $6.26 and $69).
At today’s oil prices, there is an 11 cent difference between oil- and geothermal-produced electricity. Geothermal is cheaper by far.
The Keahole plant’s capacity is 80MW, which is 80,000 kilowatts per hour. Using geothermal would save $8,800/hour, $211,200/day, and $6,336,000/month. In a year, the savings would be $76 million.
Why can't we split the difference? Part of the savings goes to lowering rate payers bills, and the other half to retire debt?
The electric utility should not be punished for trying to achieve its renewable energy goals. But we have to realize there may be alternatives that better prepare us for the future. Let's not lock ourselves out of these opportunities by signing a 20-year contract just because of an arbitrary time schedule.
In the end, with geothermal we would pay the oil equivalent of $57/barrel on our electric bills. If we go Aina Koa Pono’s route, we pay the equivalent of $200/barrel.
Am I missing something?