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What would a fast comparrison of Geothermal to Aina Koa Pono Biofuels by answering the Robert Rapier energy project feasability questions below show?

I hope the Hawaii PUC has the answers when considering HELCO's proposed biofuel surcharge and electricity rate increases later this month.

From my limited knowledge based on what I read in the press and some research on the technologies, the analysis for the biofuels project shows too many gaps. The analysis for geothermal alternative shows solid answers and clear proven feasibility.


1.At what scale has the process been actually demonstrated, and is the process currently running?
2.What is the source of raw materials for the process?
3.What is being done with the product?
4.What are the primary energy inputs into the process, and what is the energy balance?
5.Will there be intermediate scale-up steps before a commercial facility is built?
6.What are the key assumptions for a commercial facility (e.g., size, cost of production, location)?
7.What is the presumed source and cost of biomass for a commercial facility?
8.Has the process been proven on that specific biomass?
9.What are the patent or patent application numbers relevant to the process?
10.What prior work is most similar to yours, and who are your perceived competitors?

Going forward with the biofuels project as described could be a waste of ratepayers and investor's money. The biofuels facility, if built as proposed could likely end up a larger scale version of the failed pilot solar desalinization plant that stood abandoned and an eyesore for years at Milolii.

It seems public opinion, and the opinion of and government leaders on the biofuels project is being influenced by the promiss of jobs and rekindling of plantation agriculture in hawaii in conjunction with electricity production. The reality is biofuel for power production at this time is not a wise choice.

What would be the costs, time frame and jobs (lifecycle analysis , including greenhouse gas emmissions) be for replacing the 80 megawatts of power generated in Kona with geothermal?

Do the same analysis for the Aina Koa Pono project. What do you get?

Howzit Mike;
Geothermal is proven technology at scale, it is the lowest cost alternative that Hawaii has at the moment--maybe ocean thermal will mature in the time frame. AKP is unproven, expensive and risky.
Geothermal is not asking the rate payer to finance. What is the rationale for making the rate payer finance such a large part of the risk---because HECO does not want to close its oil fired plant, no matter what happens to the people.

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