Richard Ha at Civil Beat

Civil Beat asked Richard to write some opinion pieces for them, and his 3-part series on energy and food security in Hawai‘i is running right now. You can click the titles to read the whole article.

Part 1:

Trying to be Safe by Doing Nothing is No Longer Safe 

I am Richard Ha, chairman of the board of Ku‘oko‘a. Ku‘oko‘a is trying to align the needs of Hawai‘i’s people with the needs of the electrical utility.

I want to start by telling you who I am and what my values are. My mom is Okinawan, Higa from Moloka‘i, and my Pop was half Korean and half Hawaiian. His mother was Leihulu Kamahele. Our family land was down the beach at Maku‘u in Puna. We were very poor but didn’t know it….

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Part 2:

Expensive Electricity Threatens Hawaii’s Food Security

At the 2010 Peak Oil conference, held in Washington, D.C., a speaker pointed to a graph showing that oil is used for a very small portion of the U.S. mainland’s production of electricity.

He pointed out that Hawai‘i is responsible for a huge portion of the nation’s oil use. The U.S. mainland uses oil for less than 10 percent of its electrical generation, while Hawai‘i depends on oil for 76 percent of its electrical generation. So when oil prices rise, Hawai‘i’s electricity ratepayers are significantly more affected than mainland electricity ratepayers.

And as oil prices rise, any imported mainland product that has electricity usage imbedded in its production has a cost advantage over the same product produced in Hawai‘i. This is true for ice cream, bakery products and even jams and jellies….

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Part 3:

What Works, Works

Farmers cut straight to the chase. We farmers are concerned about survival, the bottom line, people and the environment.

Although we do support maximizing other technologies available to us in Hawai‘i, here I am talking about “base power” electricity – stable, steady power. Eighty percent of our electricity needs to be stable, steady base power. Base power has the biggest impact on our electricity bills….

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