Rush to Geothermal a Result of Poor Leadership

Caution: Geothermal

Caution: Geothermal

Solar and wave technologies are the future for Hawai`i, not large scale inter-island geothermal development. Investing in massive geothermal development will limit our other options for the next 30 years. That is a huge mistake.

Solar technology is advancing so fast it’s hard to keep up with it, and the price is dropping every year and will continue to do so; geothermal cannot do that.

Solar can be located where it is needed; geothermal can not do that. Solar is safe and really clean; geothermal is neither.

Solar is producing base load generation right now and the technology is improving almost monthly.

Alongside increased efficiency, a drop in the price of solar modules is also making the industry more appealing. Bloomberg reports that solar module prices have dropped 80% in the past three years.

In fact, prices dropped 21% last year and could drop another 50% this year. Solar is the future, not geothermal.

Puhagan geothermal plant, Philippines

Geothermal developers want to tie the public to 30 years of geothermal,  but the price tag is going to keep going up because they have to keep drilling new wells and import everything to keep the plants working.

Below are some links that show what I am saying is true. It’s not one idea or front but so many different advances that to ignore it is unreasonable. We have so much solar exposure the advantages over geothermal are staggering.

The idea of royalties and quick cash have so skewed the process and stacked all of the commissions, boards, advisory panels, and working groups, that Hawaii’s energy future has been put in very real jeopardy by a disturbingly flawed process.

The Hawaii Geothermal Cable Project aims to lay underwater electrical transmission lines between the Big Island and the other islands.  Elimination of the cable project could save (in my estimation) over $10 billion, which could be used to invest in sustainable energy projects. The economic analysis we had done in 1990 found that, to be feasible, the cable would have to subsidized. They wasted $26 million tax dollars on the cable studies project back in the 1980s. Now they plan to risk many billions more on a cable that must run through the deepest and roughest channel ever attempted. The cable will be vulnerable to disruptions and failure; then what?

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