Bill to aid financing of undersea cable passes House

| April 13, 2012 | 15 Comments

Update April 17, 2012: The office of Representative Mele Carroll did offer a response after being contacted Friday. Here is the response:

“I voted YES with reservations on Senate Bill 2785 SD2 HD2 Relating to Interisland Electric Transmission Cable Systems because I felt that the language in the bill that we were voting on at the time didn’t include a process for the public to participate and determine the decision on whether or not each island would like to see the connection of an interisland cable system,” said Representative Mele Carroll. “We need more community input and data collection on the matter before implementing any Interisland Electric Transmission Cable System.”

A bill that will aid in the financing of an undersea high voltage electric transmission cable linking the islands was approved by the House of Representatives on Tuesday by a vote of 45-6.

Could the passage of SB 2785 pave the way for an industrial-scale wind project on Molokai?

Language that would have allowed Lanai and Molokai to be excluded from the legislation was removed at the urging of Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Rep. Cynthia Thielen and Rep. Gil Riviere tried to have this language put back into the bill but the amendment failed.

A story on SB 2785 in the Honolulu Civil Beat quoted Thielen as saying, “If we’re not going to be pointing the gun at the islands of Lanai and Molokai to be our industrial wasteland to provide power to Oahu, let’s say it up front.”

Other legislators argued that this bill is not connected to any specific renewable energy project and no island should be allowed to opt out. Lawmakers also made efforts to distance this bill from the controversial Big Wind projects that have raised strong opposition on both Lanai and Molokai.

The bill, as written, will create a mechanism to reimburse Hawaiian Electric Company for its potential costs in the “installation and implementation of an interisland high voltage electric transmission cable system and for the construction of on-island transmission infrastructure.” The Public Utility Commission would have to review and approve HECO’s request for a customer surcharge for reimbursement.

This bill will allow a wind farm development company or HECO to receive cheap financing rates because the repayment of the loan would be guaranteed by utility ratepayers. In other words, customers will repay the cost for improving the infrastructure through a surcharge on their utility bill.

Opposing this bill were representatives Hanohano, Marumoto, Riviere, Thielen, Ward and Wooley.
Mele Carroll, the 13th District representative whose district includes East Maui, Molokai and Lanai, voted in favor of the bill with reservations.

Category: Business, News, Sustainability

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  1. Geneva Castro says:

    Not good.

    Mele, the reservations you were having was your conscience telling you this.

  2. kalaniua ritte says:

    the wind mills are coming…the wind mills are coming..better have a plan B iam

  3. Suggestion: Each island should be independent. Molokai supposely needs 3 windmills to service our community at the most. Oahu and Maui, Kauai,and their developers should be responsible for creating their own energy for their community. NOT extension cord from other islands to serve them.

    • steve says:

      the kala saved in not laying and servicing the undersea cable infrastructure could (most likely) fund a good portion of the topside equipment.

      fully agree with you.

  4. Can you give more detail in your plan B for Monsanto,would it be cooperative of farmers?

  5. sue kennedy says:

    What a sad day, rule #1, big business always wins. Now they have found a way to suck $ right out of your wind! All you can hope is that, when it doesn’t prove profitable, they will clean up the mess they WILL make

  6. Mr. Kalaniua Ritte I think you should run for office. Its time for young people to get into the political arena.It is your future and your children’s and it is vehicle to be heard and make changes.

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