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Alternative Energy

About the Alternative Energy working group
Preliminary Themes, Goals and Objectives from the small group meetings

These themes (recurring ideas) were derived from 130 small group meetings conducted across the Puna district.

Preliminary Themes (ENG & SID)
  1. Clean Renewable Energy Development
  2. Energy Independence – Self Reliance
  3. Energy Efficiency (Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design - LEED)
  4. Bio-Fuel (ethanol & bio-diesel)
  5. Safe Geothermal Plant
  6. Underground Utilities
Preliminary Goal(s) – To work towards a Puna that is is lean (energy efficient), clean (decrease CO2) & green (renewable energy)

Preliminary Objectives

These objectives have been derived from themes generated from 3,394 ideas provided by broad citizen participation. The numbers in parentheses indicates which theme or themes were used to develop the objectives.

A. Support the development of clean renewable energy. (1)

B. Minimize dependence on fossil fuels. (2)

C. Support the creation of incentives for off-grid totally self-sufficient houses. (1,2,3)

D. Support the creation of incentives for energy efficient design such as LEED. (3)

E. Ensure the safe and clean operations of the geothermal plant. (5)

F. Assist in identifying the most viable locally grown bio-fuel crop. (4)

G. Research the feasibility of underground utilities. (6)

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

What is LEED®?
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.
How is LEED Developed?
The LEED Rating System was created to transform the built environment to sustainability by providing the building industry with consistent, credible standards for what constitutes a green building. The rating system is developed and continuously refined via an open, consensus-based process that has made LEED the green building standard of choice for Federal agencies and state and local governments nationwide.
What is LEED Certification?
The first step to LEED certification is to Register your project. To earn certification, a building project must meet certain prerequisites and performance benchmarks ("credits") within each category. Projects are awarded Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification depending on the number of credits they achieve. This comprehensive approach is the reason LEED-certified buildings have reduced operating costs, healthier and more productive occupants, and conserve our natural resources.

Excerpts from Previous Plans

Considerable time, thought, and community-wide effort has been applied to the issue of energy in Puna over the past decade or more, resulting in a number of plans that have made specific recommendations. Pertinent excerpts for those plans are below.

The County of Hawai'i General Plan, adopted by ordinance in 2005, sets the land use and community development policy for the County of Hawai'i, and is intended to serve as a guide for state and federal government and private sector, as well. Here is what the General Plan says about energy in Puna:

"Puna’s energy demand continues to rise because of rapidly increasing residential development. Subdivisions are located at great distances from services, schools, employment, supplies, and recreation making them more energy intensive than development in better planned areas. The cost of installing and maintaining the electrical grid is very high because of weather, vegetation, and the relatively great distances from house to house. A major energy use is Puna is water pumping. Even though it may be some time before a large number of homes connect to a municipal or private water supply, eventual connection should be strategically considered."

"No matter power source, for safety and security, energy should be transmitted through a network of transmission corridors rather than one or two that may be subject to disaster."

"Geothermal activity began in the 1960s, and geothermal output began in 1976. Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) began operations in 1993. Currently, PGV produces 30 megawatts of energy from geothermal steam supplementing the Hawaii Electric Company (HECO). PGV plans to increase their out-put to 60 megawatts in the future. Activities which utilize geothermal byproducts may be established within and/or in close proximity to the geothermal resource subzone as identified on the Land Use Pattern Allocation Guide (LUPAG) map."

In 1995, the County of Hawai'i secured the services of a consultant to complete the Puna Community Development Plan. While it was not adopted, this document sets forth some specific recommendations for alternative energy:

  • Support efforts of subdivisions to establish and recognize “off-the-grid” or “dispersed infrastructure” areas.
  • Collaborate with community initiatives to develop “non-emission’ or other experimental and alternative transportation routes.
  • Locate future sewage treatment, green waste/biomass, and energy production sites for cooperative processes and convenience, e.g., at Glenwood, Keaau, Waipahoehoe, and Makuu.
  • Collaborate with subdivisions to set aside “dispersed infrastructure” or “off-the-grid” areas for alternative experimental energy systems.
  • Consider a study of the relative costs and risks of one or two transmission corridors and centralized sources versus multiple small ones for long-term reliability of energy grid in Puna’s natural hazard areas.
  • Conduct and implement pro-active land use planning for geothermal designation for the rift zone area of Puna.
  • Study the use of Transferable Development Rights (TDR) to reduce density in the rift zone and to transform some residential rights to direct-use, e.g., waste heat industries, if appropriate.
  • Support the development of an incentive program, within an operative overall energy management program for the County that would increase the use of electric vehicles, thereby storing energy and allowing increased use of geothermal energy in off-peak hours.
  • Geothermal development and transmission corridors should be dispersed along the east rift and the Geothermal Subzones so that sources are limited to 20% or less of the island base load in any one-mile section.


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« December 2018 »
Upcoming Events
Kona CDP Action Committee Meeting Jan 08, 2019 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM — Puka'ana United Church of Christ - 85-4521 Māmalahoa Hwy. Captain Cook, HI 96704
South Kohala CDP Action Committee Meeting Jan 28, 2019 05:00 PM - 07:00 PM — Waikoloa Village Association Community Room - 68-1792 Melia Street, Waikoloa Village, HI 96738
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