It’s good to understand that a county government has limited powers. Many laws are made in Washington or Honolulu. Maui Electric is a company driven by short-term economic interests. But there are a number of interesting recommendations to the county in this plan.
To strengthen the 95 percent goal, county legislation was recommended to ensure that the target is a legal mandate, not merely a recommendation.
The county should conduct an energy efficiency audit and feasibility study for all its facilities to discover savings potentials. To measure progress, it will be necessary to standardize the energy and resources consumption reports. The county should install inline hydropower, landfill-gas energy conversion, and landfill solid waste to energy. Biofuel use should be standard in county vehicles.
Clean Energy for Maui
Updating and upgrading the Building Code and Residential Energy Code would force builders to go green. A Green Permit program would lure builders into green building and LEED certification by speeding up permitting for green projects.
To achieve the 95 percent, a lot of money will be spent on solar, wind and biomass systems. To make sure that our island economies and residents benefit from this building boom, requests for proposals should be written to give local companies a strong basis. Use of local contractors should be required.
We need to find models which ensure that local people are encouraged and supported in investing in clean energy installations that earn a solid income. Large projects will need a public review phase that effectively engages the community in an active dialogue. There is a need to find funding for green workforce development and broad educational efforts that express the urgency of greenhouse gas reduction.
These are only some of the recommendations in the 100-plus pages of the report, which is available at MauiCounty.gov.
And now, your input is requested.
Chris Mentzel, CEO of Clean Energy Maui LLC, consults with county and state governments in Hawai‘i to secure a quick transition to a clean energy future. His goal is to end oil use on Maui by 2020. He can be reached through www.CleanEnergyMaui.com or at 214-7678.