Home > News > Cutting forests and burning wood for electricity generation?


I recently read a letter to the editor (Hawaii Tribune Herald) that expressed a community member’s concerns about the Hu Honua project. This project involves opening a bio-mass power generation station in Pepeekeo. The fuel will come in the form of trees that are harvested from the Hamakua coast and Pahala. The logs will be trucked up and down the coast to the Pepeekeo plant.

I responded with the following letter. Since it may not be published, I’d like to share it here to express my personal sentiment about the project. I invite you to do research on the matter and to actively share your perspectives. It will be good to understand the true pros and cons of this effort and to influence what happens based on the merits and consequences of the project. Importantly, please contact the PUC at puc@hawaii.gov to share your sentiment – every voice counts.

Sincerely – Noel Morin

My letter:

I concur with Koohan Paik’s views in his letter the other day. Cutting down forests, hauling logs up and down the coast, and incinerating them to generate power are problematic for so many obvious reasons. The prospect of having forests being cut down, black exhaust spewing from slow, log-filled trucks, and even more CO2 being released into the atmosphere is terrible.  It will have a negative impact to our daily lives, to the tourism industry, and our infrastructure.

Clearly, the creation of this 30MW wood burning plant may be some near-term benefit but there are egregious near and long term negative consequences that outweigh any benefit.

Importantly, there are alternatives and we can only look to examples to appreciate what can be done that will not have the societal and environmental impact of the Hu Honua plan. Kauai’s 13MW solar and battery installation is one.  American Samoa is now energy independent having eliminated their dependency on shipped-in diesel, thanks to a solar power micro-grid. In Australia, there is a proposed 100MW solar and battery storage solution that will support 30,000 homes.

Solar and wind, along with storage solutions like batteries or pumped storage hydro-electric, offer better options. These will allow electricity to be created by harnessing the energy from our abundant sun and wind, and for excess energy to be stored for use when energy production is low. These will allow us the more quickly achieve energy independence and create quality economic opportunities, without having to compromise our environment, roads, safety, and tourism industry.

Contact the PUC (puc@hawaii.gov)  to express your thoughts on the matter. Please say NO to the traffic, the large trucks on our 2-lane roads (and smelly exhaust), and the negative impact to our environment and quality of life. We can do better.

Image source: “B.C. Logging Trucks” YouTube video”.

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