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Saturday, November 23, 2013


Yesterday, I featured five books with which I am associated, Today, Energy Self-Sufficiency for the State of Hawaii. a book prepared by a class I taught at the University of Hawaii in 1978, just before the Second Energy Crisis.  These 70 students represent the best of what a college class can accomplish (I sometimes wonder if I could have done more if I kept teaching instead of becoming an administrator?):
  • Wrote a book, which became the standard text for high schools throughout the state.
  • Made the feature presentation at a National Science Foundation Science for Citizens gathering at the State Capitol in Honolulu.
  • Having mesmerized the mayors of each island at this conference, a team of these students provided a one-hour skit/program to schools and the general community on the Big Island, Maui, Kauai, Oahu, Lanai and Molokai, paid for by the various counties.
  • Bill Noller, a student who edited the publication, was hired by State Senator T.C. Yim (who was the undisputed lead for any energy legislation in the State Legislature), to be his staff specialist on energy.  Some notable pieces of energy legislation became law in 1979 and 1980, for, fortuitously, another energy crisis arrived in 1979.
If you haven't taught a university course, you can't truly appreciate these achievements.  Here, students compiled an actual book, obtained National Science Foundation funding to publish it and toured the State of Hawaii to educate the public on energy self sufficiency.  I might mention that a key interface to these activities was Judy Collins (who was then on the staff at the University of Hawaii), one of the co-founders of the Triathlon, which I featured last month.  Here she is 35 years later with her husband (John, who was her co-founder).

What did these students predict?

  • Net energy self-sufficiency for the State of Hawaii by the year 2025, including jet fuel.  While this is way too optimistic, at least the students guessed closer to reality than a 1977 Hawaii State Legislature report (right), which predicted attainment of Hawaii energy self-sufficiency in 2010 (although not including jet fuel). 
  • The state population, which was 868,500 in 1979, will be 1,226,000 in 2000 (it was 1.212 million), and will rise to 1,497,300 in 2020 (looks to be on track).
  • Interesting that they thought that in 2020 5% of the electricity on Oahu would come from OTEC.   This could well happen.
A few other notes:
  • The cover was designed by Clyde Tamaru.
  • We got sued by Sidney Harris from American Scientist for using his cartoons without permission.  I ended up sending him a $100 check for his approval.  Here is a typical Harris:

This might be difficult to read, but here is my Foreword from the book:

If you know people mentioned here, please send them this posting, for I'd like to hear from those students and collaborators identified above.  I wonder what they're doing today?

How is Hawaii actually doing today?  I can't seem to find a 2013 figure, but I would guess we might be in the range of 10% energy self-sufficient.  We pay a bill of at least $5 billion/year just for imported petroleum.  In 2008 (when Hawaii was 92.2% away from energy independence), Governor Linda Lingle signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Department of Energy to gain 70% energy self-sufficiency by 2030.  The terms were amorphous, as there was no clarity about ground nor air transport.  I suspect they were only agreeing on electricity,  Read my HuffPo of 2010 on:

     Hawaii:  The Proposed Symbol of Energy Independence

When my students predicted Hawaii becoming energy self-sufficient, they reached out 35 years into the future to 2025.  I would not be surprised if Hawaii attains energy independence in 2048, about 35 years from now.


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