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Saturday, June 24, 2017


8thOEEDSW, of course, stands for the title of the posting yesterday:  8th Ocean Energy and Economic Development Symposium and Workshop.  Our first stop was Hale Iako, in a newly refurbished and expanded structure where the first day conference was held.  Iako is the Hawaiian term for connector (middle portion) of a double-hulled canoe, like Hokulea, and is symbolic of the purpose of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority, which is to connect people to technology to the ocean and so on.  To the left, Yasu Ikegami, the current Japan professorial authority on ocean thermal energy conversion, and Kumejima Mayor Haruo Ota.

The tour continued with a look at the 105 kW Makai OTEC facility, here, Mike Eldredge with Reiko, translator:

This is not a leaning tower, just the angle of my shot.  The Kumejima system produces 100 MW.  Then on to the Kanaloa Octopus Farm:

They have yet to close the growth cycle, so commercialization is some years away.  We dropped by the ESPEC mineral-enriched vegetable operations (we will later have their lettuce for lunch):

The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute has a hydrogen transport operation here, as explained by Aaron McCall:

We had to skip the abalone tour because we were late, and began the program with John De Fries from the Friends of NELHA who was superb as moderator:

Kumu Lily Dudoit provided the Hawaiian dedication and welcome:

Tom Goya, also from the Friends, and formerly with Hawaii Electric Light Company, commemorated Okinawa's Memorial Day, June 23.  

Julie Yunker, Strategy Officer for the State of Hawaii, provided the state welcome:

Will Okabe, Managing Director, gave the Hawaii County welcome:

Mayor Haruo Ota did the same for Kumejima:

Tsutomu Miyahira did it for the central government of Japan:

Greg Barbour gave a NELHA update:

The OTEC commercialization roadmap was especially informative, for the current plans are now to build "only" a 100-300 kW operational OTEC power plant by 2021, effectively ceding the 1 MW to the Kumejima facility.  Then NELHA will jump to an offshore (meaning on a floating platform) 5 MW OTEC facility around 2030.  This is certainly a realistic projection in consideration of the partnership with Kumejima and the severe environmental constraints demanded by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Lunch was free and incredible:

Kona Kampachi with Spirulina Misoyaki, Kona Cold Lobster Loui Salad, Big Island Abalone Sashimi, that special high mineral lettuce and rice.  If only they had served glasses of Chardonnay, that would have been perfect.

In the afternoon Robert Baughman, Executive Vice President for Technology Development and Innovation with the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, talked about his truly innovative institution:

He has effectively been with OIST since the beginning in 2005.  Only a 5-year PhD program, originally, the objective was to produce Nobel Laureates in science.  I've posted on this effort several times.  Here is one.  My sense, talking to Baughman and those involved with that school, gives me an impression that the goals are shifting.  Sure, of course, produce future Nobel prize winners, but also attempt to link with the needs of Okinawa and real world applications.  Even though the T stands for technology, unfortunately, the current staff is so fundamentally scientific, that there is a lack of individuals with the necessary vision and capability to capably make this shift.  Further, in energy, they're into bioethanol and wave power, two declining fields.  But they have yet to attain maximum staffing, so future hires should be able to bridge that gap.

The next speaker was a revelation.  Stephen Walls, policy advisor to Strategic Programs in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the U.S. Department of Energy.  

With Donald Trump now as president, I wonder if it was safe for him to say positive things about islands and energy self-sufficiency.  Maybe the current staff in the USDOE will maintain a James Comey-like adherence to what is right and necessary.  President Trump can't fire all 2.8 million working for the Federal government.  This does not include those in military uniform.

Julie Yunker returned to detail Hawaii's Clean Energy Transformation. 

Note that the Big Island is already at 54% self-sufficiency.  I later discussed with her what those percentages meant.  She said all those numbers you see, like 100% renewables by 2045, only apply to electricity.  So I asked her, if Hawaii reaches that 100% goal, what would really be the percentage for all the energy we use.  She and Steve Wall surmised, maybe 33%, for 67% goes towards transportation, and aviation uses more than ground transport.  Read my Huffington Post article on The Future of Sustainable Aviation, and you can only get depressed about future prospects.

Wil Roston, Energy Coordinator for the County of Hawaii reviewed their statistics and efforts:

Osamu Ashimine, from the Okinawa government talked about their energy strategy:

Our final speaker was Jay Ignacio, president of Hawaii Electric Light Company, on their strategy:

I was curious as to why, way into the future, I forgot the date, HELCO plans to double solar energy use, while keeping wind energy constant, when the price of the latter is half the former.  So I went to talk to him.  His response was that this is what the people want.  More in jest, I said, is that smart?

For a little more than an hour the participants split into two groups to talk about Deep Seawater Industries and Environment Considerations, led by Jan War, chief operations officer of NELHA, and Keith Olson, Chief Science Officer of the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park.

There will be two more of these discussion groups, and at the end of the day tomorrow I will moderate the summary presentations of all four.


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