Energy Observations During My Hawaii Vacation

Energy Observations During My Hawaii Vacation

February 18, 2022

By Rick Whitbeck, Alaska State Director

My family and I just returned from an amazing week in Hawaii; a great escape from Alaska’s winter.

It’s clear there is a big difference between states with sound energy policies, and those who fully embrace the green agenda. A couple of things related to Hawaii’s (or at least Oahu’s) energy scene caught my attention:

There are no visible wind turbines anywhere on the island.  We drove every major highway and went from end to end on the island.  With near-constant breezes while we were there, one must wonder why the deep-blue state wouldn’t be fully embracing that source of power?  The obvious answer is that they’re ugly and would take away from the beauty of the area, but if they work as well to produce power as the eco-Left says they do, why not scar Hawaii the same way they want to everywhere else?

We went to a well-known tourist spot on the island; a plantation of tropical fruits where signs throughout the area tout their environmental commitments.  While on a ride through the fields and groves, they pointed out a vast solar panel array, and noted that the business gets between 9-13% of its power from the setup.  My guess was it had to be an acre or so of coverage, so when I got back to the main facility, I asked what the main crop brought in per-acre throughout the year, versus the savings attained from solar.  After a bit of time, where they inquired to different departments (after all, I’m sure they aren’t asked that every day!), the answers were a $28,000 power savings per month, versus $32,000 a month in net proceeds from the crop.

Why lose $4,0000 a month for solar power?  I’m sure there are additional business and non-business reasons, but I can’t see why a for-profit company would lose money replacing a cash crop with a solar array.

Gas prices are approaching $5.00 per gallon for basic unleaded, and diesel is already there in some locations on the island.  For a state that has no oil and gas development and must import everything, the numbers weren’t altogether shocking, but it actually made me shudder a bit.  Alaska’s $3.80 per gallon on my last fill-up didn’t seem so bad, by comparison.

The trip was a terrific break from everything, but it is also great to be back in a state that values our energy opportunities and supports our state with responsible development.  Lots is happening in Alaska, and Power The Future will continue to advocate for our energy community as we move forward in 2022.