Geothermal Update from Puna Pono Alliance

Geothermal Update 7/22/13

There are several things coming up this week that I want to make sure your aware of.

Tuesday at 1:45 pm the county council will be taking testimony on:

The Hawaii County energy plan, present and future

Then on July 27th this Saturday at the Akebono theater in Pahoa Puna Pono Alliance is sponsoring

The Save Pohoiki Community Festival

Get the details below

Also if you have not signed our petition yet please sign and share it. Right after I posted it last time the petition site was crashed by hackers so if you had trouble please try again.

as of right now we have 746 signatures on line and many hundreds more on the ones we are passing around by hand, please help us by sharing it so we an get thousands before we present it to HELCO on August 19th

First this Tuesday at 1:45 pm the county council will be taking testimony on the:

Hawaii County energy plan, present and future

If you can not come to the council offices Tuesday you can still submit testimony by email until 12 noon today,
Monday, July 22 .

Send testimony to

Subject: Council testimony Hawaii County Energy Plan, Tuesday 23rd at 1:45


There are 2 sample at the bottom of this email to help you.

Normally the presentation comes after the public testimony. Don’t ask me why, who knows how government expects us to comment on a presentation that we have not even heard, but one thing we do know is they will be pushing more geothermal.

Far to often they current county council seems to makes things as difficult as they can for those of us who do try and participate in the process. None the less this is a chance for you to tell the council what kind of energy future you want to see

The Hawaii County Council Committee on Water, Ag, and Energy Sustainability will hear the presentation from Will Rolston, the Hawaii County Energy Coordinator and Laverne Omori, Director of the Dept. of Research and Development on EVERYTHING ENERGY current and future in Hawaii County.


Again that is this TUESDAY July 23rd at 1:45 pm and public testimony will be accepted.


Sorry for the short notice but you can submit video or written testimony until 12:00pm today Monday July 22nd.


Or if you can testify in person on Tuesday the 23rd you can do that:

At the Council Chambers at the County Building in Hilo, 25 Aupuni Street, Room 1401,

In the Council Chambers at the West Hawai’i Civic Center in Kona Building A.

The Pahoa Council Office in the Pahoa (Makuu) Marketplace, 15-2660 Pahoa Village Road, Room 105, across the parking lot from Subway.

At the Waimea Council Office, at the Holumua Center, 64-1067, Mamalahoa Highway, Suite 5

And also in the Ocean View satellite council office in Ka’u.

Hope to see you there.

Then we have:

The Save Pohoiki Community Festival

We hope to see you all at the Akebono theater in Pahoa on July 27th.

Learn about what’s happening with new geothermal plants!  There will be speakers, booths, music, and fun! Get to know your neighbors and Puna Pono Alliance as we prepare for our march on HELCO to stop the RFP.

Look for our flyers around town also.
Schedule of events:

Pua’ena Ahn will be our MC, if you have not met him you are in for a treat. Pua’ena gives me hope for the future. He is young, smart, articulate, understands the issues, he is a Kamehameha grad, a family man and he has a great political sense of humor. Pua’ena is a born leader.

1 pm- Kaliko will do a pule and opening. Kaliko is a long time community leader and activist on many issues. He is also member of the Royal Order of Kamehameha.
1:10 Introduction of the issues and speakers of the panel
1:15 Panel presentation on “Geothermal Issues and Updates”

If you want to know more about what is going on with geothermal in Hawaii this will be very informative.
We have –

Former Hawaii County Mayor and Civil Defense Director
Harry Kim

                Hawaii State Senator Russell Ruderman – founder of Island
Natural markets.

                Suzanne Wakelin – Phd in Physics

And me  Bob Petricci– President of Puna Pono Alliance

1:45 The panel will take questions on geothermal issues

2:00  Hiccup Circus – fun and games!
2:20  Henry Curtis on “Alternative Energy”

If you want to know about alternative energy in Hawaii don’t miss this
 Henry is the Founder Life of the Land, and a leading expert on alternative energy in state of HI. Henry has been working on shaping HI energy policy for over a decade at the PUC and in state legislature. After his talk Henry will answer questions and then be available to talk to people.

2:50 Questions on alternative energy

3:05 Palikapu Deadman president of the Pele Defense Fund will talk about PDF’s long history on geothermal and it’s cultural impacts. PDF was instrumental in launching Puna Pono Alliance and has been a great resource for me personally as well as for PPA.
3:20 – 4:00 music by Kaliko Guys, Kaliko Kanahele
  • You may call Mr. Jay Ignacion at (808) 969-0121 and tell him you support the campaign to stop the contract.

    Puna Pono Alliance continues to grow thanks to you, please join us this Saturday.



To contact Puna Pono Alliance for information or to let us know you want to volunteer to do more to help the campaign click here.

Here are 2 sample testimony from one of our members for the council hearing:



Dear Committee Members,

I am writing to voice my support for other alternative energy sources besides geothermal.

I have personally spent ten years, alongside my friends, developing a Permaculture farm and Foundation in Opihikao. ( This farm would be detrimentally impacted by this development.  We are trying to do everything we can to be sustainable, and that effort needs to be supported, not hindered, by your decisions.

Puna contains the largest off-grid community in the state.  Young people come here from around the world to study the arts of sustainability.  Our leaders say they support sustainability, but locating dirty industries next to our farms and homes is unconscionable.  This area has much to teach the rest of the state in terms of how we can transition to a lifestyle of less energy consumption.

It makes economic sense to locate power generation closer to where it is utilized.  Locating another geothermal plant in Puna makes the island energy supply quite vulnerable to a volcanic eruption.  The likelihood of inundation by lava in any fifty year period has been estimated between 60 and 90 percent.

Puna already carries the burden of pollution from the oil fired plant in Keaau, and the geothermal plant that makes 20% of the power used on the island, yet Puna only uses 6%.  The environment and lifestyle of Puna should not be sacrificed to support the electricity used in other areas.

We’ve had geothermal for 30 years in Puna and yet still pay the highest rates in the state. We want to explore other alternatives that are safer, cheaper and cleaner than geothermal.




Dear Councilmembers:

Regarding the Island of Hawaii’s energy future, the public is being told fairytales about geothermal – that it is safe, clean and renewable. It is none of those.

Clean: Reinjection of geothermal fluids with it’s attendant toxic and carcinogenic chemicals endangers the groundwaters. Toxic gasses are emitted into the air by geothermal plants.
Safe: Reinjection also causes increased earthquakes, even in areas distant from the drilling. Slippage of faults is common.
Renewable: Geothermal plants in other areas have already depleted the steam there.
According to seasoned oil explorers, any time drilling is done into the earth, the outcome is going to be a surprise. PGV was surprised when they hit live magma.
What other surprises lie in store for the Big Island when many drilling companies are drilling all at once in one of the most geologically active parts of the island, in the path of the lava flow?
I have had the most profound picture of what can happen – not a vision, not a premonition, but more of a fait accompli: an uncontrollable release of toxic gasses and explosions that renders the area, then the island, uninhabitable. This is what will happen if all this drilling takes place in Puna.
For the handful of wealthy investors and landowners who stand to make a killing off of this boondoggle, it is of little consequence, as they do not have to live in the areas affected. For the poor and working class people who have poured their hearts and souls into the land of Puna, and raised their families here, trying to live self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyles, it will be catastrophic, the total loss of everything they have.
There is one road out of Puna. Try to imagine what will happen when this catastrophe occurs.
This island should be the breadbasket for the state, not the industrial dumping grounds for Oahu’s lack of conservation, poor planning and political paybacks.  Puna does not wish to become “The Pittsburgh of the Pacific”. No one came, and no one comes here, to see refineries, transmission lines and pollution. Tourism and agriculture are what we do best. Let us focus on solar and hydro for our future energy needs.
Let us abandon the antiquated model of centralized distribution, and focus on micro-grids for localities, and individual self-sufficiency. We are not obligated to provide profits for HELCOs shareholders, nor is the Big Island obligated to provide energy for any other islands.