Posts Tagged ‘biomass’

4 December

Hurray For Kaua’i & KIUC-part I


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

KIUC (Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative)'s 12 MW solar panels on the day of the dedication, Sep. 25, 2014

(Please click on red links and note magenta)
It is with tremendous awe and admiration that Sun Is The Future team took the trip and video recorded the Koloa Solar Dedication ceremony at Kauai, HI, on September 25, 2014. We found out that by Jan. of 2015, 80% of the peak daytime power demand at Kaua’i will be met by  solar energy and 22% of the daily average will be met by renewable energy. KIUC (Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative) is definitely leading the way on planet earth in our transition toward Renewable Energy Age! This is especially  impressive given the fact that Hawaii is the most fossil fuel dependent state in USA. Realizing that 50% of its total economy comes from tourism and military and the finite nature of fossil fuel, Hawaii actively tries to relieve its dependence from oil so to be less vulnerable to the fluctuation in oil prices and availability. This is mainly accomplished through various goals and roadmaps set by Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.

KIUC Team, beaming with pride, of their 12 MW installations

KIUC Communication Manager Jim Kelly (L) & Kumu Sabra Kauka (R) for dedication & blessing

Founder/Editor of Sun Is The Future, Susan Sun Nunamaker, signing solar panel at the KIUC dedication

KIUC Power Supply Manager Brad Rockwell (R) & Sun Is The Future Technical Analyst Michael Nunamaker (L) at the dedication ceremony



















During the dedication ceremony, Allan A. Smith (Chairman of the Board of KIUC) welcomed every one. Then remarks were made by:David Bissell (President and CEO of KIUC), Tulsi Gabbard (U.S. House of Representatives), Bernard Carvalho Jr. (Mayor of County of Kaua’i), Hermina Morita (Chair of Hawai’i Public Utility Commission), Sheldon Petersen (CEO of National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation), Peter Rive (Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of SolarCity), Mike Gabbard (Hawai’i State Senate), Wanda Kau-Shibata (Kaua’i Representative), and Gov. Neil Abercrombie.  Dedication and blessing was made by Kuma Sabra Kauka. It is easy to see the love, respect, care, and reverence the people of Kaua’l have for their land, resources, and energy.

This 12 MW, $40 million solar array project is the largest solar array in HI. Contractor is Solar City and Landowner is Grove Farm. It contains 45,360 panels and started in Nov., 2013. The project will displace 1.7 million gallons of oil annually, eliminate 35,000 tons of emissions annually, and will generate enough energy to power 4,000 homes. It is a key part of KIUC’s strategy to use renewable resources to generate at least 50% of the island’s energy by 2023. KIUC is also making sure that there is a diverse portfolio of renewable energy, utilizing not just the solar power, but also wind- , biomass, and hydro- power.

It is wonderful to see Senator Mike Gabbard’s of Hawaii (Chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy & Environment Committee for the past six years)’s excitement for this solar installation. It is understandable how Kaua’i and state of HI are able to arrive at the Solar Heaven ahead of all other states, surpassing its Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative of 2008 (goal of achieving 70% clean energy by 2030 with 30% from efficiency measures and 40% coming from locally generated renewable sources). But currently HI is at 18% renewable energy state-wide (the first bench mark for 2015 had a goal of 15% renewable energy). Of the 18% renewable energy: on the Big Island, 48.1%  from renewables; on Maui, 29.1%; Kaua’i, 18.8%; Ouaha, 11.7%.

Yes, HI is going strong with solar and other renewable energies not only because Hawaiians or residents of Kaua’i are blessed with sunshine but because of their utility such as KIUC is continually looking for ways to collaborate and encourage their state legislators to move toward Renewable Energy. Most importantly, Kaua’i is blessed with island residents who aim to live in harmony and spirit of conservation with Mother Nature. Thumb up for KIUC! Hip! Hip! Hurray for Kaua’i and KIUC! We hope all other states in USA will look toward KIUC for their shining example during our earthly transition toward a Renewable and Clean Energy Future.

~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, posted, and uploaded by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker and filmed by Michael Nunamaker

More related posts:

1. A Chat With KIUC On The Solar Paradise of Kaua’i

2. Kauai Is Going Strong With Solar in 2012-Be Empowered by Going Solar

3. Kauai Leading The Way For Solar In Hawaii

Any of your questions/comments/suggestions will be welcomed at

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11 February

Are We Moving Fast Enough Toward Solar-Wind-Water-Geothermal-Biomass?


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers, (Please click on red links below)

Allow me to share with you the finalized data from FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) for U.S. Energy Infrastructure Update for 2013.  Some of the key findings from Office of Energy Projects-Energy Infrastructure Update of U.S. by 2013 from FERC are presented in the two tables below:

U.S. New Generation In-Service Power Capacity During 2013, Data Made Available By FERC

1. U.S. New Generation In-Service (New Build and Expansion), Jan.-Dec. of 2013 Chart: On horizontal axis, 10 top sources of new U.S. power capacity (in 2013) are ranked in terms of Newly Installed Capacity (MW) during 2013, in the order from: 1st being Natural Gas (7,270 MW), 2nd is Solar (2,936 MW), 3rd is Coal (1,543 MW), 4th is Wind (1,129 MW), 5th is Biomass (777 MW), 6th is Water (378 MW), 7th is Waste Heat (76 MW), 8th is Geothermal Steam (59 MW), 9th is Oil (38 MW), 10th is Nuclear (0 MW).

Even though Solar’s rank of 2 is impressive from the above chart, in reality the actual solar power capacity generated during 2013 is much greater than 2,936 MW. If you’d refer to FERC’s key findings from Office of Energy Projects-Energy Infrastructure Update of U.S. by 2013 from FERC , you would realize that the 2,936 MW did not include the distributed solar (rooftop solar power systems) installed in 2013. Various sources indicated that California added more rooftop solar capacity in 2013 than in the past 30 years combined . As the distributed solar will continue to play an increasingly significant role in solar capacity generation, such data needs to be included in the calculation in the future in order to provide a more complete picture.

U.S. Total Installed Operating Generating Capacity (GW) By Dec. of 2013, Data Made Available By FERC

2. U.S. Total Installed Operating Generating Capacity By December of 2013 Chart: On horizontal axis, 10 top sources of total U.S. power capacity by 2013 are ranked in terms of Total Installed Capacity (GW) up to December of 2013, in the order from: 1st being Natural Gas (487.21 GW), 2nd is Coal (333.43 GW), 3rd is Nuclear (107.32 GW), 4th is Water (97.88 GW),  5th is Wiind (60.29 GW), 6th is Oil (47.03 GW), 7th is Biomass (15.74 GW), 8th is Solar (7.42 GW), 9th is Geothermal Steam (3.83 GW), 10th is Waste Heat (1.13 GW).

The second table above reminds us that despite how much renewable energy has grown in U.S., the total installed operating generating capacity from renewable such as solar, water,geothermal, biomass, and wind only add up to about 15% of the total U.S. installed operating generating capacity as of 2013.  Solar only represents 0.64% and wind represents 5.2% of the total U.S. installed operating generating capacity as of 2013.  Renewable Energy is still in its early stage of its evolution. In 2014 solar power is projected to have another year of record growth. To this I say: we surely need it!

Flood at Key Heaven as a result of Hurricane Wilma (Author Marc Averette, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

Flood of Toowoomba (Author Kingbob86, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)











Some of my friends, acquaintances, and relatives find it puzzling why I would be so anxious while optimistic about the Solar/Renewable future.  The two tables above truly reflect my state of mind toward current state of affair: optimistic with exponential growth of Solar Capacity (table 1) while anxiously worried about millions of people who will be losing their homes as a result of climate change (this would be the case if Clean and/or Renewable Energy takes up such a small percentage of the overall total power capacity as demonstrated in table 2 above )….we need to move toward Renewable…toward Solar-Wind-Water-Geothermal-Biomass much faster….in order to avoid more of what is likely to come……for millions and millions of people on planet earth…..

Let’s maintain our optimism in moving forward. We need to optimize the most effective incentive policy to drive all Renewables forward…be it Solar-Wind-Water-Geothermal-Biomass….in order to prevent millions and millions of people in becoming homeless in the decades to come…..

~may we all have a bright and sunny day~

Written, gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments/suggestions/questions will be welcomed at

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27 July

Renewable-FIT For Sunshine State Petition


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)

After much deliberation, Sun Is The Future is now launching the Renewable-FIT For Sunshine State petition. With this wider-based perspective, we’re hoping to gain greater support and momentum from various sectors of Renewables (Solar-Wind-Wave-Biomass-Geothermal) of the Sunshine State of Florida.  The motivation is to ultimately living up to the name of “Sunshine State”, utilizing as much of the renewable resources of our state as possible to transition away from the fossil fuels smoothly and quickly. Join us by clicking on and sign the Renewable-FIT For Sunshine State petition!

Solar and Wind Power (credit: Clipper Windpower)

Wave Energy (credit: Ocean Energy Limited, marine hydrokinetics)

Geothermal Heatpump Energy (credit: NREL)

Biomass Energy (credit Warren Gretz)

Wind Energy (credit: Todd Spink)

Solar Energy (credit: Dennis Schroeder)






























~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments will be welcomed below or via (please note if you do not want your email to be shared)


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6 April

A Chat With KIUC On The Solar Paradise of Kauai/Residents of Kauai Are Blessed With Sunshine And KIUC


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)

Remember the Island of Kauai (Kaua’i) of Hawaii featured in two of our posts in 2012 (March 29, March 30) where more than seventy Hollywood movies and  TV shows had been filmed ? I want to take you to this Garden Isle again not just for its idyllic scenery and laid back pace of life, but to learn from the experience of this island’s utility cooperative, KIUC (Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative), in integrating solar into their grid.

The day we arrived, during our drive to the hotel, I’ve noticed that there had been significant increase in residential and commercial solar PV and solar thermal on the island compared to previous year.

Residential solar installations across the street from Kaua’i Community College, 2013

More residential solar at Kauai (Kaua’i)

More Residential/Commercial solar at Kauai (Kaua’i) 2013

Commercial solar at a dentist’s office at Kauai (Kaua’i), 2013




















Thanks to Jim Kelly, the Communications Manager of KIUC, for introducing us to Mr. Brad Rockwell. Below is an interview with power supply manager, Mr. Brad Rockwell, of KIUC (Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative).

As of March, 2013, the Island of Kaua’i (of Hawaii) is one of the world’s leaders in per capita Solar PV (soon to be the #1 after the completion of its next solar installation project). In the past few years, several important renewable energy projects moved from the planning and permitting stage to  construction and installation. Alexander & Baldwin began construction on its 6-megawatt photovoltaic system at Port Allen, coupled with a new 3-megawatt battery storage system installed by KIUC. A 1.5-megawatt battery storage system was installed in Koloa to capture power generated by PV systems.


6-MW solar PV system at Port Allen

In Anahola, KIUC and the Homestead Community Development Corporation were awarded the contract to build Kauai’s largest photovoltaic system, a 12-megawatt photovoltaic project currently under reviewing process and is scheduled to begin this year.

Even though during recent decades, Kauai (Kaua’i) had been heavily dependent on fossil fuel for its energy use; record shows that in 2007, 95% of its energy use came from oil and 5% from renewables (no utility scale solar). The beautiful island of Kauai had a history of using biomass and hydropower for its energy consumption. As early as of 1980’s, about 50% of Kauai island’s energy/electricity use was through renewables by burning bagasse (residues of sugar cane). As sugar cane ran out and oil became cheaper, burning fossil fuel/oil became the main source of energy on the island. As the cost of oil becomes more and more expensive, with the plentiful sunshine on this tropical island, and the desire to preserve the island environment as clean and pristine as possible for future generations, incorporating solar energy seems to be the natural choice. There has been significant progress/incorporation made toward renewable/solar energy;currently 85% of energy use on the island is from oil and 15% from renewables. KIUC has a large solar plant under construction by the end of year 2013 and another biomass plant currently under construction. Within two years, KIUC is projecting to be at 60% from oil/40% from renewables level. Specifically for solar, about 2% of KIUC’s current energy supply comes from solar (whereas CA has about 0.3% of its supply from solar). On any given day, about 20-25% of the energy demand at Kauai is met by solar. KIUC has about 14.5-15 MW of solar on the grid right now during normal daytime demand of 60 MW (peak demand is about 72 MW after the sun goes down).  In 2015, after completion of the two 12 MW solar plants, KIUC will be expecting to meet more than 50% of its energy daytime load (any day) by solar.

There had been dramatically more solar installations (residential and commercial) on Kauai island in recent years because of the incentives from Federal Tax Credit (residential/commercial) of 30% of the total expenses, State Tax Credit for solar thermal system (lesser of 35% of overall costs or $2250, $350/unit, $250,000 depending on if it is single family residency/multi-family residency/commercial), and solar water heating loan and rebate program with KIUC (teamed up with Kauai Community Federal Credit Union and Kauai County Housing Agency offering a 0% interest loan, repayment on a 60 monthly payback schedule). More detailed information on various incentives available to Kauai island or Hawaii may be found at: The capping on state tax credit is around $5000 per system, with 5 KW as the defining cap (2 systems with one being 2 KW and another being 3 KW is defined as one system) per system to avoid confusion. Lastly, I also found out about the Schedule Q (equivalent of the FIT (Feed-In-Tariff)) available to any energy producer at Kauai in selling excess energy to KIUC.

Customer generated power (Schedule Q or FIT (Feed-In-Tariff) is in effect!)

On the large-scale, utility side, the initial motive force driving KIUC into action in developing the first utility scale solar project was due to  Section 1603, Tax Grant at the federal level (, qualifying for the Safe Harbor provision where 5% of the project value had to be spent by end of 2011.

Some of the concerns regarding integrating solar into the grid were discussed:

  1. Firstly, the concern for solar penetration per circuit: where some mainland utility may set a 15% threshold penetration for/in solar, KIUC at Kauai has a circuit with 100% penetration on clear days. There does not appear to be any need to set a limit on solar penetration. This fact appears to be supported by another research result on High Penetration Projects in the US, by Ben Kroposki, PhD., PE of NREL at Another good source via US Department of Energy for high solar penetration through Sunshot Initiative
  2. Second concern is regarding the ramp rates: for example, a Puerto Rico utility with 0.5 MW per  minute movement limit would translate into requiring solar developer to have the appropriately sized battery storage capacity to meet that ramp rate. KIUC, with 60 MW demand during the day, has been able to handle 8-9 MW per minute without significant impact on frequency.

For a closer look at KIUC’s “On the Road to Renewables” 2011 Annual Report (<-click).

With the quadrupled cost of oil and the fact that KIUC is a cooperative welcoming renewables, in addition to federal and state incentives and Schedule Q (equivalent of Feed-In-Tariff), these are all reasons driving residents and KIUC toward the renewable/solar energy. We will look forward to 2015, the day when KIUC will be meeting 50% of its day time energy demand via solar, and to 2023 when KIUC will be meeting 50% of all of its energy demand via solar. Residents at Kauai are fortunate to have such a wonderful utility cooperative looking out for their interest. Let the sun shine upon this beautiful garden isle, forever be benefiting from trade wind and remaining pristine, free from pollution….

~have a bright and sunny day~

interviewed, written, photographed and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, video filmed by Michael Nunamaker

any of your questions/comments/suggestions will be welcomed at


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26 March

SSB 1234 of State of Iowa


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers

(Please click on red links below)

Another informative summary concerning state of Iowa’s passage to renewable energy, from our friend Paul Gipe, below:

Proposal Four Times Comparable Size of Los Angeles DWP’s Solar FIT

Comparable to Gainesville, Florida’s Annual Per Capita Rate

Payment for Wind to be Based on Utility’s Rate of Return

Could the conservative heartland state of Iowa breach the dam holding back feed-in tariffs for renewable energy in the US when self-styled “progressive” states such as California continue to dawdle? That is the possible implication of a vote by the Agriculture Committee of Iowa’s state Senate Thursday, 7 March 2013.

Political observers and the media often overlook mid-western states in deference to presumably more trendsetting states on the west coast. However, many  of the progressive movements in US history have grown out of grassroots campaigns in the nation’s heartland. The same could be true for feed-in tariffs.

The bill, SSB 1234, has a long ways to go should it ever become law, and the odds against it, as in most other states, are very long as powerful forces begin aligning against it. Nevertheless, the bill now moves to the Senate floor.

Significantly, the bill passed the Agriculture Committee unanimously. That is, the bill not only received the support of Democrats in the Democratically controlled chamber, but also support by Republicans on the committee. This bodes well for at least consideration by the Republican controlled House should the bill pass the Senate.

In another departure for much of the current discussion across the country and in particular on proposals for feed-in tariffs, SSB 1234 is not about solar photovoltaics. No, the bill is aimed at distributed wind energy and is limited to projects less than 20 MW.

Iowa knows a lot about wind energy and it is comfortable with the technology. In 2012, Iowa produced 24.5% of generation by in-state wind energy, far more than the one-time leader California’s 5%. Even in absolute numbers, Iowa’s 14 TWh of wind generation exceeded that of California’s 10 TWh in 2012.

However, nearly all wind energy in Iowa is found in large wind power plants developed by multinational utility companies. Only a very small percentage of Iowa’s wind generation is produced by small, distributed projects and even less is owned by Iowans themselves.

The bill allows distributed wind projects to account for one-half of the annual growth in residential electricity consumption. One estimate is that this could be up to 60 MW per year. If true, Iowa’s proposal is four times greater than the much heralded, some would say over hyped, feed-in tariff program of Los Angeles’ Department of Water & Power that is limited to 20 MW per year.

Iowa’s SSB 1234 is a milestone in renewable policy proposals in the US since Tea Party reactionaries seized legislatures across the country in 2010. As one activist suggested, this could finally be a sign of brightening fortunes for feed-in tariffs.

Unlike advocates in other states, where solar only bills monopolize feed-in tariff discussion, renewable proponents in Iowa are more inclusive. Proponents of SSB 1234 hope to add biomass and solar once the bill reaches the floor of the Senate.

One of the bill’s key features is using the connecting utility’s regulated rate of return in calculating the tariff that would be paid under the standard offer contract. Renewable advocates have long proposed that distributed or locally-owned renewables should be paid a tariff that includes calculation of a rate of return equal to that granted electric utilities. In most countries and in most proposals in North America, however, regulators use a much lower rate of return for investment in distributed renewables than the utilities receive themselves. Sometimes the return acceptable to regulators for distributed renewables is half that received by regulated utilities.

Summary of Key Features

Program cap: ½ of annual retail electricity consumption growth

Project cap: 20 MW

Geographic limit: only on agricultural land

Interconnection: mandatory for utilities

Tariff determination: based on cost to utility, inclusive of the utility’s regulated rate of return

Contract term: 10 years

Review: biannual

SSB1234 Bill History

SSB1234 Bill Contents

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments or suggestions will be welcomed at


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10 March

Let’s Join The Movement!


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click red links below)

After I’ve tweeted, Facebooked, Google+, and Linkedin , calling for attention to  FIT (Feed-In-Tariff) for Renewables in our March 9, 2013 post, so that USA won’t be left too far behind rest of the world in our race toward to renewable energy to save our planet, I’ve received an email which led to this link/site:

FITpetition is a grassroot organization advocating for a national feed-in-tariff (FIT).  A FIT is designed to accelerate the development of renewable generation projects up to 20 MW in size, including solar, wind, biomass, and wave. This organization is planning a petition drive to, wanting President Obama and Congress to know a practical non-partisan plan to gradually transition away from conventional generation technologies.  If you are in support of renewable energy and would like to be notified when the petition drive begins, visit the site and click on JOIN. Be part of the movement in helping our nation to transition into the renewable energy age! Be part of the movement that will partake in reducing the CO2 emission and enabling our world to be a cleaner, healthier, and war-free world.

~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments and suggestions are welcomed at

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