No to undersea cable; yes to hydroelectric power

Who really believes a $700 million cable from Maui to Oahu will result in lower bills for Maui residents?

Try this. For less than $700 million we can build a desalination plant, perhaps in the Kaupo area, piping clean water up to an attractively designed reservoir, sending the water back down as needed for firm, clean hydroelectric power. Most of the operation would be powered by wind and solar power, especially the wind power which we are wasting due to the grid’s inability to store it and the rooftop photovoltaic, which sounds clean but comes back to us only after being stored in an inefficient oil-based grid. Thus we convert the storage of our alternative power from a fossil fuel-dependent grid battery to a clean, firm and sustainable hydroelectric battery.

Don’t get bogged down in the details. Something like this is very doable given the voice of the people, political will and one other thing – regulating Hawaiian Electric Co. How can the sustainable power future of our islands be entrusted to a for-profit monopoly run by American Savings Bank? This kind of hangover from the plantation culture is unthinkable in any civilized society.

If we want a sustainable energy future that could set an example to the world, we have to start by regulating the industry so its responsibility is to the people of this state, not to its stockholders.

Jeremy Levien