Two April 30 letters illustrate some truly simple truths.
One letter writer proposes we merely pump water uphill when the wind is blowing and we can generate hydropower when the wind fails. Ignoring, for the sake of argument, all engineering concerns, I foresee only one small problem: Which portion of pristine Maui uplands does he propose to drown to hold the water?
Another letter writer, upon knowledge that some Maui Electric Co. generators "are run at two-thirds to three-fourths of full speed," infers that there is really very little saving of fuel from the availability of wind energy, even when it is available. A not unreasonable deduction, if one assumes power generation efficiency can be inferred by common sense without reference to a complex factual context. In real-world power generation systems some diesel generators are always running in backup mode anyway, whether the primary source of rotation at a particular moment is wind, hydro, solar, diesel or any other source; and the energy consumed by an energized (in use) generator is many times that necessary to merely maintain its rotation (backup mode).
The simple truths are that real-world systems are almost never simple and nothing is quite as common as not having all the facts.
Theo M. Wender