Hawaii's governor touts geothermal energy on state's Big Island

The governor of the US state of Hawaii is touting geothermal energy, describing it as an important resource that every resident should embrace.

Speaking at the Hilo Yacht Club in Hilo, Hawaii, this week Gov. Neil Abercrombie said, "I realize that there's been discussion and interest and varying views, but with respect to the utilization (of geothermal), I hope that conversation can come to a quick conclusion," he said as he prepared to sign a geothermal bill into law.

That bill, Senate Bill 2953, guarantees that 100 percent of royalties for using geothermal resources on Hawaiian Home Lands will be paid to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Abercrombie said he hopes the law will prompt the state's Public Utilities Commission to be more aggressive in promoting the development of Hawaii's  geothermal resources.

“All over the world … where there are geothermal resources, they are being explored to the maximum. They are being utilized to the maximum,” he said.

"If there is anything on Earth, or in Earth, that says to us as a species, as stewards of this planet, that here is a resource for your utilization and for your proper regard, and to be a steward of, it's geothermal," he said. "And the Big Island could not be better situated for it."

Already under development on Hawaii's Big Island is a 50 MW geothermal project under the aegis of the Hawaii Electric Light Co.

Presently, the 38 MW Puna Geothermal Venture plant near Pohoiki is the only source of geothermal power in the state.

That is clearly not enough, given the availability of the resource in Hawaii, Abercrombie said.

 “This is a resource for the 21st Century in terms of alternative and renewable energy that probably is inexhaustible, and probably bodes as well as anything on the face of the earth to move us away from oil dependency and carbon-based dependency,” he said.

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Gov. Neil Abercrombie

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