Sunday, August 29, 2010
Mega Watt to Mai Tai--How Hawaii Uses Energy
Energy production in HI sparks the imagination. Think of all the natural resources available: Wind, Solar, Geothermal (big island), Hydro, biomass, ocean thermal, and tidal. So where then does all the energy come from? The vast majority is from petroleum, shipped in and refined locally.
Here is a breakdown of power production from this HI government source:
If we make a quick calculation and solve for the equivalent MWe plant size we can get an idea of the size of plant to cover an entire Island's production or to cover the production from oil import. See also the annual cost (2007) of the imported oil. (Assumes 100% availability of the plant and average power use (no peaking))
A couple of notes as we take a look at the data. Existing plant capacity seems adequate especially considering that energy use is down since 2007. This may be the reason why there is not a big driver to radically change how HI produces energy. Notice that the use of municipal solid waste in Honolulu produces energy equivalent to a 35MWe plant. Trash is a big deal in HI and it is getting worse.
Municipal Solid Waste
Honolulu makes up 80 percent of Hawaii's population and generates nearly 1.6 million tons of garbage a year. More than a third of the trash is incinerated to generate electricity. The remaining garbage is sent to the 21-year-old Waimanalo Gulch landfill on the island of Oahu's southwestern coast. Monday's agreement between the city and Chutz' firm requires the garbage that cannot be burned to be sent to the Waimanalo Gulch landfill, which must close by July 2012. Around that same time, the city hopes to start operating a third trash furnace at its electricity-generating plant in Kapolei, allowing the burning of about 902,000 tons a year.