Molokai Workshop

Native Hawaiians Renewable Energy Workshop 2004

Sustainable Solutions for a New Nation

Native Hawaiians Renewable Energy Workshop 2003


Makanio Ka'u is a renewable energy consultancy formed by Gay Chung, a native of Hawai'i who brings over 15 years of experience from the risk financing and risk management world. In March 2003, Makani o Ka'u coordinated workshops in the Kanaka Maoli communities of Kahului, Puna, Waimea, and Honolulu. Makani o Ka'u and Representatives from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO spoke about economic and environmental benefits of wind power and other renewable energy sources, Windpowering Native America, off-grid village power systems, ownership in new generation projects, and alleviating environmental impacts of conventional power generation on Hawaiian rural communities.

In September of 2003, Makani o Ka'u developed and discussed a draft document, Native Hawaiian Energy Governance Proposal, with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Board of Trustees at OHA's regularly scheduled monthly meeting in Honolulu. It is Makani o Ka'u's position that Native Hawaiians must have a strategic approach to energy governance to assist in achieving their primary goals of advocacy of native rights, protection of cultural assets, economic diversity, economic self-sufficiency, leveraging educational opportunities, stewardship of the environment and natural resources and protecting the health and welfare of their people.

The week of March 8-12, 2004 will see a new series of renewable energy workshops, featuring Native American experts in solar energy and solar/wind off-grid applications. Moloka'i and Kaua'i have been added to the schedule and we will kick off solar demonstration projects at Kanu o ka 'Aina charter schools. Native Hawaiian renewable energy advocate, Kealoha Peltier will talk story and Warren Bollmeier, a local renewable energy consultant will discuss specific renewable energy resources on each island, project opportunities, and provide a legislative update.

The workshops will reach an estimated 100-300 Native Hawaiians and will serve as a foundation for building a local knowledge base and local champions of renewable energy. The workshops will be attended by renewable energy advocates who are allies of Native Hawaiians and who desire a better understanding of local communities' goals in order to learn how to be better partners. The workshops will encourage cooperation and knowledge sharing which will add to our collective knowledge and enhance economies of scale in the development and funding process. Perhaps, most importantly, the workshops will kick off strategic partnerships with other native people who have developed expertise and who share our cultural value of malama, caring and nurturing our people and the land, air and water that sustain us.



This proposal suggests four steps to develop understanding within the Hawaiian Nation about the importance of creation of a Native Hawaiian Energy Policy. These four steps constitute a comprehensive strategy that will attract new investment and create a framework within which all necessary players-land trusts, federal, state and commercial electricity consumers, energy developers and investment communities-can function to benefit the Hawaiian Nation.
Policy development --- creation of a long-range vision relating to the sustainable use and conservation of the Hawaiian Nation's energy resources, culminating in an energy policy;
Capacity building --- improve resource governance through education of the broad stakeholder group on energy resource issues;
Policy implementation --- a review of regulatory and administrative procedures associated with energy development projects, and streamlining inefficient processes through institutional change;
Policy performance, review, and revision --- ongoing policy performance evaluations using pre-defined benchmarks, feedback, and oversight.


An Organic Approach to Policy Development The creation of an energy policy should follow a development path from Native Hawaiian community-based groups to increasingly broad stakeholder issues. Resource management developers have dubbed this the "organic approach"- much like a tree growing from the roots up through the trunk into the broad crown. Impacted communities, and their grass roots organizations, are legitimate stakeholders within the policy development and implementation process. A majority of the policy resolutions and recommendations developed should have origins within Native Hawaiian community issues, needs and values, placing them front and center within the policy.

A Need for Reform A new energy policy requires new administrative systems, rethinking institutions and institutional choices. Many rural Hawaiians and Hawaiian homesteaders are without electricity and water. Institutional reform of the Hawaiian Nation's administration of the public trust as it relates to the energy sector is badly needed.

Moving Forward For an energy policy to succeed, the Hawaiian Nation needs to create a vision of a renewable energy future free from dependence on imported, finite and polluting fuels and commit to utilizing its intellectual, economic, cultural and political capital to achieve energy independence. New investment in renewable energy projects should be led and controlled by the Hawaiian Nation. "He 'ike 'ana ia i ka pono." We must see the right thing to do and do it.




Makani o Ka'u is a renewable energy consultancy formed by Gay Chung, a native of Hawai'i who brings over 15 years of experience from the risk financing and risk management world. In February 2003, Makani o Ka'u surveyed different Native Hawaiian communities and individuals and found sufficient interest in renewable energy to coordinate workshops with representatives from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO.

These workshops were put together with the assistance of local Kanaka Maoli community activists and were held in Kahului, Puna, Waimea, and Honolulu. The interest level and attendance were high, and included representatives of state and local government.

The agenda included; economic and environmental benefits of wind power and other renewable energy sources, annual payments to landowners from land leases for wind projects, on-site use of wind power to cut power bills, ownership in new generation projects, alleviating environmental impacts of conventional power generation on Hawaiian rural communities.

Lessons Learned:

Keen interest in renewable energy in rural communities --- various homestead communities, charter schools, sustainable communities have been looking into renewable energy technologies both as alternative and or sole source and the first time access;
Desire for renewable energy based on sustainability concerns --- all communities expressed responsibility for stewardship of natural resources;
Rural communities understand their energy needs --- high level of understanding of usage and cost of energy trade-offs;
Rural communities desire independence from grid --- this was based on both inconsistent power from existing provider, high cost of energy, lack of access to the grid, negative perceptions of Hawaiian Electric Industries;
Understanding of economic development implication was mixed --- expressed desire for more information on big picture connection between using renewable energy for power, to stimulate economy, empower self-determination, create jobs and be in harmony with cultural values.



A strong desire for self-sufficiency and harmony with their environment informs Native Hawaiian communities' wish for affordable renewable energy technologies. The perception of the utility's role regarding access, cost, availability and choice is not positive. A missing element is the match of a skilled analysis of what technology or combination of technologies are appropriate for the renewable energy resources available tied to an analysis of their true cost and benefit. Communities require more concrete information in order to make informed choices on renewable energy. There was receptivity to the proposal for a long-term energy governance strategy. More workshops were requested specifically focusing on solar energy and wave and tidal energy technologies





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