Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Maui Body and Soil Health Conference on Maui in January 2011 Early Registration.

Aloha World,

I am making a quick posting in the time I have, but I wanted to share with everyone that all the details for the up coming Maui Body and Soil Health Conference in it's 10th year, is adding a third day to the program with a blow-out celebration at the end.

This Non-Profit Event has become a staple on Maui and is supported by so many local small farmers and the County of Maui that it keeps out growing it's previous size. We are definitely indebted to our host that allows us to create such a wonderful outdoor event among an actively growing Organic Farm under the Bright Hawaiian Sun and the cool breeze of up-country Maui that has made this become such a must attend conference.

The food is incredible, the hospitality is overwhelming and the speakers are top notch speakers that are paid thousands of dollars to speak at other conferences and give their time to us to help benefit those on Maui,

So not only is this conference a fraction of what it would cost for attendance and travel if you live on Maui, but it;s a GREAT value if you are heading or even think about coming to Maui in January, and we know most people would love to come to Maui in January of 2011.

Combined with the already incredible pricing for this conference, the travel industry has so many super low priced deals for people to come to Maui, it would be crazy not to take advantage of the early bird registration and the early bird travel discounts. It sound like more than a win-win deal to me, in fact those that do attend will go away with more than they even envisioned.

Well, may alarm is reminding me it's time to to go and that you should get over to and get that early registration in now. If you are on Maui, or not, there is a soil analysis available for a short time at a discounted price with the ability to talk to the experts about it in an intimate one on one basis while relaxing on Maui.

Mahalo and enjoy the trip in January,


P.S. I just added the Flight Network to the right side of this blog. Check their pricing on travel, it seems pretty competitve with PriceLine and Orbitz or direct booking.
I would be very interested in your comparisons with Flight Network. Just leave a comment below.

Again it's

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Beginning of the Century the Corporations and Drug Companies used Data to Steer us Where we are.

There are a number of articles and various types of interviews and information about the Drug Companies creating a disease to sell drugs. Most drugs have the side effect listing the very thing you are taking it to prevent or cure.

I have witnessed first had a gathering of hundreds of people at a dinner celebration with high tech entertainment and an amazing amount of money spent by the drug companies to court there following of pharmacies, doctors and who know who else.

Here is some info on this sort of thing. A Canadian Podcast about the effect 911 and the corporations are having on Canada. The show segment is

Unbought and Unbossed #187 Sept 1, 2010

More on this at

A Video from Media Monarchy #179.

Leave me a comment and let me know if this is useful info for you. Thanks!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

3am, Cane Smoke, Sulfur and Coffee

Tis the season for windless days and Cane Sugar burning on Maui. I grew up with Cane Burning and never minded it and actually enjoyed watching it. These days with all the controversy over the toxicity of the smoke and all the "extra" stuff in the fields, it's not an easy subject. It's part of a past culture and something that many owe a living to and yet Maui is moving to a different future and trying to retain it's past ands still increase it's population.

I am a fan of Maui's History and love to read about the last 100 years and even my Family had a hand in shaping it to some degree as owners of an old country store that we bought when I was a kid, it's no longer there and later building the first "modern" theater on Maui in many years. I ran the projectors and helped manage it with my late Mother and Father and many friends that had invested in the venture my Father started. So the history and culture of Maui is something I love to study, but as part of an industry that is moving towards a highly sophisticated and technologically advanced future for not only Maui, but the world, I have to realize that holding on to the past is fruitless, while learning from it as you move forward is priceless.

Back to the Sugar Cane Burning, I always lived up-country in Haiku until the last 10 years when I moved to Kahului amid and downwind of the Sugar Cane Burning. I never realized at first why my house smelled of sulfur about 3am during windless mornings. Between Maui Land and Pines power plant a block away, Maui Electrics Steam Powerplant and Cane Burning, on windless mornings as the temperature cooled and the temperature inversion of the cold air trapping the warm air close to the ground, was introduced to the smell of all that filling my house and being strong enough to wake me, as it did this morning.

Maui Pine is gone, Maui Electric has installed many features to clean it's emissions, which leaves the Sugar Burning. So I would have to say much of it comes from the Cane Burning. With the price of housing having dropped radically, a move to another location is out of the question, so what do I do? Hey, just grin and bear it, look for the bright side and get up in the dark and be the first customers in Starbuck's Air-Conditioned store, have my coffee, read the Maui News, Honolulu Star Advertisor, Wall Street Journal and blog about it.
That works for me at the moment.

Now as the sun rises I have to pick up my 7 year old rambunctious grandson and head for the Maui Community Workday sponsor installation of a garden at Haiku School. Having attended Haiku School in 7th and 8th grade, I was one of the last classes to really experience the old farming and gardening practices at schools and enjoy the fruits of our labor in the cafeteria and learn to love Watercress grown below the school closs to the ocean in a hidden stream by a long time Watercress farming family.

So taking my grandson so many years ago to restart a garden at Haiku School is a pleasure. He goes to school in Kahului and has a lot of homework to do, so after lunch when we are done working on the garden we will take a trip maybe to the Pauwela Lighthouse, another of my old stomping grounds and enjoy the view while doing some of his homework.

Incorporating what is, respecting what was and having faith in what will be is about the only way to get by and for now I will enjoy the moment and day with my grandson.

Here are some pictures of my view this morning.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Why Can't the Electric Grid on Maui Take all the Alternative Power Available?

I'm often asked why Maui Electric has a limit on adding alternative energy such as Wind or Solar. Actually Maui has quite a bit of alternative power with Kaheawa, now called First Wind operating 20 Windmills that are running down the slopes of the West Maui Mountains. The equipment has been sitting on Maui waiting for the approvals.

On the southern slopes of Haleakala is another set of big Windmills called Auahi that will be built soon. This project was first started by Shell Oil Co. and was preferred over a second set of Windmills at the First Wind site because of the possibility that if the wind stops at one wind farm, it might still be blowing at another.

Sixteen years ago I helped to maintain a joint venture solar electric system located back up in the keawe trees above what is now the Maui High Tech Park. It was a very large installation, at least at that time, with 3 inverters feeding up to 15 kw into each of the 3 phases of the grid.

We spent many hours tracking down burnt connections under the solar panels because of the high DC voltages and current. A loose or bad connection becomes a resistor and generated heat or wattage that would literally melt the box covers. In fact, that was part of how we found the problems, by visually inspecting the covers, but as time went on the parts became scarce and reuse of old covers were the practice. After that it required a bit more logical trouble shooting of the panels to find the fault.

Another draw back was the dusty conditions would drop the output significantly and require us to take a big tank of water mounted on a trailer with a power washer, normally used to wash lines, insulators and substation equipment, to wash down the panels.

Eventually the installation was decommissioned after at least one rebuild and rewiring.

There are plans in the works for third party Algae production to be used in the fuel supply. Some Hydro, but as early as the 1920's, Maui was run mostly by Hydro Electric Plants built by the Sugar companies. In fact, Maui Electric was only a distribution company. They ran the lines and sold the power and the latest lines of Kelvinator and other Electric Appliances, as they were produced and people had lines run to them and the money to buy and use them.

In the 1930's, Maui experienced several years of drought conditions and the Sugar Companies had a tough time supplying their needs, let alone the needs of a now growing consumer base of electricity.

Eventually Maui Electric built it's first steam generation plant that is still in operation by the Kahului harbor. The next plant built was in the undeveloped Maalaea mud flats. It began as a couple of small diesel powered generators. Today it operates a number of different generators, driven from tractor style Diesel engines, a couple of locomotive engines that actually look like two train cars without the rails, about 5 more diesel run engines that look like they are from small cruise ships, and some that look like they came off a huge cruise ship and then the back bone jet engine type generators that use the waste heat to run another generator.

Because of the time to start and stop all these engines, it's very hard to just come on line or drop off line easily. They all don't like being jerked around. Based on load and now some automation, the plants generally run the more efficient ones all the time and bring on the less efficient engines as the load is required or predicted.

In addition, HC&S (Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar), supplies an agreed upon amount to the grid. So this is an expected source. There used to be other sources like the Lahaina Sugar Mill and the Paia Sugar Mill, but those shut down and the difference had to be made up by adding more generation to Maalaea.

Even without intermittent energy feeds like wind and solar, Maui Electric was required by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to meet the needs of Maui's Consumers. This means that then and even now, engines have to be running as reserve power. This adds to the expense, but is the only way Maui Electric can insure enough power for the consumers.

On any given day a tree, car accident, birds and even geckos in equipment can cause a fault that can take a big generator off line and the sudden loss has operators scrambling to try and maintain the grid, but many times it can result in a cascading loss of power as relays automatically turn off power to various section of Maui and try to protect the equipment and keep power flowing to most of the people.

A few years, ago prior to the approval of adding new generation, during peak loading times like when everyone is working or just getting home and turning on their whole house on a hot day, generation was pushed to the Max. It was a familiar and tense time to see the main dispatchers watching closely, as demand increased and voltage was on the verge of dropping, while they were online with the power plants and their hand on the switch ready to drop entire neighborhoods in the event the maximum output was pushed beyond it's limits. Better to lose one area than the whole island.

The problem with losing power in most cases is that it's not a matter of just switching the power back on. It has to be increased slowly and brought back a section at a time. If the reason for the fault was unknown, it required a complete inspection of miles of line before the power could be restored. So as not to restore power back into a fault that could be caused by a tree branch, fallen line or a car accident, restoring power in these situations could result in a deadly result if a line is in close proximity of people or draped across a car.

So now as alternative energy providers come on the grid with intermittent power, such as windmills that can stop turning in less than a half hour or only see wind at a limited number of places. With solar, a cloud rolls over and there goes that power.

So what is the answer?

Well storage of energy is a way to bridge those gaps and help maintain a reliable grid. The problem is in waiting for the technology and costs to make it affordable. It one thing to require a multi-million dollar operation to provide the storage, but it's pretty much cost prohibitive for the average consumer to invest in the solar or wind and provide the storage. People off the grid can attest to the cost and maintenance involved.

While technology catches up and costs go down, it's not too likely that every house and business will be able to afford and install systems without some sort of incentives or subsidies.

That's my non engineer explaination of the situation, but for more on the situation as it relates to the mainland North America, check out this National Geographic article by Joel Achenbach called "The 21st Century Grid--Can we fix the infrastructure that powers our lives?" published in the July 2010 edition, and get an even better explanation by Joel.