Letters: Who Deserves Molokaʻi Renewable Energy Project and Electoral College Should Change
Molokaʻi Deserves True Community Based Renewable Energy
As you may know by now, Hawaiian Electric, as required by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), is planning to seek proposals for their “Phase 2” Community Based Renewable Energy (CBRE) project on Molokaʻi in early 2021.
The timing of the CBRE request for proposal is an opportunity for Molokaʻi to formalize its own grassroots cooperative and compete for a project that will reduce our reliance on diesel generated electricity, improve grid resiliency, and bring support and relief to our overburdened rate payers.
Molokaʻi community members have joined together to create Molokaʻi Renewable Energy Cooperative (MREC) and are preparing to submit the coopʻs first project, a 2.75MW solar plus battery project, which could meet the electric needs of 1000 households. Our group of community members have been working towards energy independence on Molokaʻi for several years leading up to this project.
A few weeks ago, Hawaiian Electric announced that its own “self-build team” would be bidding for this project, and their community outreach and meetings are already underway. They have announced a public online presentation for Dec 2 for which they will only be accepting written comments and questions.
At this point, the choice of project awardee will be determined by Hawaiian Electric’s RFP team, which means that Hawaiian Electric itself will be the one deciding whether to award the contract to their own company or to another bidder, such as our community-based cooperative. It seems that no matter how objective the RFP team tries to be, it is a fundamentally unfair competition.
The Public Utilities Commission is currently allowing the self-build team to bid on this project under very strict rules requiring that the team is “firewalled” from the Hawaiian Electric RFP team that will be evaluating the bids. However the self-build team has been caught multiple times in the last month breaking the rules of this firewall and their conduct is currently under review by the PUC.
We urge our Molokaʻi community and our lawmakers to call upon the PUC for fairness: to restrict the self-build team from directly applying and competing for community based renewable energy on Molokaʻi.
You can submit your comment here, https://puc.hawaii.gov/contact/public-comments/, referencing docket 2015-0389.
As the Molokaʻi Renewable Energy Cooperative continues to formalize its cooperative, outreach, and planning efforts, Molokaʻi residents are invited to join our volunteer working group to help realize our vision in which “100% of Molokaʻi’s electricity needs are met through renewable energy sources that are affordable, sustainable, culturally compatible, and environmentally friendly.” — Todd Yamashita, MREC Board President, Lori Buchanan, MREC Board Vice President, Christopher OʻBrien, MREC Board Treasurer Sequoya, MREC Board Secretary, Makena Fernandez, MREC Board Member
Presidential Electoral College Should Change from Winner Take All to Percentage of Vote
The debate has started again as to whether the US Constitution should be amended in order to change the presidential election process. Some promote eliminating the Electoral College in favor of a direct popular vote for president while others believe the Electoral College should remain unchanged.
Just as compromise solved the initial problems of the framers so it is that compromise can solve this problem. The solution is to change the electoral votes to electoral points and reward each candidate a percentage of points based on the percentage of popular votes received in each state.
This would eliminate the “winner take all” system thus allowing for all the votes to count. A voter is more apt to believe their vote counted when a percentage of popular votes are taken into account rather than the “all or nothing” system currently in existence.
Further, this new system would integrate the desire for a popular vote for president with the need for the individual states to determine who actually gets elected.
For 2020 multiplying the percentage of votes each candidate received (in each state) times the number of electoral votes (in each state) results in the following: Biden 267.23 and Trump 252.33. Multiplying the percentage of popular votes each candidate received (nationwide) times the total number of electoral votes (538) results in the following: Biden 274.92 and Trump 253.40. — Joe Bialek, Cleveland, OH