Geothermal Energy: Clean, safe, abundant


BY FRED HEMMINGS – Geothermal energy is clean, safe and abundant and is firm capacity.

Wind and solar are great but not firm capacity. Geo thermal could energize the entire big isle with enough energy left over to also create another form of energy to be exported.

Our citizens pay the highest prices at about 34 cents a KWH for electricity. The National average last I checked was 10-12 cents.

Geothermal if support and not hindered by needless fees and red tape could dramatically reduce the cost of energy on the Big Isle. If you want to clean the environment, help the poor,reduce costs of living such as the punitive energy costs please support geothermal energy.

Hawaii has the most potential for renewable energy and yet we are 90 plus percent dependent on fossil fuels. Ironically,Hawaii is one of the biggest per capita polluting states thanks in part to the environmental extremists who have in the past opposed geo thermal.

There have been erroneous claims that geothermal is fracking. Geothermal is not fracking.

It is important to note that New Zealand get about 10 % of their nations energy cleanly and inexpensively from geo thermal., Our one 30 MW well at Puna has been operating for years despite the mindless opposition to it in the eighties.

It has produced clean efficient energy for all these years.

Yet unfounded opposition continues.

The just say NO syndrome where the loudest and sometime most misinformed minority rules the day has thwarted many beneficial programs for Hawaii such as the Super Ferry and Geothermal. Please join me and reasonable people in supporting much need energy diversity including geo thermal.


Fred Hemmings is a former state senator, energy expert and world champion surfer who lives in Kailua, Hawaii.




  1. geothermal energy is a great way to go,i agree. i also think that the shale oil development can also have a positive effect for hawaii.the technology to extract the oil and natural gas from the shale rocks have greatly improved in the last decade and full scale production is ramping up this year.there is estimated that in one shale oil area,we have enough oil reserves equal to at least 4 times the reserves of saudi arabia and kuwait at their start.and we have atleast 25 more shale oil areas under production!! the mainland is geared to become the #1 oil producer in the world in a couple of years or so.unfortunately,Hawaii does not have any shale oil.but we should consider importing natural gas,as LNG from the mainland for an alternative energy generate electricity,to fuel our motor vehicles,etc. after geothermal natural gas is the cheapest.let's get the oil companies to build the infrastructure here.we wouldn't even need to use any taxpayer money!

  2. Do people know that the waste generated by geothermal is the gaseous form of dihydrogen oxide? Do you know what that does to metal? If you get too much of that in your lungs you will DIE!

  3. Mr. Hemmings, Thank you for writing in support of Geothermal development in Hawaii. I agree that Geothermal is the most promising solution for long-term energy independence with the lowest associated adverse environmental cost. This can be difficult to perceive for Hawaii's people, largely due to the global scale at which environmental impact occurs under current energy generation. Most extracting, processing and refining of fossil fuels occurs far away and many Hawaii residents don't feel the environmental effects. In comparison, impacts from Geothermal energy production are so small as to be negligible. However, geothermal resources in Hawaii are located in rural parts of the State where industry in non-existent. So, although impacts are negligible they are perceived as significant by residents. What we need to understand is that if we continue expecting on-demand power, in-State power generation must be developed. Additionally, solar and wind cannot provide this on-demand, base load energy.

  4. That said, advancements in non-chemical based fracking techniques, turbine power generation and water treatment technologies have created a geothermal industry that is vastly different from that being employed by PGV today. It is rarely possible to have zero impact, but I believe these technologies properly mitigate environmental impacts and manage environmental risk to acceptable levels.

  5. Advocating for an energy technology in a philosophical vacuum when the hazards associated with that technology are far away from your home and your child's school is nothing less than callous and self-serving. It would better if people educated themselves before they spoke. Just because a politician is a surfer doesn't mean he respects the environment, and Mr Hemmings clearly doesn't respect the human beings on the ground who understand the repercussions of geothermal energy far better than he. To invoke usage in New Zealand while ignoring their exorbitant electricity bills is to repeat the same empty promise of lowering rates in Hawaii while 20 years of geothermal production have only kept Big Island rates 20% higher than Oahu and Maui. All the while, the DOH does not require PGV to monitor heavy metal contaminants discharged into the air or the massive freshwater aquifer. Makes it easy to trumpet claims that geothermal energy is "safe and clean" when you do not test for contaminants. Even current air monitoring for hydrogen sulfide was again proven deficient by the March 13, 2013 emergency venting in which PGV's on site monitors read 27ppb while Civil Defense emergency response teams had readings in the surrounding communities of 3000ppb. The DOH allows PGV to self monitor and self report so the industry can control the picture. How politicians can openly sell something that is based on lies and simultaneously call others "mindless" is beyond me. I guess that is how cynical people get when money is involved.

    By the way, since when did industrial pollution ever help poor people. It's the poor neighborhoods that are being targeted for geothermal expansion. Coincidence? I think not. Families in Puna are literally being terrorized (I don't use the term lightly), as they watch legislators continue to deregulate industrial expansion to the point where they won't know if their homes, farms and ancestral lands, will be rendered uninhabitable by cumulative pollution over the coming decades. This type of industry self-regulation, is the same capitalist hubris that brought us the BP oil spill, hundreds of Superfund sites and the 2008 financial crisis.

    Seems like we always have to wait for a catastrophe before big money is kept in check. Until then, everybody wants a piece of the action. Keep believing those ads. Don't think too hard, you might get a cramp.

  6. US Geological Survey has addressed the difference between gasses coming from the volcano and gasses coming from geothermal production. Volcano self abates H2S and produces primarily S02, a lung irritant. Geothermal, particularly in Hawaii compared to other parts of the world, puts out large amounts of H2S, hydrogen sulfide, which is potent a neurotoxin, even at low levels over time. EPA has finally just started admitting this despite Gas/Oil industry pressure. Greenwashing advertising likes to avoid this and many other little details. Doesn't fit with the "clean and safe" imagery they would like you to go to bed with. If only there were advertising budgets to advocate for common sense safeguards for the environment and public health rather than the incessant "drill baby drill." That's all Hemmings is pushing for whether he knows it or not. "mindless"?

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