Senator Schatz is Wrong about Wind Energy

Panos Prevedouros, a professor of engineering at the University of Hawaii
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Panos Prevedouros, PHD, professor of Engineering at the University of Hawaii

BY PANOS PREVEDOUROS PHD – A TV ad started last week shows U.S. Senator Brian Schatz promoting “energy that’s moving Hawaii forward. Senator Brian Schatz is leading the effort to harness our incredible wind energy potential with tax credits to grow wind energy production that would create thousands of new jobs and clean energy.”

Hawaii residents from Waianae to Kahuku, from Molokai to Lanai, and everywhere in the between dislike wind turbines. Senator Schatz promotes more taxpayer monies for special interests who are peddling a technology that cannot make it on its own. He is wrong for the following reasons.


Independently from any politics, a Punahou and UH-Manoa graduate student and I conducted detailed research on cost effective energy solutions for Hawaii, by examining all major energy sources available to Hawaii. A summary of our work was accepted by Pacific Business News last month, and was published this week: Making the Case for Liquefied Natural Gas.

Our research concluded that wind and solar power plants are ineffective; they require multimillion dollar subsidies. The solar energy in our research was the power plant type that consumes land in order to produce some daytime electricity, similar to the 36 acres wasted by the Pohoiki plant at Kalaeloa to produce only 5 MW.

On the other hand, solar photovoltaic panels have been locally accepted by thousands of homeowners and businesses. Rooftop PV is an incremental, distributed power source with near zero visual or other negative impacts for Hawaii, as I explained here: Big Rooftop Solar Panels Make Sense in Hawaii – without Any Subsidies! Rooftop PV supports dozens of local small businesses.

Recently BMW decided to locate its electric vehicle chassis assembly in a region of Washington State because the local electricity rate is 3 cents (!) per kilowatt-hour. HECO’s rate on Oahu is over 33 cents and thanks to Senator Schatz’s flawed advocacy, our electricity costs will increase, and Hawaii will become increasingly uncompetitive.

I urge Senator Schatz to review the three page summary of our research titled The Next 100 MW Power Plant for Oahu and modify his views about renewable energy. America’s future cannot be supported by intermittent, unreliable and expensive energy.

Hawaii does not need unsightly turbines and cannot afford their cost and flaky reliability. And please stop bragging about the jobs. Hawaii has fewer than 50 turbines and fewer than 50 people are located here to manage them … that is, when the turbines are not down due to fires or other self-inflicted damage.

Happy Thanksgiving and Aloha.






  1. Brian Schatz is a typical Party Member, espousing whatever the Corrupt Powers in Washington, D.C. tell him to say. Here is a 40 year old neophyte telling us that Climate Change is one of the biggest worries we face today. Hell, 38 years ago when he was 2 years old, we were told to worry about the next Ice Age.

    Brian likes his $175,000 a year salary that he gets, not bad for a former sheep herder in college.

  2. B.S. is for this, B.Obama's library, & SSM – SB1. His brother, asst. to the DOE boss, is connected to alot of organizations. One of them is, Freedom to Marry, An PR firm headed by Evan Wolfson, founder and president of , who thinks that critical mass of public support, creates climate for the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution,"
    More @….
    When has B.S. become anything else than a tool of the popularity polls?

  3. One could say that this is so obvious even the professor got it right, with the help of a Punahou graduate, of course.

  4. Wind power has brought new investment and economic development to Hawaii while helping to diversify the state’s energy mix.

    Powering over 115,000 average Hawaiian homes, 206 megawatts of installed wind capacity is creating jobs in fuel-free, pollution-free energy: two important considerations for the state.

    The federal Production Tax Credit for wind power provides a fair market environment for wind power to flourish against extremely well-entrenched, more traditional forms of generation. In many wind-rich areas, wind power is cost-competitive with its contemporaries. With weather patterns that vary on the order of hours, wind is just as reliable, if not more so, than fossil fueled plants that may cut out without warning.

    The state of Hawaii has 195 wind turbines, supporting up to 500 jobs and attracting a capital investment of more than $400 million. Using no water, Hawaii wind saves more than 175 million gallons of fresh water per year. Furthermore, Hawaiian wind power will offset 480 thousand metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, the equivalent of taking 85,000 cars off the road.

    A vibrant and diverse ecosystem such as Hawaii’s deserves an equally vibrant and diverse energy mix. Wind power, reliable, affordable, and clean, serves as an excellent contribution to that mix.

  5. Any reason why ocean energy technology was not looked at, i.e. OTEC, wave energy, etc.? Also, as a reminder, Hawai`i has taken a position against having a nuclear generating facility that is land-based (I understand there are a number of nuclear generators on ships in Pearl Harbor…..)

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