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Council may spend $200K on energy plan

Councilmembers JoAnn Yukimura and Jay Furfaro recently introduced a resolution requesting Mayor Bryan Baptiste prepare, through the Office of Economic Development, an energy sustainability plan for the county of Kaua‘i.

According to the resolution, the plan will identify opportunities and threats, incentives and disincentives of energy efficiency and conservation, including education programs for the community.

The plan will also focus on the development of renewable and alternative power and fuel resources within the county and the community.

In order for such a plan to be implemented, the council needs to introduce an appropriations bill releasing $200,000 the council has in a contingency fund.

“The councilmembers unanimously decided to set that money aside,” Furfaro said.

The money would have to move through a specific line item, Yukimura said.

“At that point the administration would have access to funds and move forward,” said Gary Heu, with the mayor’s office.

A potential model for Kaua‘i’s energy sustainability plan is the one on the Big Island.

Yukimura said the plan for the Big Island, which was presented last October, would give a good idea of what a plan could be like for Kaua‘i.

“It’s not like we would have to reinvent the wheel,” Yukimura said.

The Big Island plan assessed how the population uses energy and how to become less dependent on it, Yukimura said.

The plan for the Big Island analyzed how the island could become less vulnerable economically, environmentally and fiscally, she added.

Furfaro also cited the Big Island’s energy

sustainability plan and how it could possibly translate to Kaua‘i’s needs.

“It’s all very important for our life sustainability plan for not only the welfare of our community, but our economy as well,” Furfaro said. “It’s a template we want to follow.”

Furfaro pointed out that an important part of the resolution focuses on the Hawaiian concept of “konohiki,” which restricts the use of essential natural resources in order to provide for all.

“It references taking and using what you need for the right reasons,” Furfaro said.

Furfaro said a template for the plan might be ready as early as August.

“We will be working closely with the Office of Economic Development to create a template of the energy sustainability plan,” Furfaro said. “The big part (of the plan) is being able to have stakeholders being part of the process.”

According to the resolution, the Office of Economic Development shall work with stakeholders, including Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative, Kaua‘i Economic Development Board, Apollo Kaua‘i, Malama Kaua‘i, Kaua‘i Community College, Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce and other community, business and government representatives.

Other stakeholders include academics and experts in such fields as energy efficiency, renewable and alternative energy sources, and planning and environmental studies.

The public would also be a stakeholder through community meetings and other public outreach efforts.

According to Furfaro, a meeting will be held on June 25 to stimulate public interest in the resolution.

A reading of the appropriations bill could possibly take place on the same day, Furfaro added.

Furfaro said the point of the resolution is to move forward and analyze the condition of Kaua‘i.

“The whole intent of the plan is to really get people involved in energy efficiency,” Furfaro said.

• Rachel Gehrlein, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or rgehrlein@kauaipubco.

com.

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