Why I am running for KIUC’s board of directors

I love being a problem-solver. I feel blessed to have a natural ability to analyze a situation and come up with solutions, especially in situations that call for a sense of urgency. Life examples are my training and deployments in the United States Marine Corps and ocean life-guarding, where I had to watch a hundred people in the water and analyze who might be at risk. If you get it wrong, people die. In addition, I love numbers and trends. I follow, I mean, I follow all the news on climate change, sea-level rise AND all the possible new green technology that can mitigate and lessen the worst part of climate change, if we act fast enough.

My wife and I live in Wailua, and we had our honeymoon here in 1999. We were very grateful to be able to move here in 2001, as there was an opening for a child protective social worker. Being a father of two daughters, I have a passion for keiki and for defending those whose voices are not always heard. One of my main drives for running for the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative board of directors came after watching “Ice on Fire.” I highly recommend you watch this well-done documentary using this free link: www.hbo.com/documentaries/ice-on-fire. It features all the latest challenges and solutions and, most importantly, the many scientists who have spent their entire lives studying climate change and concluding that we only have about 10 years left to avoid the worst effects of CC. That’s where KIUC comes in. They are world leaders when it comes to transitioning to RE (renewable energy).

Dad always said you can be part of the solution or part of the problem. I would love to see the board and CEO be more vocal and use their influence for positive change. One example, of many, would be to study the total cost of ownership of electric vehicles vs. fossil fuel cars and trucks.

Today, most new electric cars and trucks are cheaper to own over five years then fossil fuel Ford F-150s. So, why are we still buying the exact things that are making our climate worst and costing KIUC and the county more money to adapt?

Same with the Water Department, Kaua‘i Police Department, Kaua‘i Fire Department, etc. This is where it starts to get really exciting, because more demand for EVs will allow KIUC to add more RE faster and bring rates down for everyone, AND Kaua‘i will have cleaner air to breath. That’s why I’m donating my KIUC stipend pay to get EV chargers in multifamily and low-income housing. I understand this is a big shift, and that it is what the experts say we need to do.

Don’t forget there’s great news and opportunity with this shift. Another fun action step we can take is to turn our annual meeting into a big electric exposition. Let’s seriously partner with all the folks who are trying to be part of the solution. Let’s call all the EV clubs and car dealers on the island and have them come out for a big ride-and-drive event.

Maybe there are some local bands and food trucks that could come out in force that want to have a party to fight climate change. Let’s invite all our leaders and they can test drive these EVs. During the actual meeting, the CEO and/or special speakers can update the audience on climate change and the EVs KIUC are buying or considering buying. Maybe it can grow to include some EV racing at the Westside track or a race to the top of Koke‘e.

These types of events are really catching on around the world. Sounds like fun. Are you in? Great, then please vote for me, as it’s always good to know someone in power (pun intended). Having achieved incredible strides in renewable energy so far, what is the future for electricity and energy generation on Kaua‘i?

It’s hard for most of us to imagine how the effects of climate change will be for us on Kaua‘i in the future. We cannot afford to be complacent and sit on our laurels and pat ourselves as we celebrate going to 55% RE last year or 70% soon. We need to press on and embrace new technology that comes along.

I’ve been taught in the business that you can have excuses or you can have results, but you can’t have both. Personally, I run all the excuses through this filter: I imagine talking to my future grandkids in 2050 (if I make it that long), and having them ask me, “Papa Steve, tell us why people didn’t move faster on climate change?” Most of our excuses won’t sound very solid when that generation is facing a harsher and harsher climate. However, any changes we make today will help this generation as well as the next.

In closing, just a quick note on Tesla being a little misunderstood and as a result, they still have a few haters hanging on. It’s good to know why Elon Musk launched Tesla in the first place. “Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” which should be a goal for all of us. Why? Global warming. In addition, Tesla is a great American business success story. Tesla has pushed the other large automotive makers to move faster on this as well as their Solar Glass Roof 3.0, and their power-storage products like the Powerwall 2. So, they should be given some credit for focusing on the solution and helping us all save money.

In fact, Tesla’s solar farm in partnership with KIUC has already saved us all money on our power bills. Lastly, they do a lot of good around the world in places like Puerto Rico and Australia, giving them vision and resources for transitioning off fossil fuel faster and cheaper than anyone thought possible. Thanks Tesla.

Lastly, my name is Steve Parsons, and I’m running for KIUC’s board of directors. The Marine Corps motto is “Semper Fidelis,” or “Semper Fi,” and it means “always faithful.” If you want a hard-charging Gulf War Marine veteran with a passion for fighting climate change, who will work hard to bring rates down and prioritize cleaner air to breathe, please vote for me. Why? Semper Fi.


Steve Parsons is a resident of Wailua.

  1. Kauaidoug March 5, 2020 8:33 am Reply

    Mr Steve, great ideas in an exciting and pivotal time. You’ve got my vote.

    1. Steve Parsons March 6, 2020 10:47 am Reply

      Mahalo Mr, Kauai Dog!!!

  2. RG DeSoto March 5, 2020 4:47 pm Reply

    ” It features all the latest challenges and solutions and, most importantly, the many scientists who have spent their entire lives studying climate change and concluding that we only have about 10 years left to avoid the worst effects of CC.”
    Sorry Steve, but what a load of horse pucky! And many more scientist refute such nonsense. I know they didn’t teach you anything about geologic processes in the USMC so I’m not surprised you’ve been duped into believing that things like the climate change in any human time scale, much less a mere ten years.
    I suppose that if you thought plate tectonics was caused by we humans you’d be out trying to nail the plates down to keep all land masses from moving….as they have for a couple of billion years. Oh, and BTW the climate has cycled from glaciations through warming periods for many hundreds of million years as well. But you think that we can alter processes like these at all much less ten years? I have to ask, since the northern hemisphere, or large parts of it, have been covered over the eons with glaciers that were a mile or more thick how is it that without we humans the earth ever warmed enough to cause the glaciers to melt and retreat?
    Get a grip…try reading some of what real scientists have to say. Here: https://wattsupwiththat.com/
    RG DeSoto

    1. Steve Parsons March 6, 2020 11:34 am Reply

      Aloha RG,

      Thanks for the response! I’m curious if you’ve heard some of these arguments from a KOCH: https://www.campaigncc.org/climate_change/sceptics/funders Some of your arguments are almost direct quotes from their campaigns! That’s I was pointing the readers to the Free HBO Ice on Fire Link: https://www.hbo.com/documentaries/ice-on-fire As, that covers a lot of the new updates on Climate change. Regarding your 2 “points”:

      Scientific Consensus:
      Fact: 97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming
      Myth: “31,000 Scientists dispute human caused global warming, so there is no consensus.”
      Fallacy: 1. Fake experts: Using non-climate scientists to portray the impression of ongoing scientific debate where there is none. Fallacy 2. Magnified minority: 31,000 is only 0.3% of all U.S. science graduates. (BTW this was some of the same tactics used by big tobacco to push uncertainty around some of the evidence of links with smoking and cancer.)

      Glacier Melt/Sea level rise:
      Fact: Glaciers across the planet are shrinking at an accelerating rate.
      Myth: “Glaciers around the world are increasing.”
      Fallacy: Cherry Picking: Picking a handful of growing glaciers ignores the vast majority of glaciers that are shrinking.

    2. wait March 6, 2020 4:17 pm Reply

      Whoa, wait a minute! Soto believes in a sciency thing like plate tectonics?!

  3. Citizen March 6, 2020 4:14 am Reply

    Just focus on lowering costs and not being a hero. Anything we do on Kauai will have no impact on the global climate. Why do people who can’t even likely afford a $500 car need EV chargers? Your delusional and misguided. We need practical leaders not Thunberg worshippers.

    1. Steve Parsons March 7, 2020 1:52 pm Reply

      Aloha Citizen,

      Tipping points are interesting and especially the “levers” that push them over the edge. For example, because KIUC has moved to 55% year-round faster then anyone thought possible, Soon to be more, many other utilities around the world have started doing the same thing. New FF (Fossil Fuel) cars are about to get cheap used cars are going to go down faster, so this is a win for all. Especially for folks that are struggling financially, as EV’s total cost of ownership is a lot less than FF vehicles. It will also increase the speed of adaption, as the carbon tax kicks in and as EV’s get cheaper than Fossil Fuels cars to buy. So, as entities like KIUC and the county move to a 100% electric fleet in 10 years or less they role model that to others and we move the needle faster then anyone thought we could and others will follow that too… (no hero attitude intended, just trying to keep the reading a little entertaining and too connect with others that are also passionate about this, which stats say are most of us…) And, Mahalo for the feedback!

  4. Betty Ball March 6, 2020 6:44 am Reply

    This gasbag reminds me of Gary Hooser.

    1. Steve Parsons March 9, 2020 10:28 am Reply

      Aloha Betty, One of the cool things about this issue is that, once folks understand the issue, there should be a lot of bi-partisan support. I’ve always been a conservative, but politically I’m independent. To other “conservatives” I ask, “What is it that you’re trying to conserve”? This issue is uniting folks, more than it’s dividing. Onward…

  5. Jjjames March 7, 2020 6:13 pm Reply

    I hate to be stuck for hours in an EV on Kaumualii Hwy on a hot summer day behind a bad accident. Doesn’t the AC use the battery power.
    Or stuck on a NY turnpike in a blizzard, for hours. Where does the heat come from?
    At least in a “fossil fuel” vehicle, the heat is a by product that is utilized.
    Are all EVs on Kauai going to be charged by solar or PV? How’s thatgonna happen at night.
    If KIUC is a coop, then we “members” Should be allowed to vote in weather Rebates are offered for the purchase of EVs. After all, those rebates would be coming out of our pockets. The board has no right to decide that issue on their own.

  6. Steve Parsons March 8, 2020 4:16 pm Reply

    Aloha J James, The electric motors in an EV are 3 times as efficient as an ICE (internal Combustion Engines) in converting energy to forward movement. So, they may last 3 times as long in traffic as they’re not wasting 90% of there power idling. Honestly, I don’t know how rebates are approved, but it should be a no-brainer for EV’s, as we really want to encourage fast adoption, as it will help increase power demand and allow for more deployment for Renewable energy and “Drive” rate down. (sorry I couldn’t help myself). Mush more effective then $1000 Solar Hot Water or AC or new appliance rebate that are in effect now. In addition, we can figure out time of day and create a win-win. One of KIUC’s priorities is resiliency! EV’s can serve as a whole house battery back up as well as for police and fire stations. PD can simply plug their Tesla Cybertruck, or EV F-150, or GMC’s new all electric endurance. in and they have back up power. The other piece of this is fighting climate change and while renewables can bring cost down we will be spending more and more on storms. So, EV rebates are a way to FIGHT and save KIUC money in the future. Just for the record, Gas and Oil get about 400B in subsidies, so another great move would be to simply get rid of that and let the 2 compete. I think you get which would win, FAST. FYI this change can be tracked and it’s call the Osborne effect on the auto-industry. If you understand this, you can make way better decisions with your money. It will be a big story soon.Thank you for the feedback. Onward….

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