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Hippie’s Dream

October 6, 2011
Chris Mentzel, CEO of Clean Energy Maui LLC

The first installation is to be in Hawai‘i at the Hickam Air Force Base on O‘ahu.

This did not happen because the Army was suddenly overrun by treehuggers, but because of a top-down order to achieve 25 percent renewable energy by 2025. We can call it the ultimate in self-interest, since soldiers are killed every day protecting American oil interests overseas.

Had not every single president since Nixon failed to meet his own goals to achieve energy independence, most of our wars and the 9/11 tragedy would probably have been avoided.

But will politicians continue to throw trillions at dictators and Arab kings and spend 80 percent of our income taxes on the military?

Not on Maui. In a tour-de-force, the energy office under Maui County Energy Commissioner Doug McLeod prepared a 300-page document that helped to select the winning bidders to put solar panels on 24 county-owned properties and create the largest solar installation on Maui.

In this winning trifecta, the county will buy electricity for 14.7 cents—less than half of Maui Electric Company’s rate—saving millions of dollars. Global warming will be a tiny bit less severe due to our carbon dioxide reductions. And the contractors, Haleakalā Solar and Greenpath Technologies, will create dozens of jobs.

This all proves that the hippies were right. But not in their wildest hallucinations would they have imagined that the military and county government would spearhead the solar revolution.



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