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Ian Lind • Online daily from Kaaawa, Hawaii

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More of Hawaii around 1949: Enchanted Lake area of Kailua

July 27th, 2015 · 3 Comments

More from the stack of negatives which recently turned up in the last of my dad’s papers, most featuring Hawaiian Airlines planes over various parts of the islands.

In this shot, the HAL DC3 is flying over what appears to be the area that later became Joe Pao’s Enchanted Lake subdivision.

I’m not familiar enough with this part of Kailua to recognize all the landmarks.

And the area, of course, has been completely transformed by development during the period from 1960 to the present.

c. 1949

Also see:

Waimanalo about 1949: Another view

Waimanalo: Another look back at Hawaii around 1949

Windward Oahu–Another look back to Hawaii around 1949

Wailuku, Maui, viewed from somewhere above Kahului

→ 3 CommentsTags: History · John Lind Collection · Photographs · Vintage Hawaii

Costco photo site among those taken offline due to apparent security breach

July 26th, 2015 · 2 Comments

Have you noticed that Costco’s Photo Center has been taken offline? A statement on the site says the takedown is the result of an apparent security breach at the third-party vendor that hosts the site.

This situation is affecting multiple online photo sites. We are diligently working to determine when we can re-enable the site, but in all likelihood that will not occur until early August. We will update this statement when we have more information.

Published reports say that credit card information may have been hacked.

The security issue also involved CVS, Walmart-Canada, Rite Aid, Sam’s Club and Tesco, according to published reports. All the retailers have temporarily taken down their photo sites.

Costco’s statement did not identify the vendor. However, CVS named PNI Digital Media, and SC Magazine, which bills itself as targeting IT security professionals, reported that it is the same vendor used by Costco.

“PNI is investigating a potential credit card data issue, and outside security experts are assisting in the investigation,” said a PNI Digital Media statement emailed to SCMagazine.com on Monday. “If an issue is discovered, it is important to note that consumers are not responsible for any fraudulent activity on their credit cards that is reported on a timely basis.”

→ 2 CommentsTags: Business · Computers · Consumer issues

Two hand-raised kittens looking for good homes

July 26th, 2015 · No Comments

These are the last two kittens from a rescued litter that are now looking for a good home.

Both are males. Both are beautiful.

They paid us a visit recently, and I got a few photos as they explored.

If you are at all interested, please email me (ian@ilind.net) and I’ll put you in touch with the people who have been providing foster care since their rescue.

kittens

kittens

kittens

kittens

→ No CommentsTags: Cats · Photographs

Former legislator and PUC chair, Mina Morita, blasts third party owners of rooftop solar

July 26th, 2015 · 2 Comments

This past week, Mina Morita’s Energy Dynamics Blog had a message for The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), the solar industry group that has been pressing an aggressive advertising campaign to block attempts to roll back the current subsidies for rooftop solar systems.

“Ahana Koko Lele,” Morita wrote. “Shame on You!

What drew her ire is the blast of advertising which blasts Hawaiian Electric for attempting to “place a tax on new solar customers.” You’ve probably seen the ads on television.

Morita doesn’t mince words, but she backs them up with a substantive explanation.

The tax opinion that TASC is citing as authoritative is based on an interpretation of Feed In Tariff (FiT), not Net Energy Metering (NEM) or Value of Solar (VOS) or HECO’s Grid Supply Tariff. These programs are typically described as the exchange of electricity between the customer and the utility, where the customer has the ability to “bank” the excess electricity the rooftop PV system produces. The utility’s system acts storage so the customer can “withdraw” electricity when the PV system is not producing. On the other hand, FiT programs are more akin to a power purchase agreement, where the specific purpose of the PV system’s contract or tariff is to sell power to a utility. Therefore, if the purpose is to sell a commodity or a service it would be logical that the producer would be taxed for that commodity or service. That is the finding of tax opinion that TASC circulated – it has nothing to do with NEM or VOS or HECO’s Grid Supply Tariff’s exchange of electricity.

Morita believes that ending or repricing net energy metering, the amount Hawaiian Electric pays for energy that flows from rooftop solar systems into the grid, will not make much of a difference to homeowners who finance their own solar installations.

It’s third party companies that have raked off much of the benefit, and are lobbying hardest to retain existing subsidies, Morita wrote in an earlier but related column.

It is the third-party-owned/financed residential solar transactions that will take a much more significant hit. Witness the vigorous lobbying of mainland-based companies — SolarCity, Sunrun, Vivint Solar and the like — which have done quite well in Hawaii peddling that type of financing option to tens of thousands of homeowners. Sadly, the threat of losing NEM has led to some in the PV industry down the path of hyperbole, exaggeration and self-interested fear-mongering.

While solar prices have dropped significantly throughout the country, Hawaii’s highly subsidized solar market is broken. The bountiful subsidies of NEM and tax credits have been used to sustain an uncompetitive and dysfunctional market that has been carried on the backs of the Hawaii taxpayer and non-PV electric customers.

It doesn’t suffice to try to explain away Morita’s critique by attempting to dismiss her as a HECO shill of some kind. Environmentalists and the solar industry saw her as a strong supporter and ally, and generally cheered her appointment to the PUC. She was, in essence, our representative on the PUC, and her current views were shaped by that experience.

Today’s post by Henry Curtis on his Ililani Media reports on a presentation by Commissioner Michael Champley, another member of Hawaii’s PUC.

Here’s his description of Champley’s summary.

Hawaii Distributed Solar PV — Lessons Learned

Exponential growth in customer solar PV installations occurred without fully understanding consequences

– High rates, state tax policy, solar leasing and declining solar costs drove growth

– NEM program size caps removed to accommodate customer demand and solar industry growth; no future check points

– Outpaced ability of utility to effectively manage customer PV interconnection queue and integration issues

Created “boom-bust” cycle for distributed solar PV in Hawaii

– Interconnection approvals slowed significantly due to utility safety, reliability and operational concerns

– Technical basis for concerns, and proposed mitigations, not well understood

Current approach to distributed solar PV is not sustainable nor market-based

– Harmonize needs of two distinctive groups of utility customers – provide customer choice and enable utilities to serve non-DER customers at reasonable costs

– Utilities, customers and solar industry will need to adopt new business models

It’s an assessment that appears to mirror the position taken by Mina Morita. Bashing Hawaiian Electric isn’t an adequate response to their challenge.

It would, in my view, be good to listen.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Business · Energy · environment · Politics

The last Sunday morning in July

July 26th, 2015 · No Comments

There was a light rain falling when I first got up this morning, a few minutes before 5 a.m.

It dissipated within the next half hour or so, leaving it feeling steamy as we readied for our early morning walk.

But by the time we got down to Swanzy Beach Park, it was clear and beautiful.

Another gorgeous Kaaawa morning!’

At this point, we are short-timers in Kaaawa as we continue preparations for our upcoming move into town. It makes every morning like this feel very special.

Kaaawa, Hawaii

Kaaawa, Hawaii

Kaaawa, Hawaii

→ No CommentsTags: Kaaawa · Photographs