Hilo Community Meeting on Hawaiian Perspectives in Support of Geothermal Development

Geothermal Meeting

Media Release:

WHAT:  The second in a series of community forum and information sessions on geothermal development in Hawaii . The event will feature presentations from Native Hawaiians on community based models for geothermal development, cultural issues and the protection of cultural resources, OHA’s role in Wao Kele O Puna forest management, the revenue OHA receives from Geothermal development, and native Hawaiian/public ownership of geothermal ‘minerals’ as assets of the ceded land trust. Also, the issue of “peak oil” and its impacts to the global and local community; and the findings of the geothermal Working Group for Hawaii Island.

 WHO: Patricia Brandt, CEO of Innovations Development Group (IDG), a Hawaii-based corporation with geothermal projects on Maori Trust lands in New Zealand , will moderate the forum. Six native Hawaiian leaders will give presentations (information below).

WHEN: Saturday, May 28, 2011, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

WHERE: University of Hawaii Hilo Campus Center , 200 W. Kawili Street.  Hilo , Hawaii , 96720 – Phone: (808) 965-2704

WHY: Geothermal energy in Hawaii has been controversial in the past. Come find out how this sustainable, domestic energy force can help fuel the Hawaiian Islands in the future and discuss community-based development of geothermal resources.

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY : If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with one of our participants, please call Ryan Matsumoto at 808.536.0434 or email Ryan at info@idghawaii.com

Hawaiian experts say that sustainable, domestic energy can fuel the Hawaiian Islands of the future, and replace more costly, dirty and dangerous alternatives like fossil fuels and nuclear energy.  Now a group of Hawaiian organizations, corporations and noted individuals, including former opponents of the Wao Kele O Puna project like international human rights attorney Mililani Trask, have coordinated a public forum to discuss Community-Based Development of Geothermal Resources. 

The Community Geothermal Informational Sessions Series began Saturday April 9th in Pahoa. The session was well attended with community members and business leaders coming to learn about geothermal opportunities for Hawai‘i and to share their views. Attendees recalled the session as informational and featuring productive discussions. After the first successful event, the series moves to Hilo on May 28th, for a community meeting featuring additional presentations from distinguished guests.

Innovations Development Group (IDG), a Hawaii-based corporation with geothermal projects on Maori Trust lands in New Zealand is one of the participants.  IDG CEO Patricia Brandt says it is imperative that the Hawaiian and local community have a say in future geothermal development. “Geothermal is a public resource.  The current business model of an outside company coming in, tapping our resources and then making us pay for the product we give them access to at rates that are questionable is certainly not the future we envision. The people of the land need to be real partners in any geothermal development, and receive benefits sharing including the “cost savings” that geothermal generation produces.  We have the expertise to make that happen.” 

 The community informational sessions are a critical step in planning for sustainable domestic energy in which the community has a role and a voice.  “The bottom line,” says Mililani Trask, “is that our community needs to be proactive and diligent in how we build out sustainable domestic resources like energy and food, and reclaim self-sufficiency for ourselves and our keiki.” 

“As Hawaiians who are the owners of the resource,” adds Kuulei Kealoha, Trustee of the Kealoha Estate, “we need to be involved in geothermal development to ensure its development benefits the whole community.

The Geothermal Informational Session panel will be moderated by IDG CEO Patricia Brandt.  Panelists include international human rights advocate Mililani Trask, Esq. (Indigenous Consultants LLC), Ku’uleiohuokalani Kealoha Cooper (Kealoha Estate), Cy Bridges (IDG Cultural Advisor), Robert Lindsey (Trustee, OHA Hawaii Island), Richard Ha (Co-Chair, Geothermal Working Group & Hamakua Springs), and Wally Ishibashi (Co-Chair, Geothermal Working Group, Member of Hawaii Labor Alliance).


“We are very encouraged by the response we are getting to the idea of developing geothermal energy in a way that protects the long-term interests of the community and all other stakeholders. We want to keep the dialogue going so that we do this right,” said Patricia Brandt, CEO of IDG.

The Hawaiian Geothermal Community Informational Sessions are sponsored by Kealoha Estate, Indigenous Consultants LLC, Innovations Development Group, Inc., Bob Lindsey, OHA Trustee—Hawaii Island, Kanaka Council Moku O Keawe, Laulima Title Search and Claims.

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