The Hydroelectric Project in Kauai

The Hydroelectric Project in Kauai

The Hydroelectric Project in Kauai

Being located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean gives Hawaii plenty of hydroelectric opportunities to generate clean, safe energy. In fact, the Kauai hydroelectric project is one of the most well-known endeavors on the Island. What makes this project so special? Let’s take a look and see how Hawaii has taken this crucial step toward becoming a greener state.

Partnering with a Massachusetts-based energy company called Free Flow, Hawaii aims to build a name for itself utilizing the power of water around it. Free Flow has received grants from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to expand upon projects involving the harnessing of water energy into a green resource for the residents of the island.

According to an article in The Garden Island, Free Flow has successfully obtained preliminary permits that give the renewable energy company exclusive rights to explore hydroelectric energy options at specific locations on the island for a period of three years.

This means that the Kauai hydroelectric project will explore a number of water-based energy projects including hydroelectric dams, water wheels, water turbines and more. In fact, the first of these projects is already in its developmental stages on the Wailua River, bringing a sense of timeliness to the rapidly expanding market of Hawaiian hydroelectricity!

By establishing a clean market and plan for hydroelectricity, Free Flow and Hawaiian energy companies will be able to start offering select communities access to a rapidly expanding renewable energy source. In fact, because of Hawaii’s geographical location, it has the potential to become the nation’s leader in water-based renewable energy.

The islands already benefit from a significant amount of renewable energy from multiple established sources. For example, Lower Waiahi and Upper Waiahi together utilize two hydro facilities to produce around 1.3 megawatts of power! The Kauai hydroelectric project aims to produce this much power after its completion.

By 2015, Free Flow hopes to have established a total of six projects; all of which utilize water to provide clean, safe, renewable energy to residents over a majority of Kauai. If you’re a Hawaii resident, be sure to research how the Kauai hydroelectric project will affect you. Will you be able to take advantage of eco-friendly energy from one of the hydroelectric projects? If so, prepare to watch your life become much greener!

Lum will begin his work with Clean Green Nation effective immediately. To learn more about energy efficient home upgrades, green living, affordable wind energy and more, visit

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Meeting Energy Needs And Improving Communities

Garvin Jabusch

Did you just buy a sustainable mutual fund? No.

The answer is no because human economies are still so far from
real sustainability that even a highly idealized portfolio of our
most sustainable enterprises necessarily still falls short.
Ultimately, the best any portfolio can do is mirror the reality of
the world, and today, still, even the best representatives of
sustainability can be found wanting compared to what will be
required if we would like to keep society thriving indefinitely.
At best, whatever fund you just bought can only be described as,
to a greater or lesser degree, more sustainable than its non-green

Not that we aren’t trying. We work hard to model what a truly
sustainable economy – within which civilization could in theory
thrive indefinitely – might look like, and then we
endeavor to build portfolios of companies that appear to be
working toward that world. Unfortunately, this is still anathema
to most portfolio managers, who instead subscribe to traditional
modern portfolio theory (which can
require investing in things like fossil fuels), and even to
many ‘green’ money managers who basically view their job as, for
example, to remove Exxon from, and add a solar company to, a
regulation S&P500 portfolio, but who are otherwise entirely
shackled to traditional portfolio construction methods and who
don’t seek portfolio innovation.

In a very real sense our economic theories and practices are far
closer to imagining what it will take to keep economies growing
and maintaining standards of living for a very long time given
earth’s climate tolerances and resource limits, than they are to
anything taught in traditional academies of finance. Yet, as far
as I can tell, true indefinite sustainability is the only viable
long term path for human economies, and therefore our methods of
managing capital to be a conduit towards the sustainable world
(such as via our mutual fund, NEXTX),

the only course that provides hope for indefinite growth and also
the most likely path for long term competitive investment returns.
Because, as opposed to what? Crashing into resource limits? Asset
management and capital markets are themselves in need of
innovation to be effective conduits of capital facilitating the
needed economic transformation.

So, to address the question most frequently asked of us: no, we
do not practice negative screening to eliminate things we find to
be less than sustainable so much as we apply a positive approach
to proactively selecting businesses, techniques, technologies, and
innovations that are leading the way toward true sustainability.
Again, as a practical matter, since the world remains imperfect,
we find that it is not yet possible to construct a broadly
diversified portfolio that encompasses only perfect
sustainability. So, in that sense, we are striving for a goal that
is still impossible to realize from a practical perspective.

We believe, however, that in striving for this idealization we
come closer, via our portfolios, to reflecting an economy that
might be perpetuated indefinitely than do most other practitioners
managing client assets. Pure theoreticians in academia or think
tanks may say that our portfolios do not yet reflect perfect
sustainability. True. We in turn say that that means human
economies, although improving, are not yet capable of perfect
sustainability. It is no accident that the list of people upon
whose work we base our own theories and philosophies contains few,
if any, other asset managers. The list of our guiding thinkers
goes: Lester Brown, James Hansen, Joe Romm, Ramez Naam, Bill
McKibben, and Elon Musk. Validation of the practical economics of
our theses comes to us via Warren Buffett, Google, Goldman Sachs
(believe it or not), and Elon Musk.

Daunting as it may be, striving for perfect sustainability is
important. Because coming close to large-scale idealized
sustainability is the only way our civilization can thrive going
forward. So we are determined to keep reaching for practical
realizations of this ideal, whether or not others agree with our
vision, and whether or not some even believe in the science that
to us so clearly demonstrates that present economies of
non-sustainability can no longer serve our economic or societal

Strange as it may seem, there are still many in the investment
industry, even among those who represent as “green” portfolio
managers, who believe fossil fuels represent a resource that can
somehow power civilization for the very long term. We believe in
the polar opposite, as was well articulated in a recent Tweet from
energy economist Gregor MacDonald: “Friendly reminder: we are in
midst of a historic energy transition, away from liquid BTU to the
power grid. Oil Age is in steep decline. Fact.”

We simply don’t see fossil fuels as primary power in an
indefinite, growing economy, and we think the share prices of
fossil fuels firms will, in relative terms, underperform over time
as a result. Portfolio managers still clinging to fossil fuels as
a source of low risk returns are, in practical terms, in terms of
outcomes, no different than those who deny climate change in the
first place. To thus simplify the narrative of energy as it is
emerging now is to distort reality. We must ignore the
rationalizations of these groups and instead hew close to our
models of real, long term sustainability.

Ultimately the question becomes one of ‘do we think human society
is something worth preserving or not?’ I understand that there are
those (perhaps many in fact) who with no small hint of nihilism
believe that humanity should just be allowed run its course and
that in the end we deserve whatever we get, even if that means we
don’t go on for very many more decades or centuries. For us, until
it can be demonstrated conclusively that society is well past the
point of no return on the path to oblivion, we’ll continue to
believe in and work with others to bring about a better world. Of
course believing that this is the only long term economic path
forward means we also believe we have every shot at very
competitive investment returns along the way.

Remember, the two key transitions we need to achieve long term
sustainability are (1) truly renewable energies and (2)
close–to-perfect recycling or circular use of existing resources
already in the human economy (waste-to-value economics). These two
key disruptions to our current economic system serve the larger
goal of getting more and more economic value out of less and less
stuff, and less and less energy. Because it’s in reaching the
point where we have high standards of living without further
degrading the ecological underpinnings of our existence that we
see the ideal state of the next economy. This is what we strive
for; this is what we envision as we select companies with which to
build our portfolios.

Renewable energies and waste-to-value economics continue to
advance against fierce resistance from human homeostasis, which,
based in fear, latches onto the ways of the past in the hope that
this somehow will hold the world together. As a result, because of
this aspect of our basic nature, we’ll always face the risks of
failure and collapse. Thus far, though (with some notable
exceptions such as Easter Island), we’ve always managed to
innovate ourselves out of trouble and into a better world. 
This time will be no different. Yes, we’ll have to struggle to
reach our ideals, but that’s what growth is.

Garvin Jabusch is cofounder and chief investment officer

Alpha ® Advisors, LLC. He is co-manager of the Shelton

Green Alpha Fund (NEXTX), of the Green
Alpha ® Next Economy Index
, and of the Sierra

Club Green Alpha Portfolio. He also authors the
Sierra Club’s green economics blog, ”
Green Alpha’s Next

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