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Positive news from Shoreline Power

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Dear Editor

You might be interested in the following issues with which I am assisting Shoreline :



Under the guidance of His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Tupouto’a, Chairman of The Board Shoreline Power, studies have been underway for many years to evalute the feasibility of electricity generated from renewable energy sources.

The top of Mt. Talau (130 mtrs AMSL), at the entrance to Vava’u harbour, is one location of a wind recording station for Shoreline Power. Data collecton started in October 2004 and the results since then are promising as the average wind speed has been 8m/sec.

For comparison the long term, average wind speed at Nuku’’alofa Harbour is only 3.9 m./sec. Even though the wind speed on the mountain is only double that of normal sea level winds in The Kingdom, the amount of power available from the wind on the mountain is 8.5 times higher than that at sea level.

Power options being evaluated are direct windpower generation or, pumping seawater to a reservoir on the top of the mountain and then generating electricity using hydropower. A large seawater pumped storage hydro-electric station has been operating on the island of Okinawa since 1999.

Wind data has already been collected on Lifuka and Tongatapu Islands but unfortunately, wind speeds are too low for economical wind power generation.

A recording anemometer has also been installed at 300 metres height on ‘Eua Island where initial measurments are also promising. Under evaluation there is the feasibility of a pumped storage hydroelectric scheme. Windpower would pump sea water into a large storage reservoir. Water flowing from the reservoir through turbines, at the bottom of the eastern 300m high cliffs, could generate 5 MW of power to be transported by an 11 km submarine cable to Tongatapu Island.

Recent improvements in the technology for harnessing wave power allows us to re-evaluate its potential for electricity generation in the Kingdom.

Other alternative energy sources such as solar, fuel cells and biomass power are not forgotten but unfortunately not cost effective yet.

Any technical comments or suggestions may be made to me.

Peter P. Goldstern

Consultant to Shoreline Power for Feasible Alternative Energy Systems

B.Sc. Hydraulic Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

M.Sc. Hydraulic Engineering University of Washington

M.Sc. Management Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Shoreline damage control - Sione A. Taufa:
This attempt at damage control is too little too late. The time for 'positive news' or offering similarly vague intangibles is over. It does not help with the high rates I pay for my electricity.

Please give me results. And quick. Tell me that I will pay less, for my electric bills, because as a consultant, you came up with this brilliant idea.

We are consultant-ed out. There are more consultants to count in our sleep than sheep.

Clint Eastwood had an accurate observation about people who give opinions, which is essentially what consultants do.

Please do not take this personally Mr. Goldstern. You have your reasons for what you do. But if I may, what's with listing the credentials.

Respectfully - Sione A. Taufa

Update from Shoreline - Peter P. Goldstern:
Dear Mr. Taufa,
The purpose of my posting was simply to let people know of positive things happening at Shoreline and I will continue to update them on how these projects are faring as we move ahead. At the same time I look forward to continuing the reliable operation and maintenance, on behalf of Shoreline, of the 58 year old “Red Baron” aircraft which, in addition to its support role for Shoreline, is being used on a regular basis, at no charge, by the Government of Tonga, to provide medical evacuation services from the outer islands.
If you have specific technical contributions that can help this project I look forward to receiving them.
Sincerely yours - Peter P. Goldstern

Public pays the costs of Shoreline - Tama Foa (Tevita U. Langi):
As I read the article ““Positive News From Shoreline Power”, I was beside myself. I heard this woosh! woosh! woosh! noise but I was not so sure where it came from. Now, I am beginning to understand the source. No, yes, maybe it resembles the noise made by a windmill, but this is definitely louder.

I am only an outsider looking in. I also wonder if I am an insider looking from the outside. Mr. Goldstern's position on alternate sources and his studies are very informative. I am impressed with his credentials. Mr Goldstern, would not dare put up a chain of windmills at the highest point of Seattle or Boston? His name will be in the obituaries once he announces his intention. Having many letters after one's name does not mean he or she is genuinely concerned about you. Yes, my friend E. Lavulavu has many letters after his name too. He has no concern about me either. However, before you all fall into this bewitchment, I want to share with you what my great teacher at GPS Fotua taught us about business. He said, ““If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck”.” This attempt by Shoreline is a very honorable one. (I am now rolling on the floor dying laughing for this honorable gesture). It is true that winds and hydropower are sources of energy. Other countries are using it today. The start up cost for a venture like this costs lots of money (millions of dollars) to bring it to fruition. These successful endeavors are supported by millions of customers and consumers (private, commercial as well as industrial). Windmills and hydropower for Tonga? Supported by few thousands customers? I often wonder why someone would need a gun to rob a bank to get money.

Anytime a business buys a new piece of equipment, the cost is passed down to the public. Remember when Shoreline upgraded their generators? I thought they promised lower utility bills when they tried to privatise. What Tonga need is an independent agency (public utility commission) to regulate utilities and its costs (all costs to operate including salaries of board members to the janitor). Whew! GPS Fotua was good to me. Because there is no other source available to the public for power generation, Shoreline should be publicly owned. But as long as they are privately owned, the woosh! woosh! noise is not from the windmills, but from hard earned money coming out of your pocket.

If Shoreline believes this horse malarkey as Positive News, let them spend their own money (millions of dollars) in these high tech equipments and recoup their expenses overtime not overnight.

Yes, many of us may be dumb but we are not stupid! Beware! This is a robbery in progress. Woosh! Woosh! Woosh! - Tama Foa (Tevita U. Langi)

Cost of alternate energy sources - S. Vaiangina:
It is very interesting that Peter Goldstern of Shoreline has come out with a very sophisticated but I may say well-oiled feasibility study.

Before looking at these alternate energy sources, the question we should be asking is whether Shoreline is ever going to relinquish the running and supply of electricity. If my memory serves me right, the contract was only for 10 years.

Now Mr. Goldstern could you elaborate and be more detailed on the costing of such a project and how long will it take? If it will ever be implemented? Would Shoreline return the Electricity supply and management to the government and still pursue what you have been doing for Shoreline? I doubt that.

We as Tongans are thankful for Shoreline's help with the red plane but I think the other planes are grounded for fueling problems. I sincerely hope that whatever Shoreline is lining up will not be put on the poor people's power bills, after all we are still experiencing power blackouts. Talk top quality services for your money.

Malo - S. Vaiangina
P.S. - I think Shoreline should get a new PR officer.