LIHU‘E — The makeup of the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative board of directors will remain the same for another year, following KIUC’s annual board election concluded Saturday.
Incumbent directors Peter Yukimura (3,197 votes), Cal Murashige (3,118 votes) and Jan TenBruggencate (2,708 votes) won re-election. Each had been challenged by candidate Steve Parsons (1,490 votes).
“I am hopeful that this result is an indication that our members are satisfied by the cooperative’s really amazing progress on adding renewable energy, stabilizing rates and maintaining strong reliability,” TenBruggencate told The Garden Island Monday in an email.
Yukimura, TenBruggencate and Murashige have served on the KIUC board since 2005, 2010 and 2012, respectively.
The three men touted a decade of renewable-energy advancements at KIUC in the run-up to Saturday’s election.
The utility cooperative, which re-ported a 92% dependency on fossil fuels in 2010, reported 67% renewable-energy generation in 2020.
“I am confident Kaua‘i will be the first Hawai‘i county to achieve 100% renewable generation,” TenBruggencate continued. “On most sunny days, we are already operating at 100% renewable from solar, hydroelectric and biomass resources. If approved, our West Kaua‘i Energy Project will provide a critical energy-storage component that will get us even closer to our goal.”
Murashige also attributed the incumbents’ wins to their shared track record.
“I think the members recognize the progress we’ve made,” said Murashige said Monday.
Yukimura made similar remarks.
“I think KIUC is on the right path,” he said.
Parsons’ campaign was marked by a sense of urgency regarding climate change and a platform built around electric vehicles.
Parsons, a climate advocate endorsed by the Kaua‘i chapter of the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation, had pushed for a KIUC EV fleet, rebates for new and used EVs, high-speed, level-three chargers for school buses and first responders, and time-of-day rates.
He acknowledged the board of directors’ success in renewables, but believes the utility can do more to promote alternatives to fossil fuels faster.
“I’m trying to convince the board, like they need to convince everybody else, that we need to move fast (to address climate change),” Parsons said Monday.
Parsons, who is affiliated with the Kaua‘i Climate Action Coalition, also ran for the KIUC board of directors in 2020. He’s not sure he’ll run again, but will encourage others to do so.
KIUC mailed 26,806 ballots and received 4,542 responses with a 16.94% turnout.
Yukimura, Murashige and TenBruggencate will officially begin their new three-year terms on Thursday, March 24, during KIUC’s annual board of directors meeting.
Scott Yunker, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.
Source: The Garden Island