By Anna Such
“Is world peace predicated on energy independence?” That pressing question was posed to the audience at an informational meeting held last week in Kihei by Pono Energy, inventors of a closed- loop hydro-power system they say can help revolutionize clean energy. As oil prices soar and nuclear fears mount in Japan, it’s an especially pressing subject. The Pono Eenergy team — Kapena Whitford and his nephew, Ikaika Campos — puntuated the point with a visual of a running total of the cost of our war Middle East wars, increasing by the second as the meeting proceeded.
For over 20 years, Whitford has tried to obtain financial backing for his invention and says he’s come close many times. However, he claims most investors end up wanting him to sign over a large percentage of his company to them.
One of the biggest obstacles to getting his invention patented, said Whitford, is that when it comes to alternative energy, solar and wind companies have all the money.
Campos has even written several letters to President Obama concerning the project, and says he’s yet to receive any acknowledgment. Therefore, he says, he has chosen to go directly to the people.
The promises of Pono Energy include, according to Campos and Whitford: no need for an outside water supply source, no need for an outside power source and “providing a commercially viable alternative to renewable energy,” said Whitford.
After the initial introductory information, a question and answer segment ensued. Several of the questions involved the specifics of the hydro-power system, which Whitford was unable to answer completely without revealing his intellectual property.
One relevant question was whether the system would involve large units or smaller ones. Whitford said that all the options are on the table at this point, but that it would only cost an estimated $5,000 dollars per unit per house for smaller units.
Power sourcing and micro-loans are some of the solutions one audience member brought up. Power sourcing involves using the power of the Web to aggregate potential, and micro-loaning could mean eliminating venture capitalist investments, or reducing their involvement by receiving smaller investments from large amounts of people.
Although financing is a large part of moving Pono Energy forward, the meeting was not held to ask for money, but simply to educate the community on this possible energy solution.
“This is a plea for world peace through energy independence,” reiterated Whitford.
I you’re interested in learning more, visit ponopeaceproject.com.