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Self-sufficiency an elusive goal

With the recent clamor in Hawaii to install energy-efficient solar panels, it seems consumers can’t turn around these days without bumping into a solar-energy company. It’s been a huge growth industry here.

So it’s a bit of a disconnect that the state has awarded a $17.4 million contract for installing photovoltaic panels at 33 government buildings — to a mainland company. Ameresco has landed the two-year, design-build project to install 3,370 PV panels on buildings on five islands.

On second look, though, the job is quite extensive, to include replacing or retrofitting 13,000 light fixtures, installing new chillers with state-of-the art compressors and replacing electrical transformers with more-efficient models.

Still, it’s a shame that some of that business couldn’t stay here — that would’ve been true self-sufficiency.

Dead mice now on the menu

Will brown tree snakes on Guam develop a palate for dead mice packed with acetaminophen and fitted with tiny radio transmitters? Biologists charged with reducing the population of the destructive reptile devised that toxic delicacy as a way to eradicate snakes without posing a major threat to dogs, cats and other animals that might eat the mice.

It sounds weird, but let’s hope it works. The more than 1 million brown tree snakes that have proliferated on Guam since being accidentally introduced 60 years ago cause all sorts of problems, including power outages. Hawaii has so far avoided this scourge, but the next high-flying stowaway is only a wheel well away.

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