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Hawaii is the most oil dependent state in the nation - some numbers:
Seventy-five percent of the net megawatt-hours of electricity generated in Hawaii were produced from oil.
Approximately 97% of Hawaii’s transportation fuels (as measured in Btu) were produced from oil.
Hawaii imported roughly 43.1 million barrels of crude oil, costing the State more than $4.1 billion.
Although overall energy consumption decreased in 2008, Hawaii consumers spent an estimated $8.4 billion for energy (about 37% more than in 2007), reflecting record high petroleum prices.
Written by Steve Mazur | Published in Energy
SB 19 amends Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 269 to clarify that property owners who install a photovoltaic system or other renewable energy systems on their property can sell power they generate to their tenants without being deemed to be a "public utility" under Chapter 269. The current law makes it ambiguous if the property owner would be considered a utility subject to strict regulation. SB 19 in its current form also protects the tenants from being charged a rate that is higher than the utility rate. The passing of this Bill will result in a greater adoption of renewable energy, tenants now being able to benefit from it, and Hawaii moving closer to its renewable energy goals.
The Bill is scheduled to be heard by the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce Monday, March 25, 2013 3:00pm in House Conference room 325. Please testify in support of this measure in person or online here.
Mahalo for your support!
Written by Steve Mazur | Published in Energy
Aloha Renewable Energy Supporters. Here is an update on a few important Bills being heard this week that will help Hawaii in its clean energy transition.
SB 19 helps remove a powerful barrier to solar systems being installed on properties with multiple tenants/lessees that can include apartment buildings, condos, warehouses, retails centers and many other types of properties. Currently, it is not legal for a landlord or property owner to sell renewable energy produced on their property to their tenants because the seller of this clean energy will be deemed a “Utility.” SB 19 exempts the seller/PV system owner from being considered a utility, thus allowing for more properties to benefit from solar energy and moving the State of Hawaii closer to its clean energy goals. 43% of all residents in Hawaii are renters who are currently locked out of green energy and the subsequent savings because their landlords may be reluctant to take this step for fear of being designated as a utility.
Or attend the hearing on SB 19: The committee on CPN will hold a public decision making on 02-21-13 10:45AM in conference room 229.
Typically, the power generated by these systems is sold at a lower rate than the current utility rate resulting in instant savings to the recipients of this electricity. Tenants are protected by the law which requires that “the rate schedule charged to the lessee or tenant for the power generated by the renewable energy system is fixed by the lease agreement.” Finally, the money spent for these renewable power plants benefits our local economy providing skilled jobs and prevents much of our energy investment dollars from leaving the state.
SB 623 SD1 and its House Bill companion, HB 497 HD2 are both being heard this Friday. These Bills provide a way to reasonably reduce the state tax credits over time so that the industry and adoption of renewable energy can continue to expand. There will be slow reduction over the next several years instead of abrupt or drastic reductions that can have a negative impact on adoption of renewable energy and send investors to look to other states for safer investments.
Or attend the hearing on SB 623: The committee on WAM will hold a public decision making on 02-22-13 9:00AM in conference room 211.
Or attend the hearing on SB 497: Bill scheduled to be heard by FIN on Friday, 02-22-13 3:00PM in House conference room 308
Written by Steve Mazur | Published in Energy
A few Bills have made it through the House and the Senate meaning that they just need to be reviewed by the original side (House or Senate) in a conference to approve the changes made by the second side. Then it is off to the governor’s desk for final approval and signature.
HB 2121 SD1: A public hearing is scheduled on April 3, 2012 at 3:00PM in conference room 225. HB 2121 in its current form, HD2, prohibits state and county agencies from entering into an energy agreement or contract to install a renewable energy system with a private provider who has claimed the renewable energy technologies tax credit and the systems would be paid for by selling bonds instead. The industry is opposing this because it may prevent many projects from taking place. But now, the proposed SD1, almost an entirely different Bill, removes that language and increases the system sizes allowed for net metered systems to two megawatts on County, State, or Federal land and up to one megawatt on other properties. This allows larger solar electric systems than currently allowed to export power to the utility when it produces in excess of demand, in the form of a credit, and get that energy back during times when the production is not enough to cover demand such as at night time. Please support HB 2121 HD2 SD1, and oppose the previous versions of this bill.
Going to Conference:
SB 2288, which passed on March 30, 2012 disallows investors/financiers to take the state tax credit or enter into a power purchase agreement if they install a renewable energy system on a county, state, or federal property, just like HB 2121 was originally proposing. We hope to kill this Bill. It removes a turnkey option that requires no funds and instant savings on electricity costs from day one using clean energy while attracting investors to Hawaii.
HB 2417 SD1, which passed on March 30, 2012 includes a reasonable 5% annual reduction of tax credits starting in 2013, for solar electric systems on homes. The credits will be reduced to 20% over the next three years and that can be taken as a refundable credit (similar to a rebate). Commercial systems installed after 2012 will receive a tax credit of 11.5 cents per kilowatt hour generated for the first 120 months providing an incentive to install solar in the best sun zones and maintain it for optimal production for an extended time. The industry supports this version and The Committee on Energy and Environment finds that this Bill “addresses the challenges of the current tax credit in a way that does not compromise construction activity and employment generated by the solar industry. This measure resolves issues with the administrative efficiency of the tax credit and lowers the exposure of the general fund to the credit.”
Written by Andre Bisquera | Published in Energy
SB2787, the Hawaii Electricity Reliability Act (HERA), would help us realize the full potential of renewable power on the grid by authorizing the PUC to develop, adopt, and enforce reliability standards and interconnection requirements. It continues to move along and will be heard this Tuesday, April 3, at 6 PM in Conference Room 308. A separate entity within the PUC would oversee grid interconnection and reliability, and give oversight of the state’s grids. This new agency would address issues such as the 15% of peak demand limit of distributed energy connected to the grid. Help Hawaii get more renewables on the grid and show your support by writing testimony here.
Another bill looking to help Hawaii reach its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goals and reduce our dependence on oil is SB2981. It is being heard Tuesday, April 3, at 3pm in Conference Room 308. This bill would develop a framework to replace oil-based power generation facilities and help the integration of renewable energy. It would also make the PUC examine its avoided cost calculation methodology, ways to maximize the use of distributed generation including interconnection penetration levels, and options to modernize the electrical grid. This bill has wide support from Blue Planet Foundation, the Hawaii Renewable Energy Alliance, and the PUC. Please show your support by submitting testimony here.
Written by Steve Mazur | Published in Energy
Reduction of Tax Credits for Clean Energy:
HB 2417 HD2, as it currently stands, will limit the state tax credit for photovoltaic systems (PV) to $7,000 per home. The original Bill proposed a cap of $5,000 per home so it is a little better, but still could pose a limiting factor to some homeowners ready to make the transition. This Bill also changes the tax incentives for commercial PV systems, and offers a lowered credit amount for the portion of the system over 300kW. Many projects have been going through design and due diligence for many months and reducing the tax credits, especially for larger systems, could stop those projects from being completed. Outside investors and renewable energy companies enter the Hawaii market after consideration of the current tax credits. Sudden changes to renewable energy tax credits can send a message that the market is less stable and they may seek less risky opportunities. There is room for improvement of the current programs, but changes resulting in large reductions of the state tax credit will have results that are counter to the states clean energy goals. Fortunately, a new version of HB 2417, "SD1", has been proposed, offering a more reasonable compromise of slowly reducing the credits over the next three years and this version is supported by much of the industry.
Help keep the green job growth and local economy strong, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Oppose HD2 and support SD1 by submitting a short testimony online or in person. The committee on Energy and Environment has a scheduled public hearing on March 20 at 2:50pm in conference room 225.
Incentives for Electric Vehicle Drivers:
Ready for an electric vehicle? SB 2747 clarifies the rules for reserved parking stalls for electric vehicles (EV) and imposes a warning for non-electric vehicles parking in the reserved stalls. These are good incentives, but the current Bill only requires one stall and one charging station per property. Would you consider purchasing an electric vehicle soon if you could charge, often for free, at some of your favorite destinations? What if you had a nice stall reserved for you when you get there? As mentioned in Nicole’s post in the Smart Growth / Transport section, more charging stations will reduce “range anxiety.” Installations are underway at many destinations across the state, but nowhere near what supporters hoped for when the charging station requirement went into effect at the beginning of 2012. In fact, only seven properties met the deadline according to public record.
How will mass adoption help us move towards our clean energy future when electric cars are charged with electricity from the grid powered mostly by diesel generators? According to several studies1, an electric vehicle powered from the grid leads to an average of at least 30% less carbon dioxide pollution than the CO2 pollution from the oil of a conventional car with an internal combustion engine. Using the Nissan Leaf as an example, it gets about 4.4 miles per kWh.
- 15 cents/ mile with fuel (rising over time) with a standard combustion engine
- 8 cents/ mile with electricity from HECO (rising over time, but consistent with fuel rising) charging a Nissan Leaf
- 2.5 cents/ mile if you power your Nissan Leaf with a home PV system
Finally, on islands like in Hawaii, thousands of electric vehicles plugged in to smart charging networks, can actually help stabilize the grid during intermittent energy production from renewable sources. Those vehicles are like little storage units spread out everywhere that can suck up and store excess renewable energy and give a little back to the grid during times when the wind lightens and the clouds roll over.
We can reduce the 1.4 billion tons of carbon pollution from the 138.6 billion gallons of gasoline our cars and trucks in America burn each year. Reducing this oil dependence can reduce the likelihood of catastrophes like the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and keep more money in Hawaii instead of sending it abroad, often to nations that do not support our policies. Electric vehicles require no oil changes, no fuel in the tank, and even the 2011 models can make it from Honolulu to the north shore and back without plugging in.
The Bill is scheduled for a hearing by the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection on Tuesday, March 20, at 9:00AM in House conference room 325. Please oppose this Bill in its current form and suggest some improvements by submitting online testimony or in person. Let the committee know that only one stall in places like the mall, the airport, or the stadium, is just not adequate if we are serious about EV adoption. We either need a mechanism to increase the number of stalls or need more to be required now. There also needs to be adequate enforcement of the rules. You could let them know that more stalls reserved with charging stations will influence your (and others’) decision to buy an electric vehicle. To submit testimony or find more info, click here.
1. Boschert, Sherry. "The Cleanest Cars: Well to Wheels Emissions Comparisons." Updated May 2008.