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On Earth Day, Hawaiian Electric Companies Note Progress in Reducing Emissions, Use of Fossil Fuel

To mark Earth Day 2017, the Hawaiian Electric Companies today noted their progress in replacing fossil fuels with renewable resources for power generation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and leading efforts to switch to zero-emission electric vehicles.

Many of the companies’ ambitious clean energy goals are described in the Power Supply Improvement Plan submitted to the Public Utilities Commission in December 2016. The plan calls for reducing operations that use fossil fuels, doubling private rooftop solar systems and aggressively seeking grid-scale renewable resources, among other goals.

Here are some highlights of the companies’ progress toward a clean energy future:

Renewable energy

The Hawaiian Electric Companies reached a milestone in 2016, with 26 percent of the electricity used by customers coming from renewable resources – up from 23 percent the year before.

Hawaii Island customers’ use of renewable electricity passed the halfway mark for the first time, with 54 percent of electricity coming from renewables, up from 49 percent in 2015. Maui County also reached a new high of 37 percent, up from 35 percent. On Oahu, 19 percent of electricity used by customers was from renewable resources, up from 17 percent the year before. The Power Supply Improvement Plan forecasts exceeding the state’s renewable energy milestones of 30 percent in 2020, 40 percent in 2030, 70 percent in 2040 and 100 percent by 2045.

The companies’ forecasts for future milestones include:

  • 48 percent by the end of 2020;
  • 72 percent by the end of 2030;
  • 100 percent by the end of 2040, five years ahead of the 2045 deadline

Oil consumption down 21%

Renewable goals exist to increase self-sufficiency by relying on local resources like sun, wind, geothermal, local crops and waste. The companies’ ultimate goals are to reduce dependence on imported oil and climate-altering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially carbon dioxide.

  • From 2008 to 2016, Hawaiian Electric’s use of oil in generators on Oahu fell to 6 million barrels from 7.8 million barrels. For all three Hawaiian Electric Companies, oil use fell to 8.5 million barrels from 10.7 million barrels, a 21 percent decrease.
  • The Hawaiian Electric Companies’ goal is to reduce GHG emissions to the 2010 level by 2020.  In fact, it’s anticipated the companies will do better, reducing the 2020 level to 16 percent below the 2010 level. That would cut emissions by 865,000 tons per year. That is equivalent to any one of the following:
    • 1.8 million barrels of fuel per year
    • Emissions from 166,000 passenger car in a year
    • 1.9 million miles driven by passenger cars
    • Energy consumed per year by 116,000 homes

Electric vehicle use accelerates

The number of registered plug-in electric vehicles (EV) has broken the 5,000 mark, a promising milestone that makes Hawaii second in the nation after California in EVs per capita. Hawaiian Electric has helped form Drive Electric Hawaii to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles through coordinated efforts and make it easier to expand vehicle-charging infrastructure in a way that brings more renewable energy onto the electric grid.

Drive Electric Hawaii partners include the Blue Planet Foundation; Hawaii State Department of Transportation (HDOT); Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; Hawaii State Division of Consumer Advocacy; the Hawaiian Electric Companies (including Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light); Kauai Island Utility Cooperative; Ulupono Initiative; and the Rocky Mountain Institute. Hawaiian Electric Companies’ specific role is installing fast chargers to reduce drivers’ “range anxiety.”

A dozen fast chargers are available at shopping centers, visitor attractions and on utility property across the five islands the companies serve. More are coming. Transactions at our companies’ fast chargers shot up in March as EVs on the road increased and drivers became more aware of the growing number of fast chargers.

For more about environmental progress, visit: http://www.hawaiianelectric.com/about-us/our-commitment.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Open Up Capacity for Grid-Supply Solar Program

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are adding capacity to the Customer Grid-Supply (CGS) program that credits solar customers for the excess electricity they send to the grid. A recent decision by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) created space in the CGS program by transferring it from private rooftop solar systems that were approved in the past several years but never completed.

The CGS program at all three utilities last year reached the capacity caps set by the PUC. To enable more customers to enroll, the companies proposed that space be transferred from approved but long-inactive rooftop projects. Estimates show at least 20 megawatts of CGS capacity is available for customers of the three companies, representing about 2,800 private rooftop solar systems. More than half of that capacity is on Oahu.

Hundreds of CGS applications are already in line for processing. Those applications will be processed in the order received and only as capacity becomes available through Oct. 21, 2017. Customers interested in submitting an application should first review our Going Solar webpage and check the online Locational Value Maps to determine if the circuit serving their neighborhood has room for more solar. If the circuit is saturated, equipment upgrades might be required, potentially adding to the cost and time needed for approval.

To allow for more integration of private solar, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are testing the latest technologies, including advanced inverters that may be used to improve circuit conditions.

Hawaiian Electric advises grid-supply applicants to install a “right-sized” system calculated for their household’s actual energy use rather than an oversized system designed mainly to sell electricity to the grid. Oversized systems cost more and can potentially export more electricity than the homeowner will receive credit for on their electric bill. By using Solar WattPlan, the companies’ online calculator, customers can determine what size system is right for them.

Installing a “right-sized” system helps leave room for future interconnections on the circuit, making space for others.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies lead the nation in the adoption of solar power. Nearly 78,500 customers have had their systems approved or installed on Oahu, Maui County, and Hawaii Island. To date, 16 percent of all customers have PV systems – nearly 20 times the national average.

Hokulea and Hikianalia Arrive in Tahiti

Legendary Polynesian voyaging canoes Hokulea and Hikianalia have arrived in Tahiti.

This arrival marks the first time the sister canoes have reunited since the vessels embarked on separate Malama Honua sail plans in spring of 2015 – when Hikianalia sailed for the Hawaiian Islands to advance the education mission of the Worldwide Voyage while Hokulea continued on her unprecedented circumnavigation of the globe. The canoes’ arrival will be celebrated with the Tahiti community tomorrow, April 14, 2017.

Tahiti holds special historical significance for the Polynesian Voyaging Society as the destination of Hokulea’s first deep sea voyage in 1976, over 40 years ago. Tahiti is the largest island of French Polynesia and shares origins with the rest of the Polynesian Triangle. The mountain, Moua Orohena, tops the island and stands 7,352 feet tall, earning the distinction as the highest point in French Polynesia; its height has made Tahiti the home base of voyaging for generations.

Sister canoes Hokulea and Hikianalia will travel to Raiatea for a ceremony in Taputapuatea on April 25. Hokulea and Hikianalia will sail home in early May to begin the final deep-sea leg of the Worldwide Voyage.

Aloha Grown 2017 Malama Honua Fund to Give Away Five (5) $500 Awards

The Aloha Grown Malama Honua Fund is once again giving away five (5) $500 awards to local non-profits, schools, organizations or initiatives on the Big Island that embody Aloha Grown’s philosophy to Support Local. Sustain the Aina. Share the Aloha.

Interested groups must complete an application form and write a one-page essay explaining how their organization follows Aloha Grown’s philosophy. Essays must include the organization’s mission and vision, along with the specific project, program and/or effort that the $500 award would be used to fund.

“Aloha Grown is committed to supporting efforts to care for our island, our people and our culture. That is why 2% of every Aloha Grown sale goes to the Malama Honua Fund, which awards local nonprofits, schools, organizations and initiatives that embody our philosophy.”­­

Previous award winners have included Kohala Elementary School, Punana Leo o Waimea, Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin, Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School, and many more. Their sustainability programs and efforts have included community gardens, aquaponics systems, keiki farm stands, culinary programs, and outdoor educational “classrooms”.

All submissions are due by March 31, 2017. The five (5) selected recipients of the 2017 Aloha Grown Malama Honua Fund Awards will be contacted by April 28, 2017.

For more information on Aloha Grown or to see previous year’s Malama Honua Fund award winners, visit www.alohagrown.com.

Hawaii State Land Board Approves Carbon Credits Initiative

Growing Trees will Provide Opportunity for Purchase of Credits

If you drive a car, fly in a plane, use air-conditioning to cool your home, or engage in other activity powered by fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gas, you may soon have new ways to offset your emissions locally, by supporting Hawaiian forest restoration.

On Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, the State Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) approved Hawai‘i’s first ever carbon offset project in State forests. DLNR and its Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will now issue a request for proposals for private entities to create a carbon forestry project in the Pu’u Mali Restoration Area in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve on Hawai‘i island.

Pu’u Mali Forest Restoration Area. All images courtesy: Hawaii DLNR

BLNR and DLNR Chair Suzanne Case explained, “Creating new ways to fund restoration of Pu’u Mali and other State forests is a win-win for the public, foresters, and our watersheds.”

DLNR is also in the process of creating a carbon offset pilot project on southern Maui, where carbon credits will be sold directly by the State to buyers.

The Kahikinui State Forest Reserve (SFR) and the adjacent Nākula Natural Area Reserve (NAR), high on the south slopes of Maui’s Haleakala, are steep, generally dry, and windswept. Over the course of many decades, uncontrolled grazing by introduced invasive hooved animals, like goats and cattle, virtually destroyed the native koa and ʻōhiʻa forest in this area. This has caused serious erosion, loss of native habitat for endangered plants and animals, increased wildfire threats, and reduced watershed function.

Kahikinui State Forest Reserve

DOFAW Administrator David Smith explained, “Ultimately this will give individuals, organizations, and companies the opportunity to purchase credits directly from the State to offset their greenhouse gas emissions, which cause global warming. Trees and forests store carbon, so the way we remove it from the atmosphere is by planting more trees.” The carbon offset pilot project is proposed for funding from the Hawai‘i State Legislature.

Philipp LaHaela Walter, DOFAW’s Resource and Survey Forester said, “Both the Pu’u Mali and Maui carbon forestry projects will help implement Governor Ige’s Sustainable Hawaii Initiative and the Aloha+ Challenge, by mitigating climate change, restoring forest and native species, and enhancing watersheds.”

The Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership, a voluntary watershed protection alliance of 11 public and private landowners encompassing 43,000 contiguous acres, has led forest restoration at Kahikinui and Nākula to date. Over the last three years DOFAW and its partners have constructed more than 7 miles of ungulate proof fencing, removed 700 invasive animals, and planted 45,500 native plant seedlings in the Kahikinui SFR and 71,000 trees in the Nākula NAR.

On a recent visit to Kahikinui SFR, Maui-based DOFAW forester Lance DeSilva had a gleam in his eye as he surveyed young koa trees, that six months ago were barely a foot tall and now have grown to 4 to 5 feet.  DeSilva said, “From the last time I came out here, you could barely see the seedlings that our crew had planted. Ample rain has helped. It’s very promising. It’s a feel-good moment to see this. It’s really nice.”

Volunteers and staff have primarily planted koa along with māmane, ʿaʿaliʿi, pilo, ʻōhiʻa, ʻōlapa and other native understory plants. It’s all in an effort, as DeSilva explained, “to return Kahikinui back to its native condition, which started with fencing, invasive animal removal, and planting native plants. The goal is to one day have this functioning as a fully intact and productive watershed.  Eventually we’d like to look at reintroducing some of the native birds here, but first the habitat for them has to recover.”

Smith pointed to the many benefits of both the Big Island and Maui restoration and carbon offset projects, saying, “We and our partners look forward to converting degraded pastureland or forests back to native forest, to store carbon, reduce erosion, increase water supply recharge, re-establish endangered species habitat, mitigate wildfire threats, and support many other natural and cultural benefits.”

Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light to Seek More Renewable Energy for Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Hawaii Island

Consistent with the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ updated energy action plans, Maui Electric Company and Hawaii Electric Light Company has asked the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to start the process to seek new renewable energy generation on Maui, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi and Hawaii Island. To ensure customers benefit from these projects as soon as possible, this effort is targeting projects that can be in service by the end of 2020.

The energy plan update, submitted to the PUC on Dec. 23, 2016, envisions achieving 100 percent renewable energy on Molokai by 2020, Lānaʻi by 2030, and Maui and Hawaii Island by 2040.

Following established regulatory rules, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light are asking the PUC to open dockets to facilitate issuing formal requests for proposals (RFPs) for new renewable energy projects and to appoint an independent observer (IO) to oversee the procurement process. A separate RFP would be issued for each island. Appointing an independent observer early in the process would allow the collaborative design of the RFPs and associated technical, operational, and performance requirements for renewable energy proposals. Once the PUC approves the RFP design, the companies will release the RFPs that will provide details to prospective bidders on the renewable energy being sought for each island.

“On Hawaii Island, nearly 50 percent of our energy is produced from renewable sources,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president. “We’ll continue to pursue projects that are clean, sustainable, reliable, and can result in lower bills for our customers.”

Maui Island is currently at more than 35 percent renewable energy.

“While our energy plans are still under review, we need to move forward in seeking more renewable energy for the benefit of our customers,” said Sharon Suzuki, Maui Electric president. “It’s critical that we move quickly in seeking potential projects that can help meet our state’s clean energy milestones.”

Hawaiian Electric is awaiting approval from the PUC for a similar request for Oahu submitted in June 2016.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Submit Updated Energy Plans

Companies will reach 48% renewable electricity by 2020, including 100% renewable on Moloka’i

The Hawaiian Electric Companies today outlined a detailed plan charting the near-term actions that will lead to the use of renewable resources to meet 100 percent of Hawai’i’s power generation needs by 2045.

The Power Supply Improvement Plan Update filed with the Hawai’i Public Utilities Commission describes the work that will form the foundation to meet or exceed the state’s renewable energy milestones, which are the most ambitious in the country.

The updated plan describes greater and faster expansion of the companies’ renewable energy portfolio than in the plan filed in April 2016 and emphasizes work that is in progress or planned over the next five years on each of the five islands the Hawaiian Electric Companies serve.

It also stresses the need to remain flexible so that decisions made today don’t crowd out future technological advances in power generation, distribution and storage.

The companies forecast that they will exceed the state’s renewable energy milestones in 2020 and can exceed the milestones in 2030 and 2040 by attaining a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) of:

  • 48 percent by the end of 2020; the mandated goal is 30 percent
  • At least 72 percent by the end of 2030; the mandated goal is 40 percent
  • At least 100 percent by the end of 2040; the mandated goal is 70 percent. This would be five years ahead of the 2045 deadline to reach the goal of 100 percent renewable energy.

The plan estimates that the RPS after 2030 could exceed 100 percent when taking into account customers’ generation of electricity for their own use as well as the anticipated widespread use of battery storage.

In the near-term, using a proposed mix of solar, wind, battery storage and biofuels, the plan aims to achieve an RPS of 100 percent on Moloka’i by 2020.

By 2020, Hawai’i Island is forecast to reach an RPS of 80 percent, Maui 63 percent, Lānaʻi 59 percent and O’ahu 40 percent.

The plan includes the continued growth of private rooftop solar and describes the work to expand and upgrade grid infrastructure and to use the newest generations of inverters, control systems and energy storage to help reliably integrate an estimated total of 165,000 private systems by 2030, more than double today’s total of 79,000. Hawaiian Electric already has the highest percentage of customers using rooftop solar of any utility in the U.S. and customer-sited storage is seen as a key contributor to the growth of the renewable portfolio on every island.

In addition, the plan forecasts the addition of 360 megawatts of grid‑scale solar, 157 megawatts of grid‑scale wind and 115 megawatts from programs known as Demand Response, which can shift customer use of electricity to times when more renewable energy is available, potentially making room to add even more renewable resources.

“The energy transformation must include everyone” is one of seven principles that the Hawaiian Electric Companies developed to broadly help define the mission of the power supply improvement plan. The need to balance the pursuit of renewable energy with price stability and affordability for customers is described throughout the plan. Investments in grid infrastructure, as well as rising oil prices, are expected to increase the typical residential bill over the next several years, with gradually declining bills forecast to start in the mid-2020s.

A change from the document filed in April is that this update does not include the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to generate power in the near-term. While LNG remains a potential lower-cost bridge fuel to be evaluated, the companies’ priority is to continue replacing fossil fuel generation with renewables over the next five years as federal tax incentives for renewables begin to phase out.

An interisland cable is not in the near-term plan, which states that its costs and benefits should continue to be evaluated.

The plan also provides a solid foundation for the electrification of transportation, reducing the use of fossil fuels for ground transportation. For example, charging electric vehicles during the day when renewable energy is abundant could create an additional demand for renewables.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are exploring additional actions and resources beyond those described in the plan. For example, working with land owners and developers, planners are exploring pumped storage hydropower, run-of-the-river hydropower, hydrogen and wave energy as potential additions. As part of this ongoing exploration, the companies recently issued a Request for Information to land owners who may be interested in teaming with a developer to host a renewable energy project.

“We have a solid plan that accelerates our progress to get to 100 percent renewable energy. We can do this,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO.  “We want to work with parties from all segments of our community — government, business, community, and environmental groups – to refine the plans for Hawai’i’s energy future.”

The companies followed an open, collaborative process to develop these plans, participating in multiple stakeholder workshops and technical conferences to share information and ideas. Planners ran and analyzed multiple scenarios to balance the desires for reliability, affordability and sustainability.

Among the stakeholders who provided input into the plan are the state Consumer Advocate; Ulupono Initiative; Blue Planet Foundation; Hawai’i Gas; Paniolo Power on Hawai’i Island and the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Additional independent technical analysis was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute and the Electric Power Research Institute.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Gathering Information on Land Available for Renewable Energy Development

To help accelerate and inform efforts to achieve 100 percent renewable energy, the Hawaiian Electric Companies today launched an effort to gather information about land that may be made available for future renewable energy projects that will benefit all electric customers.

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and the Hawaii Electric Light Company are issuing a Request for Information (RFI) which asks interested landowners to provide information about properties on Oahu, Hawaii island, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai available for utility-scale renewable energy projects, such as solar and wind farms, or for growing biofuel feedstock.

“Land is one of the most important resources to consider in the development of renewable energy projects. By proactively identifying potential sites, we are hoping to make the process of developing renewable energy projects faster and more efficient for both land owners and prospective developers,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric vice president of strategic planning and business development.

To reach 100 percent renewable energy, Hawaii will need a broad mix of renewable energy resources. Continued growth of private rooftop solar energy systems and energy storage will offer customers more options. These resources will be complemented by additional large-scale projects, which will help ensure all customers receive the benefits renewable energy.

Interested parties should submit responses to the RFI by Jan. 27, 2017. For more information, go to www.hawaiianelectric.com/landRFI or email landrfi@hawaiianelectric.com.

More than 1,000 Enroll in Hawaiian Electric Companies Time-of-Use Rates Program

As of Dec. 2, 1,008 customers had signed up for the Hawaiian Electric Companies new Time-of-Use rates, a program that will charge customers less for power used during the day – when solar energy production is highest – and more at night.

helco-new-logo-2The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) set a limit of 5,000 customers for the program, meaning 20 percent of the total enrollment has already been reached.

Developed under the direction of the PUC, this program provides customers with an opportunity to save money if they shift their energy use to daytime hours. For example, customers who do laundry, cook, or heat water during the day may be able to save. Customers who charge electric vehicles or energy storage systems in the day may also benefit.

The amount of savings, if any, will depend on how much a customer can shift the use of electricity from night to day. As a result, this program may not fit the needs of all customers.

As directed by the PUC, this program is voluntary and will run for two years. The rates are only available to residential customers.

Participating customers will receive information on their bills that compares their costs under this program and the standard residential rate for electricity. Customers may opt out of the program if they feel it isn’t the right fit for them.

To enroll or for more information, go to www.hawaiianelectric.com/timeofuse or call:

  • Oahu: (808) 548-7311
  • Maui: (808) 871-9777
  • Molokai and Lanai: 1-877-871-8461
  • Hilo: (808) 969-6999
  • Kona: (808) 329-3584
  • Waimea: (808) 885-4605

Feasibility of a Non-Commercial Marine Fishing Registry, Permit, or License System in Hawaii

Following six meetings earlier this year, the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) has received a report from a group of experts and organizations with interest in establishing non-commercial fishing licenses in Hawaii’i.

Click to read the study

Click to read the study

The independent group studied the potential benefits and impacts of different forms of a non-commercial marine fishing registry, permit, or license system.  Participants in the meetings, held between May and November, included the Western Pacific Fisheries Management Council, Conservation International, fisheries resources managers, experts, and representatives from different fishing organizations and interest groups.

The study group interviewed fisheries managers from other coastal states, conducted a detailed economic feasibility analysis, and consulted with legal experts, including an expert in native Hawaiian law.

According to DAR Administrator Dr. Bruce Anderson, “This group specifically focused on the ability of a potential system to meet three primary fishery objectives.”  This includes providing additional and more robust data to support fisheries management; to foster more dialogue between fishers and managers; and to create a continuous source of independent funding to support effective fisheries management.  In expressing the DLNR’s appreciation to the members of the study group, Anderson wrote, “It is indeed a thorough and well-researched document.  We are impressed with the way all the members worked together throughout the project.

While Study Group members did not hesitate to express divergent views, their comments were always intended to be constructive. I believe the final report reflects this spirit of cooperation and collaboration as well as the dedication and hard work of all members.  Every member certainly has a great passion and appreciation of the value of our marine resources.”

Anderson concluded, “We look forward to getting comments from a broad range of stakeholders before making such a decision on what option is preferred. Undoubtedly, this report will generate considerable discussion and serve as a valuable reference for all those interested in this issue.”


The Division of Aquatic Resources has received the Final Report from the Study Group for the Feasibility of a Non-Commercial Marine Fishing Registry, Permit, or License System for Hawai‘i.  The Study Group was jointly convened by Conservation International Hawai‘i and the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, and consisted of fisheries resource managers, experts, and representatives from various fishing organizations and interest groups.  The Study Group examined the potential benefits and impacts of different forms of a non-commercial marine fishing registry, permit, or license system and specifically focused on the ability of such as system to meet three primary fishery management objectives: (1) provide additional and more robust data to support fisheries management, (2) foster more two-way dialogue between fishers and managers, and (3) create sources of independent, continuous funding to support effective fisheries management and enforcement.  The process included interviews with fisheries managers from other coastal states, a detailed economic feasibility analysis, and consultation with legal experts, including an expert in native Hawaiian law.

The final report and supporting appendices can be downloaded below. All are pdf files under 1 MB except where noted.

Final Report (6.2 MB)
Executive Summary (3.6 MB)
Appendix A – Charter of Commitments (1.4 MB)
Appendix B – Coastal States & Territories Comparison Matrix
Appendix C – List of Listening Sessions Between Study Group Meetings
Appendix D – Comparison of Non-commercial Marine Fishing Regulation Systems in States Similar to Hawaii
Appendix E – Overview of Hawaii Legal Considerations for Potential Systems to Regulate Non-commercial Marine Fishing
Appendix F – Table of Provisions on the Right to Fish from Other States
Appendix G – Hawaii’s Traditional and Customary Rights Impact Analysis of Potential Systems to Regulate Non-commercial Marine Fishing (19.9 MB)
Appendix H – Financial Impact Analysis of Potential Systems to Regulate Non-commercial Marine Fishing
Appendix I – Personal Statements from Study Group Members

PISCES Partners with UH Hilo and NASA for Simulated Human Mars Mission on Hawaii Island

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) is partnering with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and NASA this month in a ground breaking research project to prepare for an eventual manned mission to Mars.

mars-simulationThe project, called BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains), is focused on developing operation protocols for a joint human-robotic exploration of Mars in the search for extraterrestrial life. BASALT scientists and crew members are conducting simulated missions in two locations which closely resemble the Martian landscape at different areas: Mauna Ulu at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho.

Currently, the BASALT team is investigating Mauna Ulu by traversing the rugged lava terrain to collect rock samples for both biologic and geologic analysis.

“We add a twist to our scientific fieldwork by conducting it under simulated Mars mission constraints,” said Dr. Darlene Lim, geobiologist and principal investigator for the BASALT research project. “By doing so, we can evaluate operational concepts and a variety of supporting capabilities that range from software to hardware components with respect to their anticipated value for the human exploration of Mars.”

One of their constraints is a communication time delay to simulate the latency of transmissions experienced between planets. Dr. Lim and her team are hoping to develop a tricorder-like device, as envisioned in Star Trek, to be able to identify rock samples using a hand-held instrument.

The researchers hope to better understand the habitability of Mars by studying Mauna Ulu, which is a high-fidelity analog for the landscape of early Mars when volcanism and water were common.

“No one has really worked this out yet,” said John Hamilton, PISCES test logistics and education/public outreach manager. “We want to work out the kinks during these exercises so we have it together on a real mission. By the time they go to Mars, they’ll have a rock-solid plan.”

The BASALT team consists of scientists, engineers, mission operators and active astronauts. Roughly a dozen students from the University of Hawaii at Hilo are also assisting with the project. Hamilton, who is also a faculty member with the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Department of Physics and Astronomy, is serving on the BASALT Science Team, overseeing data collection, logistics, and student assignments. The research project is central to NASA’s Journey to Mars program.

“PISCES is honored to be working together with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and NASA Ames on this project,” said Rodrigo Romo, PISCES program manager. “Collaborative work with Ames has been in the frontline of applied research for PISCES recently. The fact that university students get the opportunity to participate in events like the BASALT project will help them meet the demands of a very competitive industry.”

PISCES was selected last year by NASA’s highly competitive PSTAR (Planetary Science and Technology Through Analog Research) program to participate in the four-year, $4.2 million BASALT project, which is being administered by the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The BASALT research team will be conducting their research on Hawaii Island until Nov. 18.

For more information visit PISCES’ website at www.pacificspacecenter.com.

“Hawaii: Next 50 Contest” Offers New Prize

A new prize will allow students winners of the Hawaii: Next 50 Contest to interface with innovation professionals and navigate their ideas from conception to reality.

hawaii-next-50Sultan Ventures will provide one-on-one mentorship opportunities for the winners in each contest category as well as host an innovation boot camp for the top-24 scoring participants.

The 2017 contest focuses on using technology to solve problems in affordable housing, food sustainability, or economic industries. All students in grades 4 – 12 are eligible to submit their solutions now through January 31, 2017. In addition to the mentorship, winners will be honored at the Hawaii State Capitol, attend a luncheon with key legislators, and receive a monetary prize.

“This contest hinges on the premise that the next big, great idea to help our state can come from anyone,” said Representative Takashi Ohno. “These opportunities to hone their ideas into actual solutions are a way we can show kids that it’s possible for them to make a real-world impact now.”

The Hawaii: Next 50 Contest is inspired by former Governor George Ariyoshi’s book, Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years, and students will read the book before launching their own ideas for Hawaii’s future in an essay or multimedia creation. Free copies of the book can be requested online at www.HawaiiNext50.com.

The contest is a collaboration of the Hawaii State House of Representatives, aio Foundation, Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and Sultan Ventures.

More information can be found online at www.HawaiiNext50.com or email HawaiiNext50@gmail.com.


Hawaii: Next 50 Contest

WHO:      Students enrolled in grades 4 – 12 are eligible to enter.

WHAT:     Students are asked to read Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years and respond to the question Looking ahead to the next 50 years, imagine how we can use current technology or future technology to:

  • Create more affordable housing
  • Achieve food sustainability
  • Promote new and innovative industries

Students are encouraged to get creative and find solutions using technology in one of the three topics. The technology utilized can exist currently or be an idea that might be possible in the future as long as the details are explained in the contest entry.

Submissions will be accepted in two categories: essay or multimedia (e.g. drawing, painting, other art piece, video, etc.)

Free copies of Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years are available by request at www.HawaiiNext50.com.

WHEN:    All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on January 31, 2017. Winners to be announced in March 2017.

WHY:   To challenge the up-and-coming generation to become stakeholders in shaping our future. Prizes include:

  • Floor presentation at the Hawaii State Capitol
  • Luncheon with state legislators
  • Two-hour mentorship program with Sultan Ventures
  • Monetary prize
  • Winning entry published online

The top-24 scoring entries will also be invited to an innovation boot camp hosted by Sultan Ventures.

Hawaii Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Pilot Program Update

In April of 2015, “Distinguished officials attended a blessing and seed planting ceremony for the University of Hawaii’s Industrial Hemp Project in Waimanalo. This project was the result of Act 56 which established an industrial hemp research project to be conducted by Principal UH Researcher Dr. Harry Ako to study hemp for soil phytoremediation (cleaning) as well as for a potential biofuel.”

From Left to right: Senator Russell Ruderman, Representative Cynthia Thielen, Dr. Harry Ako, Lead Scientist for the Hawai’i Hemp Project, Senator Mike Gabbard, Representative Chris Lee, Representative Richard Cregan, Senator Gil Riviere, Representative Lynn DeCoite and Maria Gallo Dean of the University of Hawai’i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources.

From Left to right: Senator Russell Ruderman, Representative Cynthia Thielen, Dr. Harry Ako, Lead Scientist for the Hawai’i Hemp Project, Senator Mike Gabbard, Representative Chris Lee, Representative Richard Cregan, Senator Gil Riviere, Representative Lynn DeCoite and Maria Gallo Dean of the University of Hawai’i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources.

Currently The Hawaii Department of Agriculture is:

  • Registering as a Schedule 1 importer of controlled substances with the DEA.
  • Identifying optimal seed sources for importation.
  • Drafting administrative regulations to govern the hemp pilot program.

Upcoming

The Department Plans to:

  • Release a request for proposals (RFP) to secure a contractor(s) to develop a line of Hawaii acclimated industrial hemp seed for distribution to licensees in the upcoming industrial hemp pilot program.
  • Import seeds to be further developed into a line of industrial hemp for Hawaii by the contractor/(s) selected at the end of the RFP process.

Projected Timeline*

  1. November 2016 Administrative rules drafted, review process begins.
  2. January 2017 Hemp Seed Development RFP Posted
  3. February 2017 Hemp seed development contract awarded, seed development begins.
  4. Fall 2017: Program Coordinator and Inspector selected.
  5. January 1-April 1 2018: Growers may begin applying for licenses.

*All date and times are rough estimates, and subject to change without notice, being contingent upon funding and approval processes.

Resources

  • AT THIS TIME: If you are interested in participating in the State industrial hemp pilot program, please examine Act 228 to see the infrastructure which will be required of applicants, and the recording and fee requirements licensees must meet.
  • http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/GM1330_.PDF

Nainoa Thompson Honored with 2016 Legacy Award at the Annual BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit

Renowned navigator and Polynesian Voyaging Society president Nainoa Thompson was honored yesterday with the 2016 Legacy Award at the annual BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit. The prestigious accolade celebrates and recognizes leaders that have made extraordinary achievements to create a lasting legacy in ocean conservation, exploration, education, innovation, and the pursuit of marine knowledge.

nainoa-blue“Like crossing the deep ocean in a voyaging canoe, navigating towards a better Island Earth takes a crew of passionate people with the power and commitment to make a difference,” said Thompson. “I am truly inspired to be surrounded by so many others here at the BLUE Ocean Film Festival who are taking risks and making great strides towards global sustainability, respect for our ocean, and the kind of education that prepares our next generation of stewards who will navigate our communities to a brighter future.”

Thompson was acknowledged for his leadership on the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage as captain and navigator of iconic sailing canoe Hokulea. Throughout the world-spanning wayfinding journey, he has guided crew members in successfully sharing experiential education and inspiring communities to care for themselves, each other, and their natural and cultural environments. In addition to Thompson, the honor was also presented to Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Greg MacGillivray, who has produced and directed some of the industry’s most enduring conservation education films.

“It is a privilege to welcome Nainoa and Greg as this year’s Legacy Award winners and praise them as outstanding pioneers that personify great courage, passion and wisdom,” said BLUE CEO Debbie Kinder. “For seven years, we’ve successfully hosted this celebration of achievements in ocean conservation and are proud to call it the birthplace of many inspiring and innovative collaborations each year.”

Founded in 2009, BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit is a unique convergence of film festival and ocean conservation summit, highlighting ocean-related films, breath-taking photography, inspiring keynotes, captivating art, thought-provoking panels, engaging music, hands-on workshops, conservation activities and great parties. It has become one of the world’s most popular ocean events for innovators, entrepreneurs, government dignitaries, emerging talent, media icons, thought-leaders, scientists, teachers, explorers and industry professionals from all walks of life who share a common passion for the sea.

Past recipients of the Legacy Award include Captain Don Walsh for ocean exploration, James Cameron for ocean filmmaking, Phil Nuytten for ocean exploration, Eugenie Clark for ocean science, Stan Waterman for ocean filmmaking and HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco for ocean stewardship.

For more information on the 2016 BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit, please click here.

Interest in Next Wave of Solar Power Rising in Hawaii

Applications for the next generation of private rooftop solar energy systems have surged in recent weeks, showing growing customer interest in the program and this new technology.

solar-panel-in-hawaiiAs of Nov. 1, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company received 234 Customer Self-Supply applications, up from approximately 50 applications in early October.

So far, nearly 100 applications have been approved and are ready for installation, with the rest going through the standard technical review.

“Things are just getting started. Solar power is still a viable option and we expect more customers to install self-supply systems as they learn more about the program,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service.

Customer Self-Supply represents the evolution of solar energy systems. These systems enable households to generate their own electricity and to potentially store energy for use after the sun goes down.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies lead the nation in the adoption of solar power. Nearly 79,000 customers have been approved on Oahu, Maui County, and Hawaii island. To date, 15 percent of all residential and commercial electric customers have PV systems – nearly 20 times the national average. Approximately 29 percent of all single family homes have been approved to install a PV system.

Hawaiian Electric Time-of-Use Rates Program Off to a Brisk Start

In slightly more than a week, more than 500 residential customers have signed up for the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ new Time-of-Use rates, a program that will charge customers less for power used during the day – when solar energy production is highest – and more at night.

As of Oct. 28, 508 customers had enrolled. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) set a limit of 5,000 customers for the program, meaning 10 percent of the total enrollment has already been reached.

The strongest response has been on Oahu, with 426 customers enrolled, followed by Maui County with 61, and Hawaii island with 21.

Developed under the direction of the PUC, this program provides customers with an opportunity to save money if they shift their energy use to daytime hours. For example, customers who do laundry, cook, or heat water during the day may be able to save. Customers who charge electric vehicles or energy storage systems in the day may also benefit.

The amount of savings, if any, will depend on how much a customer can shift the use of electricity from night to day. As a result, this program may not fit the needs of all customers.

helco-rates

As directed by the PUC, this program is voluntary and will run for two years. The rates are only available to residential customers.

Participating customers will receive information on their bills that compares their costs under this program and the standard residential rate for electricity. Customers may opt out of the program if they feel it isn’t the right fit for them.

To enroll or for more information, go to www.hawaiianelectric.com/timeofuse or call:

  • Oahu: (808) 548-7311
  • Maui: (808) 871-9777
  • Molokai and Lanai: 1-877-871-8461
  • Hilo: (808) 969-6999
  • Kona: (808) 329-3584
  • Waimea: (808) 885-4605

HELCO President to Speak at West Hawaii Forum – Hawaii’s Energy Future

What’s Ahead for Hawaii’s Energy Future?

Join the discussion at this month’s West Hawaii Forum on September 15th, 2016 from6 PM   –   8 PM at the West Hawaii Civic Center, Council Chambers

Doors will open at 5:30 pm. This program is free and open to the public.

Jay Ignacio, President of Hawai’i Electric Company (HELCO)

Jay Ignacio, President of Hawai’i Electric Company (HELCO)

Don’t miss this important September 15th Forum — energy is everybody’s business.    Join us and hear varying energy visions from top stakeholders in a post-NextEra Hawaii. Learn how Hawai’i could achieve its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2045 and how those plans may affect you.

What economic and environmental benefits can we expect when Hawaii’s energy needs are met through locally produced clean energy?

Is it possible for all ground and marine transportation to be electrified or powered by renewable hydrogen or renewable biofuels?

Of Hawaii’s top 250 companies, five are solar contractors that generated $140 million in 2015 and are the economic drivers of several thousand local jobs.

What does the future hold for rooftop solar?

Forum Presenters:

  • Jay Ignacio, President of Hawai’i Electric Company (HELCO)
  • Isacc Moriwake, Esq., Earthjustice, Mid-Pacific Office, Hawai’i
  • Marco Mangelsdorf, Hawai’i Island Energy Cooperative (HIEC)

Forum Moderator – Henry Curtis, Illana Media, Hawai’i

In advance of the Forum, ask your questions or concerns for the energy experts at: http://www.westhawaiiforum.org/event/nextera-your-next-utility/     And join the Forum audience on September 15th, as experts explain their visions and plans for the next five years of Hawaii’s 30 year path to a clean and independent energy future.

Hawaii to Effectively Manage 30 Percent of Hawaii’s Nearshore Ocean Waters by 2030

Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) and Promise to Pae Aina partners (P2P) are celebrating Governor David Ige’s announcement today that the State is committed to effectively managing 30 percent of Hawaii’s nearshore waters by 2030 in the main Hawaiian Islands. Announced at the opening ceremony of the IUCN World Conservation Congress, this 30 by 30 marine goal is a milestone event for P2P, a Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage-inspired collaboration of partners with a collective commitment to ensure Hawaii is a better place when Hokulea returns than when she left in 2014.

ige iucnIn his speech today, Governor Ige said, “Our reefs provide habitat for spectacular marine life, and feed us.  That’s why I’m committed to effectively managing 30 percent of our nearshore ocean waters by 2030.”

Multiple sources of scientific research suggest that the health and function of at least 30 percent of nearshore reef areas are necessary to sustain the productivity of reef regions like those in the main Hawaiian Islands. The 30 by 30 initiative provides an overarching target that builds on the State’s current efforts to improve the capacity and coverage of enforcement, support community-based marine management, develop a plan to address coral bleaching, and strengthen statewide regulations, monitoring, enforcement, and other adaptive management measures. Effective management will be measured by a broadly agreed-upon set of biological parameters for “healthy” reef systems developed by scientific expertise, traditional knowledge, and user input. The plan for this effort is to be an open, inclusive process balancing fisher and other ocean user interests with the State’s restoration and conservation needs.

“Initiatives such as 30 by 30 are essential for our sail plan to a sustainable future. To protect life on earth, we have to protect the ocean waters,” said Nainoa Thompson, president, Polynesian Voyaging Society. “The impact made by the collective efforts of our partners is a testament to how the community can come together to create change that will benefit our children and our future,” he added.

The 30 by 30 commitment was developed through a collaborative effort of conservation organizations, marine resource management groups, community members and government agencies brought together by Promise to Pae Aina o Hawaii (P2P), a collective impact initiative inspired by the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. As Hokulea sails the Worldwide Voyage (WWV) sharing her message to mālama honua, to care for Island Earth, P2P’s primary focus is to compel the ocean management community to acknowledge that the issues facing the environment are shared problems that need shared solutions. The group came together and penned the Promise to the Pae Aina declaration (http://www.hokulea.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Promise-to-Paeaina.pdf) document on April 23, 2014.

Guiding Restoration of Hawaiian Fishponds

Loko i‘a, or traditional Hawaiian fishponds, are unique aquaculture systems that existed throughout ancient Hawai‘i. Although a 1990 statewide survey identified 488 loko i‘a sites, many were in degraded condition, and either completely beyond repair or unrecognizable.

fishponds2However, there is hope, as communities and stewardship groups continue to actively restore or have expressed interest in reviving the integrity and productivity of fishpond locations still in existence.

Suzanne Case, Department of Land and Natural Resources Chair says, “In 2012, a dedicated group of individuals and organizations came together to overcome difficulties in obtaining approvals from multiple agencies, to maintain and restore Hawaiian fishponds.”

fishpondsFishpond practitioners formed Hui Malama Loko I‘a to empower one another and leverage their skills, knowledge and resources, while working to feed and connect communities around the islands.  This network currently includes over 38 fishponds and complexes, with over 100 fishpond owners, workers, supporters and stakeholders.

Case adds, “Now the DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands is releasing a new guidebook on fishpond restoration in time for the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016. This guidebook marks the beginning of what we hope will be a new day in Hawaiian fishpond revitalization,” she said.

Fishponds3The newly published, high-quality, full-color “Ho‘ala Loko I‘a Permit Application Guidebook” is intended to help cultural practitioners, landowners and community groups navigate a new streamlined application process for Hawaiian fishpond revitalization.

Historically, fishponds have been subject to an extensive permitting process that requires large amounts of resources and time to secure. So in 2015 the State of Hawai‘i completed streamlining the permitting process for the repair, restoration, maintenance and operation of traditional Hawaiian fishponds in Hawai‘i.

The DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands (OCCL) and collaborators have developed a master permit for traditional Hawaiian fishponds that encompasses the main permits currently required. This master permitting process and program is called “Ho‘ala Loko I‘a.” The program was designed to be in compliance with as many federal and state regulations as possible to make the permitting process easier for fishpond practitioners to navigate.

Practitioners can now use a simplified conservation district use permit to apply for permits under this programmatic permit.

A programmatic environmental assessment (EA) was also completed to comply with the Hawai’i Environmental Quality Act (HEPA). The CDUP and programmatic EA were designed to cover all existing traditional fishponds in the State.

fishponds4Another helpful step was the signing of Bill 230 by Governor Ige in July 2015, which waived the need to obtain a Department of Health 401 Water Quality Certification for fishpond restoration.  This waiver is only available to projects that obtain permits through the OCCL program.  While the program vastly reduces government red tape, projects are still required to have water quality monitoring, mitigation and best management practices in place to keep Hawaii’s waters clean and reefs healthy.

The Ho‘ala Loko I‘a Permit Application Guidebook further provides clear guidance on how to meet State water quality standard.

Although this streamlined permitting program covers many of the authorizations for restoring a loko i‘a, in some cases, additional permits or authorizations may still be required, such as:

  • A right of entry agreement from DLNR land division for a state-owned pond
  • A stream channel alteration permit from the Commission on Water Resource Management)
  • A special management area county permit for work mauka of the shoreline

Applications submitted to OCCL are reviewed and subject to best management practices and monitoring standards that help to protect Hawaii’s environmental and cultural resources while supporting the need for communities and practitioners to care for
loko i‘a.

Hawaii Governor Extends Emergency Homeless Proclamation

Gov. David Y. Ige today signed a sixth supplemental proclamation on homelessness, which will remain in effect until Oct. 19. The supplemental proclamation provides 60 additional days in which to further expand the state’s collaborative efforts to house the most visible and chronic homeless individuals.  In the past year, the proclamations have helped more than 4,800 people — representing 1,353 families — move out of homelessness or prevent it altogether.

Click tor read

Click tor read

“The tide is turning,” said the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness Scott Morishige.  “Collectively, our state is moving forward with a unified strategy that addresses three levers of change: affordable housing, health & human services and public safety. All stakeholders are working together in unison across multiple sectors. This coordinated and persistent approach is moving people off the streets,” he said.

Lever One: Affordable Housing

A major priority for the Ige Administration is to increase affordable housing. The proclamations allowed for emergency housing of approximately 300 homeless individuals who were in jeopardy of being displaced after federal budget cuts to seven local organizations.

impact1Additionally, the proclamations reduced the development time of nine different joint projects with the counties by up to a year per project. These housing projects are specifically designed for homeless individuals and families, including the Family Assessment Center in Kaka`ako Makai, which will open in September and house 240 people per year.  Today’s supplemental proclamation adds two additional City & County of Honolulu long-term housing projects, bringing the total to 11.

Lever Two: Health & Human Services

The proclamations allowed faster distribution of financial resources for permanent housing and to prevent homelessness.  Between August 2015 and July 2016, there was a 51 percent increase in the number of individuals and families moving into housing or preserving housing, as compared to the prior 12-month period.   This includes a 55 percent increase on O‘ahu and a 47 percent increase on the neighbor islands.  The following programs received increased funding:

  • The State Homeless Emergency Grant (SHEG) provides one-time assistance for housing, food, medical and other types of expenses arising from emergency needs.
  • Housing Placement Program (HPP) provides first month’s rent or security deposit, as well as temporary case management, for homeless families with minor children.
  • Coordinated Statewide Homeless Initiative (CSHI) provides homelessness prevention and Rapid Re-Housing statewide, and increases coordination for the statewide telephone navigation service (2-1-1) for homeless individuals.

impact2

Lever Three: Public Safety

By enabling the quick execution of contracts and allocation of dedicated resources, the emergency proclamations supported the reduction in the number of unsheltered persons in the Kaka`ako Makai area.  The population decreased from a high of approximately 300 unsheltered persons in August 2015 to approximately 50 unsheltered persons in August 2016.