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Two-Year Demo to Determine How Storage Can Smooth Journey to 100% Renewables

Hawaiian Electric Company has placed into service its first utility-scale Battery Energy Storage System or BESS, on Oahu — a one-megawatt battery located at the Campbell Industrial Park generating station. The BESS is a joint demonstration project by the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii and Hawaiian Electric, with funding from the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

helco-battery-installation

The demonstration project will continue for two years, with a possible extension, to determine the battery’s safety, operating characteristics, and its effectiveness in helping to integrate more renewable energy on a circuit that already has a high level of solar.

“To achieve our 100 percent renewable energy goal, we need to be able to smooth power flowing to the grid from variable renewable generation like wind and solar as well as shift electricity generated when the sun is shining to when people use the most electricity in the evening,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric vice president for corporate planning and business development. “We are working on these capabilities both with larger, utility-scale systems like the BESS units and with ‘behind-the-meter’ batteries at business and residential customer sites, all working in unison to make clean power work.”

The centerpiece of the BESS project is an Altairnano one megawatt/250 kilowatt-hour BESS which is housed in a large shipping container. The BESS is comprised of batteries that store the 250-kWh of energy and a corresponding inverter that changes DC to AC electricity so the battery can export up to one megawatt of power to the grid. The quick-responding battery can go from zero to full power output in a fraction of a second and provide 250 kilowatts of power for one hour or one megawatt for 15 minutes.

Also being tested are control algorithms that may be used in even larger batteries for power smoothing, voltage regulation and frequency response — all key factors in maintaining reliable service for customers with steady, quality power.

Other company battery storage projects in service

Working with Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, the Hawaiian Electric Companies have a similar BESS project in operation on Hawai‘i Island focused on wind smoothing and frequency regulation. Another has been installed at Maui Electric Company’s Palaau Power Plant on Molokai and is being tested to provide backup and stability for the island’s electric grid while providing an opportunity for HNEI to test its use.

“Battery storage systems can provide many different services to both customers and the utility, however, the systems need to be told what to do and how to do it to provide the most value while maximizing the life span of the system,” said Richard Rocheleau, director of the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute. “These projects will test different control strategies on different islands for different power system issues and provide information to Hawaii and the industry on the tradeoffs between performance and longevity. This will help to get the most out of larger systems that are being planned to help meet Hawaii’s renewable energy goals.”

The BESS projects are among half a dozen energy storage demonstrations and pilot projects underway across the Hawaiian Electric Companies service territories.

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.

NEHLA and County of Hawaii Host Energy Storage Conference

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) announced today that it is partnering with the County of Hawaii to host a conference on energy storage trends and opportunities in Kailua-Kona on Sept. 12 and 13.

The NEHLA Plant from above

The NEHLA Plant from above

”As the state works to reach its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2045, energy storage will be necessary to address increasing amounts of variable resources brought into the grid,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “This conference will bring together experts from U.S. National Laboratories, academia, government and industry to present energy storage technologies and applications and consider opportunities and challenges.”

“We are excited about the caliber of the speakers that will be presenting,” said Gregory Barbour, NELHA’s executive director. “This conference brings together experienced scientists, engineers, and policymakers to discuss energy storage and microgrid initiatives, issues and projects. This is an area that is not only at the forefront of renewable energy but also critical to widespread implementation of intermittent renewable technologies such as solar and wind technologies.”

The conference, which is supported in part by the County of Hawaii, includes presentations and panel discussions as well as visits to site demonstrations. It aims to have the latest information presented by leaders in energy storage technology, particularly on the economics of energy storage. Meeting participants will also discuss opportunities as well as regulatory and policy issues.

“We are pleased to partner with NELHA on this conference in an effort to bring leaders in the field of energy storage to the Island of Hawaii to share their insight and explore opportunities” stated Mayor Billy Kenoi. “Hawaii Island is already generating 50 percent renewable energy and grid-scale energy storage is certainly part of the equation for building towards our 100 percent goal”.

Attendance to the conference is open to the public.

Registration information is located at: nelhaenergystorage2016.hawaii-conference.com/.

Hawaii Governor Announces Opening of Section 8 Waiting list for First Time in Decade

Gov. David Ige announced that the Section 8 waiting list is opening on O‘ahu for the first time in 10 years. There is currently no one on the waiting list, which will reopen on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016 for families under the first tier of preferences which includes homeless individuals and families, victims of domestic violence, and families involuntarily displaced. More than 8,000 people have found housing through this program in the last decade.

On April 8, 2016, Governor David Ige proclaimed April "Fair Housing Awareness Month."

On April 8, 2016, Governor David Ige proclaimed April “Fair Housing Awareness Month.”

“We know that affordable housing is the primary concern for many families in our state,” Gov. Ige said. “Today’s announcement shows progress and confirms there is movement through the system.”

The state has worked diligently to increase access to housing by establishing an online application process. It estimates that approximately 12,000 new applications will be accepted before the list closes at midnight on Aug. 18, 2016.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to work with homeless service providers to access the online application portal.

Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority Executive Director Hakim Ouansafi acknowledged Hawai‘i’s landlords who make their properties available to Section 8 renters.  There are currently more than a thousand landlords participating in the program, a 375 percent increase over the last decade. “Each landlord provides more than a home to a local family,” said Ouansafi. “Landlords who open their properties to Section 8 renters provide the stability families need to thrive in our community. Applying for Section 8 has never been more convenient. Now applicants can even submit their online application from their mobile devices.”

For more information about the Section 8 program or the online application process, go to www.hpha.hawaii.gov.

Big Island Customer Grid-Supply Approaching Capacity Limit for Big Island

Customers who want solar still have options even as the capacity limit for rooftop solar systems that send excess power to the Hawaii Island grid is almost reached.

The Customer Grid-Supply program is approaching the 5-megawatt capacity limit set by the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for Hawaii Island. As of this week, the capacity of approved systems under the grid-supply program totals over four megawatts. However, customers will still be able to buy rooftop systems that don’t export to the grid but still offset a substantial part of their electric bill.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Under a Customer Self-Supply option, households are able to generate their own electricity and potentially store energy for use after the sun goes down. The PUC created the self-supply program as an alternative to the grid-supply program.

“On Hawaii Island, renewable energy is at an all-time high and comprises almost 50 percent of our generation mix,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president. “Rooftop solar power is an important part of our plans to get to 100 percent renewable energy and we’re continuing to develop more options for customers to support our state’s renewable energy goals.”

Solar providers are developing a variety of self-supply systems that meet the technical specifications set by the PUC. This will ensure continued safe, reliable service for all customers and provide opportunities for more customers to enjoy the benefits of solar energy.

For more information, go to https://www.hawaiielectriclight.com/distributedenergyresources.

Customers on Oahu may continue to apply for the Grid-Supply program. Customers should choose a system that’s the right size for their household, meaning the system matches their actual energy use. Buying a system that is larger than necessary will cost more upfront and will not necessarily save more money than a right-sized system. In addition, customers who install right-sized systems help leave room on the grid for more customers to have rooftop solar.

Self-Supply Solar a New Option for Homeowners

A new kind of rooftop solar system that enables households to generate their own electricity and to potentially store energy for use after the sun goes down is now being approved by the Hawaiian Electric Companies and installed on island homes.

Tesla Solar PaneThe new systems, believed to be the first of their kind in the U.S., are being installed under Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Customer Self-Supply Program, an alternative to the popular Customer Grid-Supply Program.

The systems are being developed specifically for the Hawaii market and use new inverter technology to provide power to the home but prevent any excess electricity from being exported to the grid. That’s important because, unlike the interconnected power grids on the mainland, there’s a physical limit to the amount of electricity that can be put on island grids at any given moment.

A growing number of these self-supply systems, including products sold by SolarCity, Sunrun, Vivint Solar and RevoluSun, now meet the specifications set by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Hawaiian Electric has been working with these companies to develop standard technical specifications that will qualify systems for an expedited approval and potentially faster installation.

The PUC created the Customer Self-Supply Program as an alternative to the grid-supply program, especially once the grid-supply capacity limits established by the commission were met.

The island’s first approved self-supply rooftop system was recently turned on at a home in Honolulu. Sixteen others on Oahu have been approved by Hawaiian Electric. Maui Electric has approved seven self-supply systems that are awaiting installation.

“Generating electricity, storing it, and using the energy on-site is the new normal. This product will help make the grid stronger and more reliable,” said Jon Yoshimura, director of policy and electricity markets for SolarCity, which recently installed a self-supply system with batteries at a home in Manoa.

“Hawaiian Electric has been an effective partner, working with us to streamline the approval process for this new product. We look forward to bringing more Smart Energy Home solutions to Hawaii, which will help the state achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045.”

The Customer Grid-Supply program, which credits customers for the excess electricity they send to the grid, is still available on Oahu, though space is going fast. Maui Electric recently reached the capacity limit set by the PUC and Hawaii Island is nearing the limit, but self-supply is available.

For Oahu customers who choose the grid-supply program, Hawaiian Electric recommends a “right-sized” system calculated for the 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, since credits expire at the end of each month. Also, the more large systems that are installed on each island, the less room that will be left on the grid for customers who may want to install solar in the future.

“It’s been five years since rooftop solar really took off in Hawaii and more than 77,000 customers have made the choice to use it,” said Jim Alberts, senior vice president of customer service at Hawaiian Electric. “The shift to self-supply is an important evolutionary step to ensure that the rooftop solar option remains sustainable, cost-effective and available to some of the 85 percent of customers who don’t have it.”

For more information, including how to right-size a system, go to https://www.hawaiianelectric.com/clean-energy-hawaii/going-solar

Mahiʻai Match-Up Selects Farming Finalists

Two finalists have been selected in the 2016 Mahiʻai Match-Up agricultural business plan contest dedicated to supporting Hawaiʻi’s sustainable food movement by cultivating local farmers and decreasing the state’s dependence on imports.

The contest is sponsored by Kamehameha Schools, the Pauahi Foundation, the Ulupono Initiative, “Hawaiʻi Farm and Food” Magazine and Hiʻilei Aloha.

Kaivao Farm team members Keone Chin, Angela Fa‘anunu, and Kalisi Mausio pay a visit to their Mahiʻai Match-Up land parcel in Pāhoehoe on Hawai‘i island. The team plans to cultivate cassava and ‘ulu at their farm and will include education and internship components in their program.

Kaivao Farm team members Keone Chin, Angela Fa‘anunu, and Kalisi Mausio pay a visit to their Mahiʻai Match-Up land parcel in Pāhoehoe on Hawai‘i island. The team plans to cultivate cassava and ‘ulu at their farm and will include education and internship components in their program.

This year’s Mahiʻai Match-Up finalists are Kaiaʻulu o Paʻalaʻa on Oʻahu and Kaivao Farm on Hawai‘i island.  Both finalists will receive an agricultural land agreement with up to five years of waived rent from Kamehameha Schools.

Farmer Rob Barreca is a proprietor of Counter Culture Foods, one of last year's Mahiʻai Match-Up winners. His North Shore business specializes in seed-to-countertop fermented food production.

Farmer Rob Barreca is a proprietor of Counter Culture Foods, one of last year’s Mahiʻai Match-Up winners. His North Shore business specializes in seed-to-countertop fermented food production.

Judges this year include Kāʻeo Duarte, vice president of Community Engagement and Resources for Kamehameha Schools; Kyle Datta, general partner for Ulupono Initiative; Martha Cheng, editor for “Hawaiʻi Farm and Food” magazine; Martha Ross, capacity-building manager for Hiʻilei Aloha; and Mark “Gooch” Noguchi, executive chef for the Pili Group.

In July, the finalists will have a chance to present their plans in front of the judging panel. Based on the quality of both the business plans and presentations, seed monies from the Pauahi Foundation will be awarded in the amounts of $20,000 and $15,000 for first and second place.

 Tickets and sponsorships for the July 30 Mahiʻai Match-Up Gala are available at www.pauahi.org.

Tickets and sponsorships for the July 30 Mahiʻai Match-Up Gala are available at www.pauahi.org.

Seed monies awarded help to make these winning business plans a reality and increase the probability of long-term, sustainable success.

“Mahiʻai Match-Up provides a venue for farmers and entrepreneurs to access some of our most valuable agricultural lands,” said Sydney Keliʻipuleʻole, senior director of Statewide Operations for Kamehameha Schools.

“The goal of Mahiʻai Match-Up directly aligns with our Agriculture Plan to help make Hawaiʻi more self-sufficient by increasing local food production.”

The Mahiʻai Mentorship
Working to help mahi (cultivate) new farmers and integrate education, culture, agriculture and sustainability, KS is providing more opportunities for aspiring farmers with the introduction of Mahiʻai Mentorship – created through a partnership between the schools and GoFarm Hawaiʻi, aimed at developing the next generation of farmers.

The The first- and second-place winners and mentees will be announced at the Mahiʻai Match-Up Gala on July 30.  Proceeds from the event go towards agricultural scholarships and grants. Anyone interested in attending the Gala or becoming a sponsor can get more information by visiting the Mahiʻai Match-Up website.  Sponsorship deadline is July 11.

FREE – 2016 Puna Homeowners Association Conference

The non-profit Ku’ikahi Mediation Center is pleased to announce the 2016 Puna Homeowners Association Conference: “Tools for Success.”  The free conference runs from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, June 25 at Kea’au High School.

Homeowners Conference

Puna Homeowners Associations (HOA) board officers, directors, staff, and community members are invited to gain tools for success in the areas of member relations, association leadership, and meeting management.

“Managing the large private subdivisions in Puna, which stretches from Volcano to Seaview, is not a simple task,” said Ku‘ikahi Executive Director Julie Mitchell.  “We want to support our largely volunteer community leaders to succeed, whether in overcoming challenges, enhancing opportunities, or being of service to members and neighbors.”

This unique conference allows interested HOA to exchange ideas and gain knowledge in three concurrent sessions on Board Success and Meeting Success.

Board Success sessions are: “By-Laws” with Vaughn Cook, “Best Board Practices” with Julie Hugo, and “Transparency” with a panel moderated by Jon Henricks.

Meeting Success sessions are: “Ground Rules” with Lorraine Mendoza, Lucille Chung and Kimberly Dark, “Parliamentary Procedures” with Jon Henricks, and “Meeting Facilitation” with Kimberly Dark.

Pre-registration is required for the free conference, which includes lunch.  For online registration, visit www.hawaiimediation.org/events.html.  Contact Jenifer at 935-7844 x 1 or jenifer@hawaiimediation.org for registration assistance.

This conference is made possible thanks in part to funding from the Hawai‘i Island United Way, County of Hawaiʻi District 4 and District 5 Contingency Funds, and other generous sponsors.

Legislators, Unions Gather in Support of Hu Honua

More than 30 Hawaii Island officials in government and labor gathered this morning at Hu Honua Bioenergy (HHB) in Pepeekeo for a briefing on the biomass project’s status.
Hu Honua 1
Hu Honua spokesperson Harold “Rob” Robinson said yesterday’s filing with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) requests that the regulatory body conduct a technical review of the actions surrounding Hawaii Electric Light Company’s (HELCO) termination of the power purchase agreement (PPA).
Hu Honua 2
Robinson, a member of Hu Honua’s board of managers, and president of Island Bioenergy, the parent of HHB, said for more than a year, HELCO delayed meaningful response to Hu Honua’s repeated requests for milestone extensions and reduced pricing proposals.
Hu Honua 3
“We have provided the utility with a pricing proposal that significantly reduces HELCO’s costs,” said Robinson. “More importantly, we believe Hu Honua will provide a hedge against rising oil prices, which have historically whipsawed Hawaii Island consumers.”

Hu Honua has invested $137 million to date in the biomass-to-energy facility and has secured an additional $125 million to complete the project. All that’s needed is an extension of the PPA, which Robinson said, we are trying to negotiate with HELCO but are concerned they are stalling a decision.

Hu Honua 4
“The public should know that despite what HELCO claims, Hu Honua’s proposals will deliver value to ratepayers,” said Robinson. “Our project will have more than 200 workers on site during construction. After completion, the community will benefit from more than 180 new jobs and the formation of an invigorated forestry industry. There will also be environmental benefits when old HELCO power plants are deactivated and replaced with renewable energy from Hu Honua in 2017.”

During the conference, various government officials expressed support for the project and welcomed the creation of additional jobs and industry for Hawaii Island. Many were hopeful that the utility would work with Hu Honua to amend its PPA.

Valerie Poindexter, Hawaii County councilmember for the district, talked about growing up in a sugar plantation camp and the demise of the island’s sugar industry. “Hu Honua would revitalize the culture and lifestyle of the sugar days, and create jobs so people don’t have to travel so far to work.”

State Senator Kaialii Kahele touched on the importance of energy security. “If a catastrophic event happens on the West Coast, we’re stuck because we are out here in the middle Pacific, heavily reliant on fossil fuels and food imports. We must come up with creative solutions to address those issues,” said Kahele. He stressed that while he welcomed mainland investment, any and all development must be done the pono way, and commended Hu Honua’s new collaborative, collective style of leadership.
hu honua 5
Hawaii County Councilmember Dennis Onishi said Hu Honua would help reduce energy costs and put more renewable energy on the grid. Onishi suggested starting a dialogue between the County and Hu Honua to explore the possibility of processing green waste streams to divert what’s going to landfills.

Robinson explained that significant investment made in emissions control equipment, including a new turbine generator, will result in increased efficiencies, generating capacity and cleaner emissions.

Following the event, Robinson addressed a statement issued by Hawaii Electric Light Company that criticized Hu Honua. “The utility’s reference to the cost of the project is a smokescreen. When a utility builds a power plant, that cost is passed to ratepayers. This is not the case for us. We decided to invest in increasing generation capacity from 21 to 36 megawatts, but that has no impact on the price to consumers or the ratepayer. The financial risk of the project cost is ours,” he said.

Click to view Affidavit

Click to view Affidavit

Hawaiian Electric Companies Propose Using Natural Gas with Modernized Generation

The Hawaiian Electric Companies today asked the Hawai’i Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to review and approve a proposed contract with Fortis Hawaii Energy Inc. to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) for electricity generation on O’ahu, Hawai’i Island and Maui.

key benefitsThe contract, the culmination of a request for proposals issued two years ago, would provide a cleaner, low-cost fuel to replace oil in the transition to achieving Hawai’i’s 100 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2045. If approved, Hawaiian Electric envisions beginning use of natural gas in 2021 with a 20-year contract ending as Hawai’i approaches its 100 percent renewable energy goal.

“We are committed to achieving our state’s 100 percent renewable energy goal with a diverse mix of renewable resources,” said Ron Cox, Hawaiian Electric vice president for power supply. “As we make this transition, LNG is a cleaner-burning alternative that potentially can provide billions of dollars in savings and stabilize electric bills for our customers compared to continuing to rely on imported oil with its volatile prices. LNG is a superior fuel for the firm generation needed to keep electric service reliable as we increase our use of variable renewables like solar and wind.”

At the same time, Hawaiian Electric is asking the PUC for authorization to construct a modern, efficient, combined-cycle generation system at the Kahe Power Plant to get the maximum customer benefits from use of cleaner, less expensive natural gas; better support integration of renewable energy; and facilitate retirement of three older, oil-fired generators at the Kahe Power Plant.

Critical timing for customer benefits

The Fortis Hawaii contract is also contingent on PUC approval of the merger of Hawaiian Electric with NextEra Energy. This project requires substantial upfront financial support and expertise that NextEra Energy can provide.  If the merger is not approved, the Hawaiian Electric Companies would still be interested in pursuing on their own the benefits of LNG for customers, but the companies would need to negotiate a new contract which likely would mean lower, delayed savings for customers and delayed benefits for the environment.

Significant projected savings and environmental benefits for Hawai’i

Hawaiian Electric estimates the natural gas contract and greater efficiencies from modernized generation could save electricity customers from $850 million to $3.7 billion through 2045, depending on future oil prices. At the same time, annual oil imports for electricity generation would be reduced by over 8 million barrels, or 80 percent, as soon as 2021. Hawai’i’s carbon footprint would be reduced by significantly cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The reduction of over 4 million tons in carbon dioxide emissions alone equals taking more than 80 percent of Hawai’i’s passenger vehicles off the road.

Savings on electric bills for typical residential customers using 500 kilowatt-hours a month, when compared to alternative generation planning scenarios using oil, could be as much as $390 a year for O’ahu customers. Savings for Hawai’i Island and Maui customers are estimated at $100 and $15 per year, respectively.

The savings take into account the estimated $341 million cost of converting existing generating units to use natural gas at Kahe Power Plant on O’ahu, Mā’alaea on Maui, and Keahole and Hāmākua Energy Partners on Hawai’i Island, and the estimated cost of $117 million for LNG containers. The logistics system to deliver and offload the LNG will not require development of new infrastructure off- or on-shore in Hawai’i.

“We know Governor Ige has expressed opposition to importing LNG,” Cox said. “However, we have just reached contract terms with a supplier after a long negotiation and now have much more than a theoretical plan for the governor, Public Utilities Commission, energy stakeholders and the public to consider. We believe we have a responsibility to put forward an option that has significant economic and environmental benefits for the people of Hawai’i, and that addresses some of the Governor’s concerns.

“This proposal, negotiated with the added expertise and experience of NextEra Energy as an advisor, will support achieving our 100 percent renewable energy goals. It will allow us to integrate increasing amounts of renewable energy at much lower cost while providing more reliable service for our customers. Further, our plan keeps new LNG infrastructure, both on- and off-shore, to a minimum and preserves flexibility to reduce LNG imports as renewable energy increases,” Cox said.

For 50 years, natural gas has been safely transported around the world in liquefied form for use in power generation. It is subject to strong international, national and local regulation and monitoring for safety and environmental protection. For Hawai’i, this proposal will provide enhanced security of fuel supply by avoiding the risk of sourcing fuel from more remote and politically unstable locations.

Under the proposed plan, Fortis — a leader in the North American electric and gas utility business — would liquefy the gas piped from northeastern British Columbia at its Tilbury facility in Delta, near Vancouver. The LNG would be transported from British Columbia to Hawai’i in mid-sized LNG carrier ships.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies would use natural gas in power plants to generate the electricity delivered via island power grids to homes and businesses where customers will use the same electric water heaters, stoves, refrigerators and other appliances as today. As with all fuel purchases and purchased power, the actual cost of the natural gas would be passed directly to customers on electric bills, without mark-up or profit to the Hawaiian Electric Companies.

Flexibility for the future

The price of natural gas will be tied to market prices in British Columbia, not to oil prices, providing lower, less volatile prices, especially as today’s low oil prices rise, as expected. The contract provides for lower

payments if the Hawaiian Electric Companies decide to take less than the full capacity commitment of LNG; for example, if more renewable resources come online more quickly than expected.

The vessels  and trucks (owned by others) and the containers  to import LNG under this plan are modular and movable so a significant portion can be resold or repurposed when no longer needed to serve power generation in Hawai’i. The carrier ships, barges and possibly the trucks to deliver LNG to power plants will be fueled by LNG, further reducing oil use in Hawai’i.

Modernizing generation for lower fuel costs and more reliable service

To gain the greatest savings for customers and better ensure reliable service as the integration of renewable energy increases from variable sources like sun and wind, Hawaiian Electric also proposes to modernize the  generation fleet on O’ahu. Three steam generators at the Kahe Power Plant (Units 1-3) would be deactivated by the end of 2020 when each will be over 50 years old and replaced with an efficient, combined-cycle generation system located at the plant further from the shoreline than the existing units. The location provides greater energy security, for example from tsunamis, and a less visible profile.

The combined-cycle system would include three modern, quick-starting, fast-ramping combustion turbines with three heat recovery steam generators and a single steam turbine to generate power using the waste heat that is recovered. This flexible, fuel-saving combination would be 30 percent more efficient than the deactivated generators. This modern generation is needed to balance the increasing amounts of variable renewable energy being added as Hawai’i transitions to 100 percent renewable energy. The combined-cycle system will be capable of using renewable biofuels.

Measured against current levels, the combined generation modernization and natural gas plan produces lower carbon dioxide emissions by over 4 million tons when fully operational.

To secure these benefits for customers as quickly as possible and ensure reliable service as the new combined-cycle system replaces old generating units, Hawaiian Electric is seeking Public Utilities Commission permission to construct the new generating system with an estimated in-service date of January 2021.

In the Commission’s Inclinations on the Future of Hawaii’s Electric Utilities (April 28, 2014), the PUC recognized the need for generation modernization and stated that Hawaiian Electric Companies need to “move with urgency to modernize the generation system as delays are lost savings opportunities” and should “expeditiously…[m]odernize the generation to achieve a future with high penetrations of renewable resources.” (emphasis added)

The proposed combined-cycle system is intended to be responsive to these PUC concerns. The estimated cost for modernized generation at Kahe Power Plant and to interconnect the new system to the grid is $859 million. This cost is factored into the overall savings projected for the LNG plan.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies’ plan also proposes using natural gas in two remaining Kahe units (5-6) and the Kalaeloa Partners power plant on O’ahu. In addition, natural gas is proposed for use on Maui at Mā’alaea Power Plant and on Hawai’i Island at Keahole Power Plant and the Hāmākua Energy Partners plant. Natural gas could also be used at the planned Schofield Generating Station and other future generating sites to provide savings for customers.

An Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared. In addition to thorough Public Utilities Commission review with input from the Consumer Advocate, community stakeholders and others will have many opportunities for input through the extensive environmental review and permitting approval process.

Additional details are available in the accompanying fact sheet.

PDF – http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/multivu_archive/ENR/369667-hawaiian-electric-lng-plans-and-benefits-fact-sheet.pdf

National Science Foundation Awards $20 Million Dollar Grant to UH System for Clean Water Research Project

Today, Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation announced that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $20,000,000 grant to the University of Hawaii System for a clean water research project. The project, titled Ike Wai from the Hawaiian words for knowledge and water, will address the critical needs of the state to maintain its supply of clean water, most of which comes from groundwater sources.

Ike Wai

“This grant will greatly improve our understanding of one of Hawaii’s most precious natural resources,” said Representative Mark Takai (HI-01). “Through public-private collaboration with federal, state and local agencies, we can increase the efficiency of our state’s water management, and ensure that we have the federal resources necessary to promote a workforce capable of conducting this type of research for generations to come.”

“Due to our volcanic origins, our system of aquifers is far more complex than we once thought,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i). “This grant will allow scientists to use modern mapping tools to provide policymakers with critical information about our water resources, and help ensure that there is enough for the needs of people, agriculture, and future generations.”

“Hawaii’s water is a precious resource, and this competitive funding will support the University of Hawaii’s research into protecting our fresh water sources for future generations,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power. “Ike Wai and other projects that build an innovative, sustainable future are essential to understanding and finding solutions for our island state’s unique needs, and also underscore the importance of significant federal investments in research in these critical areas, something that I strongly support.”

“Pollution, fracking, unsustainable farming practices, and over development have put serious pressure on our clean water supply across the globe. It is essential that we protect and maintain access to fresh and clean water in Hawaiʻi due our isolated location in the Pacific,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02). “There is still much unknown about how water flows through the unique landscapes and volcanic foundations of our islands. This grant from the National Science Foundation will help us to better understand how to use our precious natural resources to ensure a continuous and high quality water supply.”

Ike Wai Valley

The Ike Wai project, awarded under the NSF’s Research Infrastructure Improvements Program, will greatly improve understanding of where the water that provides for the needs of Hawaii’s cities, farms, and industries comes from and how to ensure a continued, high quality supply. This supply is under increasing pressures from population growth, economic development, and climate change. The funding provided by the NSF will encourage collaboration with federal, state, and local agencies and community groups concerned with water management.

On Equal Pay Day, Senator Hirono Leads Measure To End Gender Barriers In STEM Careers

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today marked Equal Pay Day by introducing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Opportunities Act, legislation that would improve inclusion of women, minorities, and people with disabilities in STEM careers. Equal Pay Day marks the day in 2016 when, on average, women’s wages catch up to what men earned in 2015.

mazie 412“It’s unacceptable that we are more than 100 days into 2016, but women’s salaries are only now catching up with what men made last year,” said Senator Hirono. “While the gender pay gap affects women across all fields, women in STEM careers continue to face barriers that can limit their opportunities for employment and equal pay. The STEM Opportunities Act takes a comprehensive approach to combatting factors that limit the advancement of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM. For America to remain competitive in a 21st century economy, we must break down barriers for working women through passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and the STEM Opportunities Act.”

Senator Hirono also took to the Senate floor to mark Equal Pay Day and highlight disparities in STEM fields. For example, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in school year 2014-2015, men earned more than five times the number of computer science bachelor’s degrees and three times as many bachelor’s degrees in the College of Engineering as women.

The STEM Opportunities Act helps federal science agencies and institutions of higher education identify and share best practices to overcome barriers that can hurt the inclusion of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM, and also allows universities and nonprofits to receive competitive grants and recognition for mentoring women and minorities in STEM fields. The STEM Opportunities Act builds on legislation championed by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

The Senate measure is cosponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Brian Schatz (D-HI).

“Science, technology, engineering and math are drivers of innovation in states like New Jersey, and across the country. If we are to remain globally competitive, we have to ensure all Americans- including women and minorities- are prepared to succeed in these important fields,” said Senator Booker. “I am pleased to support the STEM Opportunities Act to create inclusive career pathways that will help grow our economy and create opportunities for more Americans.”

“The STEM fields are critical to driving innovation and economic growth,” said Senator Gillibrand. “But we limit our potential when our STEM workforce does not reflect the diversity of our nation. I was proud to lead a successful bipartisan amendment to the recently enacted Every Student Succeeds Act to increase access to high-quality STEM coursework in K-12 education for students who are members of groups underrepresented in STEM fields. The STEM Opportunities Act will improve opportunities for advancement in STEM fields for women and underrepresented minorities further down the pipeline – in higher education, in early careers, and for STEM academics and professionals.”

“Increasing women and minority participation in the STEM economy will keep the United States at the forefront of scientific discovery and technological innovation in the 21st century,” said Senator Markey. “The diversity of STEM professionals will help fuel the diversity of discoveries in science, technology, engineering and math. For our future scientific endeavors to produce the next generation of life-changing results, we need to ensure that our universities, laboratories and research institutions reflect the rich diversity of our nation and continue to receive the support that fosters breakthroughs and helps maintain American leadership in science and technology.”

“If we’re serious about empowering more young women and communities of color to take on STEM careers and compete in the 21st century economy, we need to ramp up our research efforts to identify and share best practices so that we can diversify the next generation of STEM professionals,” said Senator Murray. “STEM skills are so important for Washington state’s economy, so making these fields more inclusive will ultimately strengthen our workforce and our economy in the years to come.”

“By expanding access to STEM disciplines in schools and sharing best practices for recruitment and retention in STEM careers, we can help more women and minorities become engaged in science, technology, engineering and math, boosting economic success and strengthening America’s competitiveness in the 21st-century global economy,” said Senator Peters. “The STEM Opportunities Act of 2016 will improve inclusion of women and minorities in STEM fields by tapping into and fostering their talents.”

The American Association for University of Women, American Women in Science, Girls, Inc., MAES- Latinos in Science and Engineering, Maui Economic Development Board, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Society for Women Engineers, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center support the STEM Opportunities Act.

“When we reduce barriers that deter women and other underrepresented minorities from pursuing careers in STEM fields, American businesses get a leg up on the rest of the world. The STEM Opportunities Act will open doors for a more diverse science community, and in so doing help spur innovation and increase our global competitiveness,” said Lisa Maatz, Vice President of Government Relations at American Association of University Women. “Any serious attempt to modernize our science workforce and our nation’s science priorities is incomplete without this measure.

“In Hawaii, high-paying STEM jobs are boosting our island economy,” said Leslie Wilkins, Vice President, of the Maui Economic Development Board and Director of the Women in Technology Project. “To grow the education to workforce pipeline needed to keep up with STEM job demand, our Women in Technology initiative continues to engage girls and women who are under-represented in technology fields. WIT’s hands-on STEM curriculum, training, mentoring and internship programs have had a significant impact statewide but still need ongoing support.  Mahalo to Senator Hirono for introducing the STEM Opportunities Act, a comprehensive bill that could strengthen our efforts, as well as others throughout Hawaii and the nation.”

“Investing in STEM is an investment in our nation’s future, and it is imperative that women and people of color are represented and empowered to succeed in these fields. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are underrepresented in STEM leadership roles, and despite stereotypes, some AAPI subgroups are underrepresented in STEM overall. Disaggregated data on AAPIs at institutions of higher education and federal science agencies will highlight the need for more investment in AAPIs in STEM fields, and this legislation would benefit all women and people of color in STEM. Senator Hirono has been a strong advocate for STEM inclusion, and we also thank her for her ongoing leadership on behalf of AAPI communities in all areas,” said National Council of Asian Pacific Americans National Director Christopher Kang.

“Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) enthusiastically supports the STEM Opportunities Act of 2016 and applauds its sponsors for their efforts.  Improving data collection, research and sharing best practices across federal science agencies and institutions of higher education to address systemic factors impeding the inclusion of underrepresented groups in STEM fields are all key elements in the Nation’s interest.  The PAESMEM awards are particularly essential in bringing all groups into STEM; SACNAS was a PAESMEM recipient in 2004 and 20 of SACNAS’ members have received PAESMEM awards.   In order to keep our nation competitive in science and engineering, such legislation as this Act is essential. As classical Clayton Christensen ‘disruptive thinking’ implies, helping the unserved and underserved—women and underrepresented minorities in STEM in this case—enables the greatest movement forward. SACNAS has over 6,000 paid members and serves a larger constituency of over 18,000—over half of whom are females—with particular emphasis on minorities underrepresented in STEM,” said Robert E. Barnhill, Ph.D, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science Vice President, Science Policy & Strategic Initiatives.

“SEARAC commends Senator Hirono’s proposed STEM Opportunities Act for taking a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to strengthening and diversifying the STEM workforce through grants for evidence-based efforts, the creation of a federal inter-agency group to create policies that include a more diverse STEM workforce, and the collection of data to examine progress towards increasing STEM opportunities for underrepresented groups.  SEARAC is especially pleased that the STEM Opportunities Act collects disaggregated data for AAPI students — which will illuminate the disparities in access and participation to STEM opportunities within the AAPI community,” said Quyen Dinh, Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).

Agriculture Workshops Offered in West Hawaii

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) offers two agriculture workshops with Zach Mermel this month at the Hawai’i Community College Palamanui campus in Kailua-Kona. Both workshops will be held in Room B-125.

edible plants
The Secrets of the Soil series is held on Saturday, April 23. Part 1 meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will explore the basics of soil biology. Topics include soil formation, types of soils found on Hawaiʻi Island, the dynamics of the soil food web, and fundamentals of soil testing at the homestead and farm scale. Part 2 will be held from 2 – 5 p.m. This hands-on session will teach participants how to make a high-quality compost and includes constructing a biologically active compost pile. The cost is $40 for Part 1, $30 for Part 2, or $60 for both sessions.

Edible Landscaping will be held on Saturday, April 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants will learn how to transform their land into an abundant oasis of edible and multifunctional plants. Mermel will cover edible landscaping and provide hands-on experience in creating a basic landscape plan. Participants should bring an aerial photo or TMK map of their land as well as colored pens and pencils. Tuition is $55.

For more information and to register, contact CCECS at 932-7830 or visit http://hilo.hawaii.edu/academics/ccecs/.

Time Warner Cable Invests in Kona and Waimanalo with Solar Deployments

Time Warner Cable (TWC) is pleased to share their Go Green commitment is beginning to reach beyond the walls of their business and help create renewable energy for communities that they serve.

TWC Solar Panels

For the past couple years, TWC has invested in solar deployments in Southern California, North Carolina, and Hawaii. In the last year, we have amplified our commitment with partnerships that will generate over 13 megawatts (MW) of solar power. Just to give you an idea of how much 13 MW actually is, it’s equal to powering over 600 homes in one year.

At our Charlotte campus, pictured above and below, we’ve supplemented our 500 kilowatt (kW) roof mounted system with a new, ground mounted 400 kW system surrounding the data center.

At our Charlotte campus, pictured above and below, we’ve supplemented our 500 kilowatt (kW) roof mounted system with a new, ground mounted 400 kW system surrounding the data center.

Through this effort, we’re facilitating the generation of green energy that is put on the grid for our operations and customers alike to use. Here are some examples of solar efforts underway:

  • In the Central New York area, we’re bringing 12 MW of solar energy through remote net metering in local farm fields.
  • In Indio, CA we are working to bring on over 500kW through the use of our facility roof and parking canopies.
  • In Hawaii, we are bringing on a 30 kW system at our Waimanalo hub site and a 330 kW solar carport system coupled with a battery storage system at our Kona facility.

We’re also encouraging our employees to make green lifestyle choices.  TWC has partnered with three solar companies to offer employees up to a $1,500 discount on solar energy for their homes. This is just one more step forward in demonstrating our commitment to “Go Green!”

Hikianalia’s Upcoming Hawaii Island Events

Hikianalia, the sister ship of Hokule’a, will be coming to the Big Island soon and the public is invited to some of the upcoming Hawaii Island events.
malama honua hawaii island visit

  • Friday, March 4 – Education Engagement Day Location: All throughout West Hawaii.  Organize and pair up schools and community organizations who malama honua for community service learning or classroom visitation.  To RSVP and for more information contact: nakalaiwaa@gmail.com
  • Saturday, March 5, 8:00-10:00 a.m. – Waa Talks: Location: Pua Ka Ilima (Kawaihae Coral Flats).  Geared for educators: E Lau Hoe Waa Teacher Training Activities.  RSVP on website.
  • Saturday, March 5, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. – Malama Honua, WW Voyage Festival.  Location: Pua Ka Ilima (Kawaihae Coral flats).  This event is free and open to all families and community members. Featuring three demonstrations: Fish Surveys, Water Safety and Waa Mele & Oli
  • Wednesday, March 9, 5:00-7:00 p.m. – Waa Talks, Location: Kona – Keauhou Shopping Center. Special Guest Speaker: Celeste Hao from Imiloa Astronomy Center sharing the Kolea Waa Tool Kit, which is soon to be available to teachers.
  • Friday, March 11, 10:00-11:30 a.m. – Special Screening for schools, Location: Kahilu Theatre.  Screening of: Te Mana o Te Moana, $2 Event Fee RSVP: pomai@kalo.org
  • Friday, March 11, 7:00-9:30 p.m. –SAIL-A-BRATION FUNDRAISER, Where: Kohala Village HUB Barn. What: Music and Entertainment. Donation at the Door, No RSVP needed.
  • Saturday, March 12, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. – Make Happy, A hui hou Hikianalia! Location: Kawaihae, Hawaii.  Community is invited to say a hui hou to Hikianalia. Potluck for community participants and Ohana Waa – bring something to share.

Hu Honua Filing to PUC Addresses HELCO Misstatements

Hu Honua Bioenergy (HHB) filed its response with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to provide a project update as well as address incomplete and misleading information in Hawaii Electric Light Company’s (HELCO) Status Report.
Hu Honua

The Status Report was required by the PUC in light of missed milestone schedule dates in the HHB power purchase agreement (PPA) approved by the PUC in December 2013.

In its filing, Hu Honua expressed disappointment with HELCO over not processing its milestone date extension request submitted more than 12 months ago. HHB requested the extension following a variety of disputes with its former contractor that disrupted the project’s construction schedule, and to provide the replacement contractor sufficient time to complete the biomass-fueled, renewable energy facility in Pepeepeko on Hawaii Island.

At HELCO’s urging, Hu Honua submitted a proposal to reduce the energy price in its PPA to 14 cents for energy purchased above the 10-megawatt (MW) minimum level for economic dispatch. Even with the price reduction, HELCO did not process Hu Honua’s milestone date extension requests, despite the fact Hu Honua’s pricing is delinked from the cost of fossil fuel, making it a natural hedge against future increases in oil prices.

HHB has invested $100 million to date in the biomass-to-energy project, which is approximately 50 percent complete. HHB has arranged full financing from its investor base and the plant can be operational in approximately 12-16 months.

At completion, the plant will be able to supply Big Island residents with firm, baseload, dispatchable renewable power at reasonable pricing, complementing intermittent resources such as wind and solar, and helping the state meet mandated clean energy goals.

In its filing, HHB asserts the value of the plant today to Hawaii Island’s electricity system is as great or greater than December 2013 when the PUC approved the HHB PPA.

HELCO’s threat to terminate Hu Honua’s PPA as a result of missed milestones was announced just days before parts of Hawaii Island experienced blackouts due to insufficient firm generating capacity; firm, reliable power is what Hu Honua’s bioenergy plant would provide.

Hu Honua’s filing to the PUC addressed incomplete and misleading statements in HELCO’s Status Report, including:

“Hu Honua does not have the ability to achieve commercial operation in the near future.”

  • Hu Honua has fully committed financing up to $125 million to complete the project, with $20 million having been invested since November 2015.

“Hu Honua failed to meet PPA obligations.”

  • HELCO’s statement appears to refer to the boiler hydro test date. Unlike solar and wind projects, Hawaii law requires high pressure/high temperature steam boiler projects to follow rigorous inspection, approval and documentation protocol throughout construction before successive work can begin. As a result of disputes with its former contractor, HHB did not have ready access to prior documentation needed to perform successive work, which resulted in disruption and delays to schedule.

“Hu Honua failed to justify a milestones extension.”

  • As early as October 2014, HHB alerted HELCO that its milestone dates could be delayed because of certain factors beyond its control, including the circumstances underlying the dispute with its former contractor.

  • In January 2015, well in advance of project milestone dates, HHB approached HELCO to proactively discuss revised milestones dates in light of circumstances. Throughout discussions over revised milestones, HELCO reported a need for pricing reductions as an exchange for milestone date relief. HHB revised pricing arrangements on three separate occasions—February, April and May 2015.


Hu Honua looks forward to working with HELCO and the PUC to resolve its milestone date extension request, along with HHB’s proposal to reduce the energy price in its PPA to 14 cents for amounts purchased above the 10-MW minimum threshold for economic dispatch.

A completed Hu Honua power plant will provide a modern, renewable, biomass fueled source of electricity that will complement Hawaii Island’s electrical system as well as provide between 100-150 jobs for the local community.

Waipi‘o Valley Stakeholders Alliance Offers United Voice on Bishop Museums Announcement to Sell Its Waipi‘o Valley Lands

On January 8, 2016, Bishop Museum issued a public announcement they are moving forward with the sale of the Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in Capt. Cook and 537 acres of land in Waipi‘o Valley.

Green areas represent Bishop Museum Land.

Green areas represent Bishop Museum Land.

While the news has taken most of Hawai‘i by surprise, it is not the case for the Waipi‘o Valley community. Over the past 20 years, the Museum has periodically considered selling it’s Valley holdings, and there have been several proposals by State legislators for the state to purchase the lands, the most recent in 2014.

Since 2013, the Waipi‘o community has undergone major changes, with three of the most committed groups becoming more organized and actively seeking ways to work together collaboratively on matters that impact the Valley and surrounding communities.

In late 2015 the Waipi‘o Taro Farmers Association, the Waipi‘o Community Circle and Ha Ola o Waipi‘o Valley formed the Waipi‘o Valley Stakeholders Alliance as a mechanism to reach general consensus and provide a unified voice when communicating with government officials, Bishop Museum and the general community.

Founded in 1989, the Waipi‘o Taro Farmers Association (WTFA) is the oldest active organization in Waipi‘o Valley. The Association is made up of generational taro farming families who lease the majority of Bishop Museum ’s lands in the Valley. WTFA represents the surviving edge of the Native Hawaiian culture in Waipi‘o Valley and serves as Bishop Museum ’s primary land managers and local community advisors.

Formed in 2000, at the request of 13 community members, the Waipi‘o Community Circle (the Circle), serves as a general community forum. The Waipi‘o Valley Information & Education Officer Program was created by the Circle, as were the five large interpretive signs at the rock wall near the pavilion. A small group of Circle volunteers provided general oversight of the Information & Education Officer program from 2007 until 2014 when the program moved to the Department of Parks & Recreation. This group also represents the efforts of Auntie Ku’ulei Badua who was responsible for initiating “Friends of the Waipi‘o Community Park ” (the former Rice/Thomas property, at the Waipi’o lookout).

Founded in 2014 Ha Ola o Waipi‘o Valley (Ha Ola) is a membership organization of Valley residents, farmers, cultural educators and practitioners, and Waipi‘o tour operators. The organization is guided by elected Officers with support from the County of Hawaii , the State of Hawaii , Kamehameha Schools and Friends of the Future. Ha Ola was formed to provide representation for Valley stakeholders who were not recognized in the State’s 2013 proposed Senate Bill to purchase Bishop Museum’s lands in Waipi‘o. Among Ha Ola’s current projects are River Maintenance in collaboration with WTFA, stewardship of Kamehameha Schools Valley beach parcels, eradication of Little Fire Ants in the Valley and a 2016 Kalo Festival.

The Waipi‘o Valley Stakeholders Alliance, combines the strengths of all available community and advisory resources and is committed to protecting current lessees and ensuring the community has a lead voice in proactively engaging Bishop Museum in discussions about the future stewardship of its’ Waipi‘o Valley lands.

For more information about the Alliance contact:

Alliance Community Liaison: Jim Cain, Cell: 333-0457 kinglaulau@hotmail.com

Alliance Culture & Education Liaison: Ka‘iulani Pahio, Cell: 960-5272 kaiulani@kalo.org