Hawaii Electric Light’s Energy Fair on Oct. 21

Hawaii Electric Light invites the community to its energy fair on Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Keauhou Shopping Center.

The free, family-friendly event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and feature educational displays, demonstrations, and interactive activities on electrical safety, energy conservation, electric vehicles and fast charger stations, renewable energy, and our plan to reach a 100% renewable energy future.

Fun activities will include games as well as building and racing a model solar boat made with recycled products. Enjoy live, local entertainment by Kahakai Elementary School, The Humble Project, Kealakehe High School Dance Team, Mauka Soul, and Solid Roots Band.

For more information on the energy fair, visit www.hawaiielectriclight.com/energyfair or call 327-0543.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Launch Online Tool to Streamline Solar Application Process

Customers submitting new applications to install private rooftop solar can now complete the process entirely online using a new tool launched by the Hawaiian Electric Companies.

The Customer Interconnection Tool (CIT) is believed to be the first of its kind to provide a seamless, start-to-finish online solar application process that allows customers of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light to check the status of their applications. The tool provides a user-friendly interface to guide contractors and customers through all steps of the Customer Self-Supply program application process, from submittal to finalizing the agreement.

“We’re excited to offer a streamlined electronic process to our customers,” said Jim Alberts, senior vice president of customer service. “The tool is able to show customers exactly where they are in the application process, which eliminates guesswork. This is one more way to make interacting with our companies as smooth and as easy as possible.”

CIT allows applicants to submit all of their information, including electronic documents, online. For convenience, customers and their designated representatives will have the ability to submit electronic signatures as well.

Applicants are prompted to provide required documentation, reducing the potential for delays caused by errors of omission. The tool also automatically calculates the system size based on four design guidelines, which simplifies the procedure.

Customers will receive regular status updates by email as various milestones are reached, keeping them informed every step of the way.

For more information, visit:

www.hawaiianelectric.com/DistributedEnergyResources

www.hawaiianelectric.com/CITonline

Hawaii State Energy Office Schedules Community Meetings on Utility Model Study

The Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO) will host a series of community meetings across the state next week to solicit community input for a study being done on future models for utility ownership and regulation in Hawaii.

HSEO, a division of the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), is undertaking the study at the request of the Hawaii State Legislature to evaluate the costs and benefits of various electric utility ownership models, as well as the viability of various utility regulatory approaches to help Hawaii in achieving its energy goals. The study will examine scenarios for each of Hawaii’s counties.

HSEO has contracted with Boston-based London Economics International (LEI) to carry out the study, which is expected to be completed by January 2019. LEI and subcontractor Meister Consultants Group will lead the community meetings for Oct. 9-13. The meeting schedule is as follows:

Maui County:

  • Wailuku, Oct. 9, 5:30 – 7 p.m.. Wailuku Community Center, 395 Waena St. RSVP Link
  • Kaunakakai, Oct. 10, 5:30-7 p.m. Mitchell Pauole Center Main Hall, 90 Ainoa St. RSVP Link
  • Lanai City, Oct. 11, 5:30-7 p.m.  Lanai Community Center, Eighth St. and Lanai Ave. RSVP Link

Hawaii County:

  • Kailua-Kona, Oct. 9, 5:30 – 7 p.m. NELHA Research Campus, Hale Iako Building, 73-970 Makako Bay Drive. RSVP Link
  • Hilo, Oct. 10, 5:30 – 7 p.m.  Waiakea High School, 155 W Kawili St. RSVP Link

Kauai County:

  • Lihue, Oct. 12, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, 4431 Nuhou St. RSVP Link

Honolulu County:

  • Waialua, Oct. 11, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Waialua High & Intermediate School, 67-160 Farrington Highway. RSVP Link
  • Honolulu, Oct. 13, approx. 6 – 7:30 p.m. Hawaii Foreign Trade Zone #9, Homer Maxey Conference Center, 521 Ala Moana Blvd. Suite 201, Pier 2. RSVP Link

Next week’s meetings will focus on the topic of utility ownership and the role the utility plays in achieving community and state goals, including achieving 100 percent renewable energy in the electricity sector and minimizing costs. There are two additional rounds of statewide meetings scheduled. The second round of meetings slated for next spring will focus on utility regulatory models, while the third round of meetings next fall will be used to gather community input on draft findings of the report.

Community members planning on attending the meetings are encouraged to RSVP at the link above. Light refreshments will be served. Those unable to attend a meeting in person can view a copy of the material presented, which will be posted on HSEO’s website after the meetings, and may participate by submitting feedback via email to: dbedt.utilitybizmodstudy@hawaii.gov. Questions about the meetings or the study can be emailed to the same address.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Submit Plan to Modernize Island Grids

The Hawaiian Electric Companies filed their Grid Modernization Strategy with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) yesterday, providing a roadmap for building more resilient and renewable-ready island grids.

Yesterday’s filing follows the submission of the companies’ draft report in late June. The draft was posted online and presented at four public meetings on Maui, Hawaii Island and Oahu to review the strategy with customers, answer their questions and receive their comments. Dozens of written comments and transcripts of the public meetings are included in a separate document that accompanied the filing.

The plan, “Modernizing Hawaii’s Grid for Our Customers,” outlines near-term initiatives that strengthen the grid through investments in technology to enable more renewable energy resources to be safely and efficiently integrated with the grid, including private rooftop solar.

Longer term, the strategy is to continue to evolve the grid as a platform to enable greater customer choice and support statewide economic development and “smart communities” efforts that rely on robust data and energy management systems.

The Companies estimate it will cost $205 million to update the energy networks of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light over the next six years. The plan aims to help bring on more renewable resources – customer-sited and grid-sourced – increase reliability, and give customers new choices to manage their energy use.

Highlights of this near-term work include:

  • Distribution of smart meters strategically rather than system-wide, i.e., to customers with private rooftop solar on saturated circuits and customers interested in demand response programs, variable rates or electricity usage data
  • Reliance on advanced inverter technology to enable greater rooftop solar adoption
  • Expanded use of voltage management tools, especially on circuits with heavy solar penetration to maximize circuit capacities for private rooftop solar and other customer resources
  • Enhanced outage management and notification technology

To read the filing, please use the following links:

www.hawaiianelectric.com/gridmod

www.hawaiielectriclight.com/gridmod

www.mauielectric.com/gridmod

First Hawaii Electric Light Rate Increase in 6 years Approved

Interim 3.4% increase supports continued renewable energy progress

Hilo, Hawaii, Aug. 22, 2017 – The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has issued an interim decision approving Hawaii Electric Light Company’s first base-rate increase in more than six years.

The approved interim rate will increase the typical Hawaii Island monthly residential bill for 500 kilowatt hours by $4.98. Over the last 12 months, the average monthly residential bill has been $162.58. The 3.4 percent increase – $9.9 million in annual revenue – will help pay for capital improvements including grid upgrades and extensive vegetation management work that is credited with reducing outages and their duration during storms.

Since 2014, Hawaii Electric Light has spent more than $14 million on tree trimming and removal, concentrating on areas where non-native albizia trees threaten utility equipment and highways.

Today’s interim decision is consistent with a settlement reached last month between Hawaii Electric Light and the Hawaii Division of Consumer Advocacy. The settlement reduced by nearly half the original request for a 6.5 percent increase in revenue.

The effective date of the new rate will be determined by the commission.

An interim decision is one step in the ratemaking process. The PUC will continue to review the request and will later issue a final decision. If a lower final amount is approved, the difference will be refunded to customers with interest. If a higher amount is approved, the increase will only be applied going forward from the time it is approved, not retroactively.

Hawaii Electric Light leads the state in the use of renewable resources to generate electricity, relying on a diverse portfolio of wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower. Since 2010, the company has increased the use of renewables from 35 percent to 57 percent as of June 2017.

There are several programs available that provide financial assistance for those who are in need, including the Hawaii Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP), Ohana Energy Gift Program, and the Special Medical Needs Program. The Time-of-Use program, which offers lower rates during the daytime hours, can help you save money if you’re flexible on when you use energy. Go to www.hawaiielectriclight.com for more information.

Editors note – Hawaii as a state has always been one of the most expensive states for electricity:

Hawaii Garners National Recognition for Investment in Energy Efficiency

A national network of energy efficiency experts recently honored Hawaii with its “Race to the Top Award” for the pioneering work being done by state and county agencies to boost investment in energy efficiency projects that are helping the state meet its clean energy goals.

The nonprofit Energy Services Coalition (ESC) for the sixth consecutive year recognized Hawaii as the nation’s per capita leader in energy performance contracting (EPC), a form of innovative financing for capital improvements that allows government agencies to pay for energy efficiency upgrades with the savings on their utility bills. In addition, the ESC for the second straight year named Hawaii one of its “Energy Stewardship Champions” for achieving infrastructure modernization, environmental stewardship, and economic development through performance contracting.

“The growth of energy performance contracting is making a significant impact on Hawaii’s use of imported fossil fuels while helping diversify our economy by sustaining and creating jobs in the clean tech sector,” said Luis P. Salaveria, director of the State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism. “I commend the state and county agencies that are executing energy performance contracts, and for playing a leadership role in Hawaii’s clean energy transformation.”

EPC uses the savings from upgrades such as digital controls for energy systems, and lighting, plumbing and air conditioning improvements to repay the cost of the equipment and its installation. The costs are borne by the performance contractor and paid back out of the energy savings.  The ESC in its annual “Race to the Top” program ranks the 50 states based on the per capita amount invested in performance contracts for government buildings. Hawaii’s investment of $372.81 per capita in 2017 earned the state a sixth consecutive No. 1 ranking. The national average for EPC investment is $62.72 per capita.

“Using a tool like energy performance contracting to retrofit buildings not only makes them more efficient and comfortable, it delivers meaningful energy cost savings to building owners,” said Carilyn Shon, HSEO administrator. “Furthermore, using energy more efficiently is the fastest, most cost-effective way to pursue Hawaii’s clean energy goals.”

In addition to the Race to the Top honor, Hawaii was one of 12 states that earned the ESC’s Energy Stewardship Champion award for a combination of its political leadership, programmatic design, and the amount of private sector investment in guaranteed energy savings performance contracting (GESPC) in their states.

“GESPC is a financial strategy leveraging guaranteed future energy savings to pay for energy efficiency upgrades today,” said Jim Arwood, ESC Executive Director. “Hawaii has achieved considerable recent success in support of implementing energy efficiency projects in public buildings and infrastructure through the use of a GESPC.”

The Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO), a division of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, accepted the Race to the Top and Energy Stewardship Champion awards during the ESC’s annual conference August 9-11 at the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson, Nevada.

HSEO provides technical assistance to state and country agencies entering into energy performance contracts. The EPC projects vary widely and include office buildings, community colleges, airports, highways, and prisons. In a typical EPC, the building owner contracts with an energy service company to install the energy improvements and guarantee the energy savings over the contract term. The contractor is then paid out of the energy savings and captures the incentives made available by Hawai‘i Energy to promote investment in energy efficiency.

“Hawaii continues to be a national leader in clean energy and energy efficiency,” said Brian Kealoha, executive director of Hawaii Energy.  “Since 1996, Hawaii state government agencies have saved, on average, more than 5 million kilowatt hours a year, equating to over $24 million in savings, with the majority of this coming through EPCs. Hawaii Energy has worked with the State Energy Office and state agencies to help them make smart energy choices. Hawaii Energy has rewarded these agencies with over $11 million in incentives for projects such as lighting, air conditioning system efficiency upgrades, and advanced building automation systems to promote investments that ultimately save taxpayers money while helping Hawai‘i achieve its 100 percent clean energy goal faster.”

Performance contracts signed by state and local government agencies in Hawaii since 1996 include 295 buildings and facilities covering more than 112 million square feet. The savings are the equivalent of powering 388,210 homes for one year.

Polynesian Voyaging Society Launches Hōkūleʻa Mahalo, Hawai’i Sail

Hōkūleʻa departed the Marine Education Training Center (METC) at Sand Island today to begin the Mahalo, Hawai’i Sail. The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) announced some of the stops that the canoe will be making during this six-month voyage throughout the Hawaiian Islands:

Mahalo, Hawai’i Sail – *Ports and dates are subject to change:

  • August and September: Maui (Honolua), Oʻahu (Haleʻiwa), Kauaʻi
  • October: Moku O Keawe, Maui (Hana)
  • November: Maui Nui – Maui (Maʻalaea/Wailea), Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi
  • Late-November to mid-December: Windward Oʻahu
  • January: Leeward, East and South Oʻahu

The Mahalo, Hawai’i Sail will give PVS an opportunity to thank Hawaiʻi’s people, bring Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia home to all of Hawaiʻi, share lessons learned from the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage and deepen the organization’s connection and understanding of the important work being done here in the islands to care for the earth. During the port visits, PVS will engage with schools and organizations through outreach events, service projects, crew presentations and canoe tours.

The first stop will be at Honolua Bay, Maui, where Hōkūleʻa first departed on her maiden voyage to Tahiti in 1976. The crew will begin to mahalo and mālama Hawai’i by participating in the planting of 1,000 koa seedlings as part of a series of community engagement events in West Maui. In partnership with the Maui Land and Pineapple Company, Inc. through the conservation department of the Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve, State of Hawaiʻi DLNR, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi and Kamehameha Schools Maui, Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia crewmembers will be engaging with schools and the community in West Maui where they are scheduled to conduct presentations and canoe tours (see detailed schedule below).

Voyaging canoe Hikianalia is scheduled to depart Sand Island on Friday, August 18, and will join Hōkūleʻa at Honolua Bay on Saturday, August 19.

Honolua Bay Engagement Schedule (Events are free and open to the public):
*All dates and times schedule to change

Thursday, August 17
4 pm Hōkūleʻa arrives at Honolua Bay, Honolua Bay Ramp
6 pm Huliau Film & Lecture Series presents Ola ʻo Maui Nui featuring speakers from the 1976 Voyage and Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage crew at
Kamehameha Schools Maui, Keōpūolani Hale

Friday, August 18
9:30-12:30 pm Kamehameha Schools Maui students and teachers visit with Hōkūleʻa crew at Honolua for informational activities and service project

6:30 pm Crew Talk Story at Westin Nanea
(Participating crew members: Max Yarawamai, Archie Kalepa, Lehua Kamalu and Billy Richards)

6:30-8:00 pm Crew Talk Story at Kaanapali Beach Hotel
(Participating crew members: Mark Ellis, Kekaimalu Lee, Kaʻiulani Murphy and Pua Lincoln)

Saturday, August 19
8-8:30 am Cultural welcome at Honolua Bay
9 am-5 pm Informational activities
10:30 am-1 pm Planting of koa and native plants with Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve makai conservation area. For information, visit puukukui.org
2-5 pm Public canoe tours and informational activities at Honolua Bay Ramp
7 pm Hōkūleʻa Revisted: 1976 Crew Member Talk at Ritz Carlton Kapalua
(Participating crew members: Buffalo Keaulana, Snake Ah Hee, Billy Richards, John Kruse, Gordon Piʻianaia, Penny Martin, Kimo Lyman, Marion Lyman-Mersereau, Makaala Yates and Kainoa Lee)

Sunday, August 20
8 am-5 pm Public canoe tours at Honolua Bay Ramp
TBD Crew Talk at Sheraton Maui
(Puu Kukui Watershed representatives and and Hōkūleʻa crew)
6:30 pm Crew Talk at Montage Kapalua Bay
(Participating crew members: Kalepa Baybayan, Kalā Tanaka and Austin Kino

Mayor Kim Gets Honorable Mention at US Conference of Mayors’s Climate Protection Awards

The United States Conference of Mayors 11th anniversary Winners Mayors’ Climate protection awards:

Honorable Mentions (Large City) – Hawai’i Mayor Harry Kim and the Lalamilo Windfarm Project:

Hawai’i Department of Water Supply’s (DWS) Lalamilo Windfarm project officially opened for commercial operations in September 2016, with five turbines generating 3.3 megawatts of electricity with no-export to the grid.
As an island state, the State of Hawai’i has been at the mercy of imported fossil fuel supplies. The Lalamilo Windfarm contributes to the State of Hawai’i’s Clean Energy Initiative’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

Among the challenges in developing this project were permitting hurdles, most notably those involving the expected take of endangered bats and sea birds such as petrels.

Lighting was installed at downward facing angles and down-shielded to avoid attraction and disorientation of night-flying seabirds. It also will be less attractive to insects at turbine blade heights which may attract bats.

The turbines are also programmed to cut in and produce energy only when the wind exceeds 5 meters per second and the blades are feathered into the wind when the wind speeds are below 5 meters per second to minimize impact to both bats and birds. Bird flight diverters were also installed to minimize the potential for birds colliding with the overhead electrical transmission lines.
The windfarm is designed to provide a renewable energy source and a stable rate platform for the Department of Water Supply’s pumping equipment for the next 20 years. The CO2 offset for the Lalamilo Windfarm is estimated at 5,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.

At the 2015 groundbreaking for Lalamilo

This is arguably the first time in Hawai’i, and perhaps the nation, that a local government has developed such a wind-powered, water-pumping facility capable of significant greenhouse gas reductions at no cost to the taxpayer.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, in partnership with DWS and the Department of Research and Development, worked out models of the energy output potential for the windfarm site, at no cost to DWS or its customers. In April 2013, the project was awarded to Lalamilo Windfarm Wind
Company LLC, which designed, constructed, owns, and maintains the facility, through a Power Purchase Agreement. Planning, design, and construction were also done at no cost to DWS.

The turbines of the Windfarm are located on 78 acres adjacent to eight DWS water wells in Lalamilo Windfarm, South Kohala, on the site of a previous windfarm built in the mid-1980s. The use of wind energy while reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels, also ensures a stable source of energy that is expected to reduce energy costs to DWS and its customers over the next
20 years.

Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Sustainability Report Available

The Hawaiian Electric Companies’ progress in improving customer service, increasing renewable energy, decreasing oil use, innovating to provide more customers access to rooftop solar and modernize the grid, and supporting communities are highlighted in the companies’ tenth annual Sustainability Report.

As a result of that effort, Hawaiian Electric has compiled a list of potential sites that could be available to experienced developers of renewable energy projects.

The 2016 Sustainability Report for Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light is available online at:

A limited number of copies printed on 100-percent post-consumer-waste paper with vegetable-based inks are available at Hawaiian Electric bill payment locations on Oahu or by calling the Education and Consumer Affairs Department at 808-543-7511.

Among the expanded sections of the report is “Electrification of Transportation” which includes the companies’ on-line EV Cost/Benefit Calculator, expanding EV Fast Charger network and collaborative efforts to promote electric mobility through Drive Electric Hawaii.

The report also includes a timeline of Hawaiian Electric’s 125-year history, 1891 to 2016.

It also highlights donations of time and money of 4,867 employee volunteers and their families and friends who contributed 16,319 hours of service, $1,055,000 (much of it matched by donations from the HEI Charitable Foundation) and 1,318 pints of blood.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Seek to Connect Renewable Energy Developers With Landowners

To help achieve Hawaii’s renewable energy goals, the Hawaiian Electric Companies recently sought out landowners to determine their willingness to host renewable energy projects.

As a result of that effort, Hawaiian Electric has compiled a list of potential sites that could be available to experienced developers of renewable energy projects.

“By reaching out to potential developers and sharing information with them, we are helping landowners and developers get together to streamline the process of developing renewable energy projects. Together, we are all working toward achieving our state’s 100 percent renewable energy goal,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of strategic planning and business development.

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light will require all developers to engage with communities near proposed renewable energy projects and solicit public input before developers can negotiate a final agreement with the utility. All agreements will require approval of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

Hawaii has the nation’s most ambitious clean energy goal, requiring 100 percent of electricity sales to come from renewable resources by 2045. By December 2016, the companies achieved nearly 26 percent of the state’s renewable energy mandate across the five islands served. Hawaii Island, for example, has the state’s highest level of renewables at 54 percent. With new developer agreements recently approved by regulators, it is expected more than 80 percent of the electricity used by Hawaii Electric Light customers will come from renewable sources by 2020.

The companies are now moving even more assertively to encourage renewable project development while federal tax incentives that can lower prices for customers are available.

To reach 100 percent, Hawaii will need a broad mix of clean resources. Private rooftop solar, energy storage, and electricity-use management (also known as efficiency and demand response) will increasingly be options for individual customers. Grid-scale projects are still essential to complement these choices to provide power reliability and ensure all customers benefit from renewable energy.

The companies have requested Public Utilities Commission approval to start the regulated procurement process and expect soon to issue formal requests for proposals for developers to propose grid-scale projects.

When contacting Hawaiian Electric, developers must sign a non-disclosure agreement and provide information to demonstrate experience and capability in completing renewable projects. For information, go to hawaiianelectric.com/landrfi or email landrfi@hawaiianelectric.com.

Click to access

PUC Approves HELCO-HU HONUA Amended, Restated PPA

Plant Will Be Completed in 2018 and Provide Dependable Renewable Energy

Yesterday, the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) informed Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC it had approved its amended and restated power purchase agreement with Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO).

Hu Honua site courtesy Hu Honua

Hu Honua will be a state-of-the-art bioenergy facility, providing firm, renewable, dispatchable energy. The Pepeekeo-based power plant will be completed in December 2018 and support the state’s clean energy goals, revitalize East Hawaii’s agricultural sector, and bring hundreds of new jobs to Hawaii Island.

The Commission conducted a detailed review of the Hu Honua project’s benefits and approved Hu Honua’s original Power Purchase Agreement with the HELCO in 2013. The amended, restated PPA provides HELCO customers with the same advantages as the original PPA but at a lower cost.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the PUC’s decision,” said Harold Robinson, president of Island Bioenergy, parent company of Hu Honua. “Now we can begin employing hundreds of additional workers from the building trades to accelerate construction and complete the plant by the end of 2018. We will also make arrangements to start forestry operations, including logging and transporting eucalyptus trees that will fuel our facility.”

The amended, restated PPA extends two contract milestones to allow Hu Honua to finish its half-completed biomass facility, and reduces and restructures the contract’s pricing and term.

Because the original PPA was already approved, the Commission limited its review of the amended, restated PPA to whether HELCO met its burden of proof for the following three issues:

  1. Request to waive Hu Honua’s project from the PUC’s framework for competitive bidding
  2. Whether the power costs to be paid by HELCO reflect the cost of biomass fuel supply and whether HELCO’s purchase power arrangements under the PPA are in the public interest
  3. Request for preferential rates for the purchase of renewable energy produced in conjunction with agricultural activities pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes § 269-27.3.

According to HELCO’s own analysis, Hu Honua will reduce its customers’ monthly bill by $1.21 per month over the term of the PPA, relative to HELCO’s current long-term projections. A separate independent analysis by PA Consulting showed Hu Honua will save ratepayers as much as $4.24 per month over the term of the PPA. PA Consulting’s analysis also shows Hu Honua would save ratepayers more than $1.3 billion over the course of the 30-year PPA relative to HELCO’s existing portfolio of fossil fuel plants, which is the benchmark the Commission used to determine the original PPA was in the public interest.

Hu Honua will provide foundational 30-year demand for the forestry sector that Hawaii policymakers and community leaders have long sought. Hu Honua will create more than 200 jobs in construction, 30 in plant management and operations, 90 in forestry and trucking, and an additional estimated 100 indirect jobs on Hawaii Island and statewide. Hu Honua is working with community partners on workforce development educational and internship opportunities.

A June 2017 independent scientific survey conducted by Anthology Research Group found that 75 percent of East Hawaii residents feel “very or somewhat favorable” about the completion of the Hu Honua Facility, and only 10 percent feel unfavorably about its completion. The margin of error for the survey is 5.06 percent.

About Hu Honua
Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC is located in Pepeekeo on the Hamakua Coast of the island of Hawaii. When completed, the Hu Honua facility will be able to produce up to 30-megawatts (MW) of firm, baseload renewable power, which means the plant can deliver reliable power that can be dispatched 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When operating at capacity, Hu Honua will be able to produce approximately 15 percent of Hawaii Island’s electricity needs and displace approximately 280,000 barrels of imported oil per year.
For more information, www.huhonua.com

Mayor Kim Writes in Opposition to Mandating Fire Sprinklers in All New One and Two Family Dwellings

Dear Ms. Marrone,

Subject: Opposition to Mandating Fire Sprinklers in All New One and Two Family Dwellings

The County of Hawaii supports the efforts of BIA Hawaii to remove Section 3 (the Sunset provision) of Act 83, SLH 2012. Removal of the sunset provision in this Act would prohibit the Counties from requiring the installation or retrofitting of automatic fire sprinklers or an automatic fire sprinkler system in most new construction of one or two family residential dwellings, which is currently mandated in the International Residential Code (IRC).

We understand and respect the position of the Fire Fighters in our community and remain committed to preventing loss of life and property through financially sensible building codes and ongoing community education.

At the same time, we in Hawaii are concerned about the dramatic increase in housing prices, especially for our first time home buyers and families. Adding the cost of a new automatic fire sprinkler system and required upgrades to water meters will add to the already high prices of housing in Hawaii.

We firmly believe that there are more cost effective methods of addressing the concerns raised by the fire protection organizations. These methods will not only protect fire fighters and homeowners but will NOT significantly increase the price of a new home in Hawaii.

As such, we are in full support of the proposed amendment to Act 83, SLH 2012 to delete the sunset provision of the bill.

Sincerely,

Mayor Harry Kim

Regulators Accept Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Plan to Reach 100% Renewable Energy

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has accepted the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ plan charting the near-term actions that will lead to 100 percent of Hawaii’s power generation needs coming from renewable resources to meet 100 percent of Hawaii’s power generation needs by 2045.

The Power Supply Improvement Plan Update accepted by the PUC on July 14 describes the work by Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light that will form the foundation to meet or exceed the state’s renewable energy milestones, the most ambitious in the country.

In its decision, the commission commended the companies’ analysis of options to meet Hawaii’s future needs for electricity, the openness of the planning process and the “high-quality stakeholder input” that together resulted in “a set of plans that provides useful context for making informed decisions regarding the near-term path forward.”

“After review, commission has reasonable assurance that many of the actions identified … are credible, supported by sound judgment and analysis, informed by stakeholder input and consistent with state energy policy and prior commission orders,” the commission stated.

The plan describes several key goals, including acquisition of nearly 400 megawatts of new renewable energy resources by 2021. The commission urged the companies to move quickly on a “transparent, timely and successful procurement process” to work with project developers and capture federal investment tax credits before they expire.

“We appreciate the commission’s acceptance of our plan and its guidance for moving forward,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. “As the commission noted, thoughtful input from the participants was a key to developing a successful plan and we will continue to work with everyone in our community as we implement it.”

The companies followed an open, collaborative process to develop the plan, participating in multiple stakeholder workshops and technical conferences to share information and ideas. Planners used industry-leading tools and techniques to analyze multiple scenarios to balance the desires for reliability, affordability and sustainability.

Among the participants in planning were the state Consumer Advocate; County of Hawaii; County of Maui; Ulupono Initiative; Blue Planet Foundation; Hawaii Gas; Paniolo Power on Hawaii 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, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute and Electric Power Research Institute.

The plan emphasizes work that is in progress or planned over the next five years on each of the five islands served by Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light.

The companies exceeded the state’s 2015 renewable energy target and forecast they will exceed the state’s renewable energy milestones in 2020, 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.

By 2020, Hawaii Island is forecast to reach an RPS of 80 percent; Maui 63 percent; Lanai 59 percent and Oahu, 40 percent. On Molokai, Maui Electric is working with the community on options for reaching 100 percent RPS by 2020.

To maintain reliability of electric service, the plan calls for adding energy storage and other grid technologies to accompany new renewable resources.

The plan includes 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 twice today’s total of 79,000.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies already have the highest percentage of customers using rooftop solar of any utility in the U.S. The national average is one percent while the percentage in the Hawaiian Electric Companies service territories is 17 percent.

Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Plan for Upgrading Power Grids Can Help Integrate More Private Rooftop Solar

The Hawaiian Electric Companies today submitted the draft of a plan to modernize its five island power grids to bring online more renewable resources, improve reliability and resilience and give customers more choices.

Click to view

Filed today with the Public Utilities Commission, the draft plan describes the scope and estimated cost to update the energy networks of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light in the next six years, and how it will help the companies achieve a consolidated renewable portfolio standard of 48 percent by 2020 and 100 percent by 2045.

The draft plan also describes how new technology will help triple private rooftop solar, make use of rapidly evolving products – including storage and advanced inverters – and incorporate an array of sophisticated energy management tools, including demand response.

“Our grids were originally designed for one-way flow of electricity to customers from a handful of power plants,” said Colton Ching, senior vice president for planning and technology. “We can use advanced technology to transform these grids for two-way power flow from nearly 80,000 privately owned rooftop solar systems today and tens of thousands more in the future, along with thousands of energy storage systems that will be part of our grids by 2045.”

Much of the first phase of work would be aimed at adding sensors and control systems onto circuits where the high level of private rooftop solar can produce potentially damaging variations in voltage and limit addition of new systems.

The cost of the first segment of modernization is estimated at about $205 million over six years. The plan focuses on near-term improvements that provide the most immediate system and customer benefit but don’t crowd out future technological breakthroughs.

Highlights of this near-term work include:

  • Distribution of smart meters strategically rather than system-wide, primarily for enhanced sensing and monitoring purposes, i.e., to customers with private rooftop solar on saturated circuits; and customers who want to participate in programs such as demand response, variable rates or who seek usage data;
  • Reliance on advanced inverter technology to enable greater private rooftop solar adoption;
  • Expanded use of voltage management tools, especially on circuits with heavy solar penetration to maximize circuit capacities for private rooftop solar and other customer resources;
  • Expanded use of sensors and automated controls at substations and neighborhood circuits;
  • Expansion of a communication network giving system operators greater ability to “see” and efficiently coordinate distributed resources, along with smart devices placed on problematic circuits and automation for improved reliability;
  • Enhanced outage management and notification technology

To develop this grid modernization strategy, the Hawaiian Electric Companies took a “clean sheet” approach, starting by talking with customers and community stakeholders across the state to determine what was important to them when considering energy delivery today and in the future.

The companies plan to meet with stakeholders and to hold public discussions of the grid modernization draft plan starting in July, with their input to be included in the final version of the plan to be submitted at the end of August.

The draft plan and related documents are available at www.hawaiianelectric.com/gridmod. Public comments on the plan can be submitted to gridmod@hawaiianelectric.com until Aug. 9, 2017.

Hawai’i County Wins National Climate Protection Award for Windfarm Project

The County of Hawai’i has won a national climate protection award from the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) for the Department of Water Supply’s Lālāmilo Windfarm project.

Groundbreaking at the Lālāmilo Windfarm project a few years ago.

The Large City – Honorable Mention Award for Hawai’i County puts it in the company of three other Honorable Mention winners: Cleveland, Ohio; Columbia, South Carolina; and Cagus, Puerto Rico.

The Large City category is for cities or counties whose populations exceed 100,000. Only one other large city, First Place winner Long Beach, California, was in a tier above the Honorable Mentions.

“We are so happy for Hawai’i County to be recognized by this nationwide award,” said Mayor Harry Kim.  “The Lālāmilo Windfarm is reducing greenhouse gas emissions significantly – and at no cost to Water Supply’s customers.”

The Windfarm officially opened for commercial operations in September 2016, with five turbines generating 3.3 megawatts of electricity with no-export to the grid.  It contributes to the State of Hawai’i’s Clean Energy Initiative’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

This project is arguably the first time in Hawai’i, and perhaps the nation, that a local government has developed such a wind-powered, water-pumping facility capable of significant greenhouse gas reductions at no cost to the taxpayer.  The Windfarm is located on 78 acres adjacent to eight Department of Water Supply water wells in South Kohala.

The award to Hawai’i County was announced at a ceremony on Friday at the U.S. Mayor’s Conference annual meeting in Miami.

Hokulea Sets Sail for Hawaii and Historic Worldwide Voyage Homecoming

After 5 days in the community of Tautira – a  second home of the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) and legendary canoe Hokulea – the crews of Hokulea and Hikianalia bid  a warm goodbye to their Tahitian voyaging ohana and departed on the final historic leg of the Worldwide Voyage: sailing home to Hawaii.

The people of Tautira have been the Tahitian caretakers of the canoes and crews of PVS since Hokulea’s maiden voyage in 1976. Upon arrival in Tautira, the crew payed homage to the family ties so important to the shared voyaging heritage of Hawaii and Tahiti, visiting the grave sites of leaders who helped build the connection more than forty years ago.

The crews were hosted at Mayor Papa Sane’s home and welcomed as family in this voyaging community so closely held to Hawaii’s own.

The morning of Wednesday, May 17, Hokulea, sister canoe Hikianalia, and escort vessel Gershon II began the final leg of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage departing from Tahiti to head back home to Hawaii. This last, historic stretch of the sail plan is expected to take 3-4 weeks (pending weather).

The canoes will make a celebratory return to Honolulu on Saturday, June 17 at Magic Island for a cultural welcoming ceremony followed by a grand celebration open to the entire community.

The week-long celebration will continue with the Malama Honua Fair and Summit, a three-day event at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center , which will highlight the voyaging, cultural, environmental, educational, and health and well-being missions of the Worldwide Voyage by sharing malama honua “stories of hope” and voyage-inspired initiatives and activities with the public.

The event’s inspirational speaker series will feature local and global speakers who have engaged with the Voyage including: Megan Smith, 3rd chief technology officer of the United States; Dieter Paulmann, founder of Okeanos Foundation for the Sea; and Ocean Elders Sylvia Earle, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and Don Walsh. Registration for these events is now open at www.hokulea.com/summit.

CRACKDOWN – 17 People Arrested for Closed Area Violations at Kalalau

Seventeen people were arrested at the Kalalau Section of the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park, during a pair of law enforcement sweeps earlier this week. Officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) arrested people without valid permits for being in a closed area. They believe among the 17, were three people who’d been illegally residing in Kalalau Valley for long periods of time.

DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell said, “We continue to hear about a lot of illegal activity at Kalalau through social media channels. Some of the behavior depicted on blogs and websites is brazen, clearly illegal, disrespectful to the Hawaiian culture, damaging to natural resources, and completely devoid of any appreciation for the wilderness character of the Napali Coast.”

DOCARE Kaua‘i Branch Chief Francis “Bully” Mission added, “The designated camping areas at Kalalau Beach are largely free of illegal camps, but there are still numbers of them up in the valley, where they tend to be remote and often pretty well hidden. It makes it challenging for our officers, but we remain committed to stopping illegal behavior in this wilderness park.”

Enforcement operations to the Napali Coast are expensive, complicated, and time-consuming not only for DOCARE, but also for the DLNR Division of State Parks. It conducts at least monthly air-lifts of accumulated rubbish and human waste. Both Chief Farrell and State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell noted that as Hawai‘i’s largest and most remote state park, funding has never been provided for having any full-time staff assigned to the Napali Coast.

Cottrell observed, “If there’s any silver lining to what law breakers are posting on social media, is that it’s caused significant public outrage. Our hope is to get new positions and funding authorized specifically dedicated to the Napali Coast to tackle this ongoing issue.”

DOCARE and State Parks are continuing to collaborate on future law enforcement and clean-up operations as resources permit. Officers continue to take a hard line against anyone contacted who can’t produce a permit. “No permit and you will be arrested and then have to appear in court,” Chief Farrell said.

Travel from the Kalalau Trailhead at Ke’e Beach does not require a permit to Hanakapiai Stream; the first two miles of the trail and another two miles, up valley after the stream crossing to Hanakapiai Falls. The nine miles of coastline trail beyond the stream crossing requires an overnight permit, obtainable from State Parks.

Malama the Napali Coast Media Clips from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Worldwide Voyage: Hawai’i Shares its Culture With the World Exhibition

Volcano Art Center is proud to announce the exhibition Worldwide Voyage: Hawai’i Shares Its Culture With The World.  This fine art exhibition presents the navigational story of the Hōkūleʻa’s Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, told through photographs, cultural items and art inspired by the voyage.  The exhibit will be open to the public on May 20th through July 2nd at the Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.

Star Compass by David Reisland

The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage has taken the iconic sailing canoe Hōkūleʻa around the Earth, and her sister canoe Hikianalia around the Pacific, to promote a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua (caring of Island Earth) mission seeks to engage communities worldwide in the practice of sustainable living while sharing Polynesian culture, learning from the past and from each other, creating global relationships, and inspiring action to care for and discover the wonders of  Earth.  Since departing Hawaiian waters in May 2014, Hōkūle‘a will have sailed approximately 60,000 nautical miles and made stops in 27 countries and 100 ports, weaving a “Lei of Hope” around the world.

During the voyage, Hōkūleʻa and her crew have been greeted and visited by global peace and ocean conservation leaders such as His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki­moon, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Jackson Brown, Sir Richard Branson and Republic of Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr.

Hōkūleʻa in New York Harbor

The exhibition on display consists of a collection of mounted photographs, cultural items, and art curated by Gary Eoff.  The photographs, provided by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, offer a first-hand account of the navigation, ports visited and the stories of the individual navigators. The cultural items, made by Ed Kaneko and his students, as well as Gary Eoff illustrate primitive wayfaring methods and supplies used on ancient voyages.  A few of the items traveled on the canoe to The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History as part of the voyage.  Art work including a star compass table by David Reisland and wood bowls by Cliff Johns will also be on display.

Guided By The Stars by Gary Eoff

“Volcano Art Center wishes to extend a huge mahalo the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the ‘Oiwi Television Network and the individual photographers for sharing the visual story with us,” states Gallery Manager Emily C. Weiss.    “Their mission to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging and the spirit of exploration through experiential educational programs that inspire communities to respect and care for themselves, each other, and their natural and cultural environments, is truly something we support”, continues Weiss.

“Volcano Art Center and the artists we represent have been inspired by the courage of this voyage.  Navigating using only ancient wayfinding practices, without modern instruments, using stars, winds and waves is remarkable.  While most people are turning to technology for everything, it is absolutely refreshing to witness the opposite.  Timing the exhibit with the completion of the actual voyage is no accident. We hope to honor the homecoming by sharing with the canoe and crew just how much their strength, determination and knowledge has inspired us.”

Volcano Art Center is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization created in 1974 whose mission is to promote, develop and perpetuate the artistic, cultural and environmental heritage of Hawaii through arts and education.  The exhibit is sponsored by the Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. Please visit www.volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

Waipio Solar Project Completed

The Department of the Navy, Pacific Energy Solutions, LLC, Hawaiian Electric Company, and the Hawaii State Energy Office celebrated the completion of a 14.3 megawatt direct current solar facility at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) Waipio Peninsula in Hawaii.

The completion of the project was commemorated in a ribbon cutting ceremony today on JBPHH. Notable ceremony presenters and attendees included Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander of Navy Region Hawaii; Rear Adm. John Korka, commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific and U.S. Pacific Fleet civil engineer; John Kliem, executive director, DON’s Resilient Energy Program Office; Capt. Stanley Keeve Jr., commanding officer, JBPHH; Ron Cox, senior vice president of Operations at Hawaiian Electric; and Dr. Terrence Surles, interim administrator of the Hawaii State Energy Office.

“Our Navy is tough during wartime and while preserving peace. That same level of determination drives day-to-day problem-solving as well as our approach to energy security. We are bold in our thinking – embracing innovation and new technologies, just as we have done throughout our history. Our senior leaders empower us and expect us to be adaptive, resilient and forward-thinking. That applies to both our nation’s defense and to our commitment to energy security,” said Fuller.

Pacific Energy Solutions built, and will own, operate and maintain the solar facility on JBPHH, and the installation will be the sole consumer of the power produced by the photovoltaic facility under a contract referred to as a Power Purchase Agreement.

“We are pleased to be part of the Waipio solar project and to help the Navy achieve its clean energy goals,” said Matt Handel, vice president of Development for NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, whose subsidiary purchased the membership interest in Pacific Energy Solutions.

The project will contribute to the DON’s diverse energy portfolio, ensuring more secure and resilient operations at JBPHH. It also shows the continued partnership with the state of Hawaii, following last year’s Memorandum of Understanding between the DON and the state, which coordinated goals and strengthened the partnership between both organizations in the pursuit of additional renewable energy in the state of Hawaii.

“The State of Hawaii commends the Navy for its leadership in making the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Waipio Peninsula solar facility a reality. This project is a testament to our shared vision with the Navy and other branches of the military on energy security and self-sufficiency. It will take a genuine commitment on the part of all stakeholders to achieve our clean energy goals, and high-impact projects like this are an important part of that effort,” said Luis P. Salaveria, director of the State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

The DON continues to improve readiness, combat effectiveness and flexibility through initiatives that focus on energy reliability, resiliency and efficiency.

Hokulea and Hikianalia Return to Taputapuatea for Ancient Voyaging Ritual and Ceremony

Traditional Polynesian voyaging canoes Hokulea and Hikianalia were welcomed by local dignitaries, spiritual elders and community members at Taputapuatea. The marae, or the focal meeting ground, is located on the southeastern coast of Raiatea in French Polynesia. The purpose of the stop was to honor the ancient tradition of Hawaii’s Polynesian ancestors who would go to Taputapuatea, the spiritual center for voyagers of the Pacific, to ceremonially launch and close their voyages of discovery. After sailing about 100 miles from Papeete, Tahiti, the canoes arrived at Taputapuatea yesterday morning following the historic protocol of entering via the sacred pass of Teava Moa.

The ceremony began with pwo navigator Nainoa Thompson and captain Billy Richards returning two sacred stones to the marae that were given to the crew when the canoes last visited Taputapuatea in 2014 to launch the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. The return of the two stones signified that the Hokulea and Hikianalia crews fulfilled their responsibility to sail around the world and deepened the connection between Hawaii and its navigational roots in Taputapuatea.

“These stones carried the spirits of all of our ancestors and the direct descendants of all of our families as we sailed around the world,” said Thompson. “Today we brought the stones home to Taputapuatea and were granted permission from by our ancestral family to return home. It’s the last permission based on the fulfillment of many promises we made,” he added.

In addition to the spiritual elders of Taputapuatea, the crew was greeted by French Polynesia president Edouard Fritch, the Taputapuatea mayor Thomas Moutame, and the country’s minister of culture Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu. The day-long ceremony featured the ancient rituals conducted to ceremonially complete a voyage, traditional chants and dance by the Taputapuatea community and students from Kamehameha Schools and Milolii Charter School.

In honor of this ceremonial milestone, crewmembers from Hokulea’s first voyage to French Polynesia in 1976 joined this leg from Tahiti to Raiatea, including Gordon Piianaia, Billy Richards, Snake Ah Hee, Kainoa Lee and John Kruse. Zane Aikau, nephew of 1978 crewmember Eddie Aikau, also participated on the leg on behalf of the Aikau family and 1976 crewmember Buffalo Keaulana who was unable to join the sail.  Special guests who also participated on the overnight sail included Hawaiian Airlines CEO Mark Dunkerley, University of Hawaii president David Lassner, and Hawaii State Department of Education superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

Once considered the religious and cultural center of Polynesia, Taputapuatea is the location of an ancient marae that was once considered the central temple and religious center of Eastern Polynesia. Established around 1000 AD, the marae was a place of learning where priests and navigators from all over the Pacific would gather to offer sacrifices to the gods and share their knowledge of the genealogical origins of the universe, and of deep ocean navigation.

Most significantly, a truce known as the Faatau Aroha was established with the surrounding islands to form an alliance that lasted for many years and perpetuated the growth of voyaging and exploration leading to the discovery and colonization of all the islands of Eastern Polynesia, including Hawaii, Rapa Nui and Aotearoa (New Zealand).  New marae were established on each of these islands with a rock being taken from Taputapuatea so that Raiatea served as a spiritual link. However, the Faatau Aroha was broken due to a conflict between two leaders of the alliance that resulted to open warfare and an end to large-scale interisland voyaging.

The archaeological remains of Marae Taputapuatea were restored in 1994 and efforts to preserve the site continues. Association Na Papa E Vau Raiatea is working towards having Marae Taputapuatea designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site and continuing work to revive connections between communities of the Polynesian triangle and throughout the Pacific region.

Hokulea and Hikianalia are scheduled to depart Taputapuatea today and will return to Papeete, Tahiti where the crews will prepare the canoes for the voyage back to Hawaii. The canoes will depart French Polynesia in mid-May and will arrive at Magic Island on Oahu for a homecoming celebration on Saturday, June 17.