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Department of Education Moves Forward on Energy Efficiency Goals

Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is close to completing its first school retrofit with campus-wide energy efficiencies and energy generation. Honowai Elementary School in Waipahu is HIDOE’s most extensive deployment of energy and sustainability efforts.

100 kilowatts of photovoltaic panels cover the roofs of classroom buildings at Honowai Elementary School.

100 kilowatts of photovoltaic panels cover the roofs of classroom buildings at Honowai Elementary School.

As part of HIDOE’s Ka Hei program, the school installed the maximum amount of photovoltaic (PV) panels by Hawaiian Electric Company’s Net Energy Metering (NEM) program of 100 kilowatts.

Department officials on Thursday gave state lawmakers a tour of the project’s progress. Before the electrical efficiencies were installed, Honowai Elementary campus had less than 10 percent of electrical capacity. The efficiencies installed included:

  • Replacing all existing lighting on campus with LED lights
  • Changing old, inefficient condenser units in existing air conditioners
  • Retrofitting kitchen refrigeration units with new compressor and energy saving devices
  • Installing more efficient cooking ventilation systems

Honowai Elementary campus has already seen a net gain of 25 percent in electrical capacity. This enabled HIDOE to install air conditioning units to 23 classrooms so far. Four more classrooms will see AC installation.

“We’re learning a lot from the efficiency work done at Honowai as we continue system-wide reforms to improve the school climate, lower our utility costs and become better environmental stewards,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Many of our campuses pose a challenge because of their outdated infrastructures, however, this project shows us what can be done.”

The installed AC projects at Honowai Elementary included ceiling fans in each room to complement the air conditioning units, allowing teachers the flexibility of keeping the AC off and adding more fresh air during the cooler months by opening windows.

“Our students and faculty are excited to be part of the Department’s sustainability efforts that has brought a number improvements to our campus,”said Honowai Principal Kent Matsumura. “Our teachers have really embraced the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning that is part of the Ka Hei Program as well. They have been in professional development and provide students hands on sustainability learning.”

The Department is assessing the feasibility of sustainable measures at other locations.

Efficiency improvements such as LED lighting is currently taking place at a number of schools, including four high school stadiums: King Kekaulike High School on Maui, Moanalua and Waipahu high schools on Oahu and Kealakehe High School on Hawaii Island. These lighting changes allow for lower electrical usage and longer life spans for the bulbs, which in turn lower maintenance needs.

Ka Hei is HIDOE’s five-year endeavor launched in 2014, aimed to integrate innovative energy technology with meaningful learning experiences, all while reducing energy costs.

The Ka Hei initiative is working on installing 81 photovoltaic systems under the previous NEM program at 74 Oahu schools by the end of 2016. This will bring the total number of schools with sustainable energy generating PV systems to 114 out of a total of 256 schools statewide.

HIDOE officials continue to engage with Hawaiian Electric Company officials on the Department’s desire to develop net-zero energy campuses through energy efficiency and sustainable energy generation coupled with battery storage.

For more information on HIDOE’s energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives, visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Begin Use of Unmanned Aircraft to Provide Better Service

The Hawaiian Electric Companies have begun to use unmanned aircraft, also known as “drones,” for a variety of inspections, including in storm response. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (the preferred industry term) can be invaluable for more cost effectively accessing remote and difficult areas, for increased employee safety, and to reduce the utility’s carbon footprint.

helco-drone“Using unmanned aircraft, when appropriate, can help us provide our customers with better service by allowing inspections that are safer, faster, and less expensive,” said Colton Ching, Hawaiian Electric vice president for energy delivery. “While unmanned aircraft won’t replace helicopters and other traditional inspection techniques, they can reduce their use in some cases.”

The Hawaiian Electric UAS program is in full compliance with all Federal Aviation Administration rules and has developed safety, training and operating procedures to make sure the unmanned aircraft are flown with the highest regard for the safety of the public and our crews.

“We also understand some may have concerns about privacy. By complying with federal rules and our own strict operating standards, we can assure people we will respect that privacy in how we collect and use information gathered,” Ching said. “And by setting a good example, we hope to inspire appropriate use by others.”

Unmanned aircraft can be deployed quickly to provide a snapshot of system conditions that is vital to restoring power after storms, wild fires or other disasters. Unmanned aircraft can also be used routinely as part of Hawaiian Electric’s asset management program, allowing inspection and then repair or replacement of equipment ahead of likely failure, resulting in better service.

Inspections of poles, towers and power lines, especially in remote areas, often involve line crews climbing once to inspect and again to make repairs. A small, maneuverable unmanned aircraft allows crews to see the tops of poles and cross arms or the sides of power plant stacks where damage is hard to spot from the ground.

Unmanned aircraft can also assist with environmental concerns, like identifying albizia tree infestations near power lines that can cause service outages, particularly in storms. Hawaii Electric Light Company’s albizia removal program eased the impact of recent tropical storms, unlike the widespread damage caused during Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014. Unmanned aircraft can make this program more efficient in the future.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies have unmanned aircraft in various sizes. Three weigh less than 7.5 pounds and can fly for approximately 15 minutes on a charge to provide state-of-the-art video and photography. They can be outfitted with additional sensors such as infrared and multispectral cameras that capture images across the electromagnetic spectrum. Two are under a pound and can be quickly deployed and easily maneuverable in high winds.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies’ UAS program is being developed in consultation with Teena Deering, a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot, who has developed a similar program for San Diego Gas & Electric Company. Deering teaches classes for the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency EMA around the country in using UAS for disaster response.

Hawaiian Electric Companies are also collaborating on technical issues with the University of Hawaii College of Engineering.

Hawaii Gov. David Y. Ige Proclaims October 2016 as “Cyber Security Awareness Month”

Gov. David Y. Ige has proclaimed October 2016 as Cyber Security Awareness Month in Hawaii, highlighting the state’s vital role in identifying, protecting its citizens from, and responding to cyber threats that may have significant impact to individual and collective security and privacy.

Click to read proclamation

Click to read proclamation

Hawaii’s observance coincides with National Cyber Security Awareness Month, recognized by President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, and the National Cyber Security Alliance. In addition, the annual national cybersecurity public awareness campaign “Stop.Think.Connect.” is implemented through a coalition of private companies, nonprofit and government organizations, as well as academic institutions working together to increase the understanding of cyber threats and empower the American public to be safer and more secure online.

“We have made great strides in recent years in securing the state government network and expanding our state employee-led cyber security program,” said Todd Nacapuy, state chief information officer. “However, cyber security remains a shared responsibility in which every citizen has a critical role to play. Awareness of computer security essentials will improve the security of cyberspace for all of us.”

Hawaii citizens are encouraged to visit the Stop.Think.Connect. website at https://stopthinkconnect.org for tips and resources. Additionally, throughout the month, ETS will be sending weekly cyber security tips to state personnel on issues such as the importance of using strong, unique passwords; applying two-factor authentication; being aware of phishing scans; and tips for staying safe this school year.

Cyber Tip: Use Strong, Unique Passwords

Cybersecurity experts recommend that everyone use strong, unique passwords because every day malicious cyber threat actors compromise websites and online accounts, and post lists of usernames, email addresses, and passwords online. This exposes individuals’ passwords and, worse yet, they are exposed with information that uniquely identifies the user, such as an email address. That means that a malicious actor can look for other accounts associated with that same person, such as work related, personal social media, or banking accounts. When the malicious actor finds those accounts they can try logging in with the exposed password and if the password is reused, they can gain access. This is why unique passwords matter.

Two-factor authentication is also an important layer of defense beyond your password. It decreases an individual’s risk of falling victim to a compromise because criminals need access to two separate items to compromise your account — for instance an individual’s password and smartphone (to receive the PIN code). Cyber criminals regularly “leak” login credentials from compromised websites. They then use these leaked login names, email addresses, and passwords to find other accounts using the same credentials. This allows them to easily impersonate individuals online, gain access to work and personal accounts, sign online service agreements or contracts, engage in financial transactions, or change account information. Enabling two-factor authentication makes it more difficult for criminals to use this technique because a password would not be sufficient to gain access.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the International Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

international-space-stationIt will be visible beginning tonight, Tuesday, September 27, at 6:30 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a Maximum Height of 89 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the Southwest part of the sky and disappear 12 degrees above the North Northeast part of the sky.

Pan Pacific Robotics Championships Scheduled Oct. 7-9, 2016

The Pan Pacific VEX Robotics Championships return, Oct. 7-9, 2016 at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus Kekuhaupio Gym, with nearly 700 students from Hawaii, California, Canada, China, and Taiwan competing for qualification slots at the 2017 VEX Worlds. The event is free to the public.

vex-challengeCorporate grants from the Hawaiian Electric Companies and Okinawa Enetech, with support from Kamehameha Schools, have helped organizers reinstate the Pan Pacific VEX Championships which were last held in 2013. Organizers plan to rotate the tournaments between Hawaii and the Pacific Rim in future years.

“VEX Robotics is the largest and fastest growing scholastic robotics program in the world which teaches engineering, high-tech and problem-solving skills while students work in teams to achieve a common goal,” said Art Kimura of the Hawaii Space Grant Consortium, one of the event organizers and a champion of space, robotics and science education programs in Hawaii. “For Hawaii teams, the Pan Pacific VEX tournaments give our students an opportunity to compete at an international level without the expense of travel. For all the students, VEX Robotics offer invaluable life experiences they wouldn’t find in a classroom setting,” he added.

For the past several months, the student teams have been working together under the guidance of teachers and mentors to build innovative robots designed to solve a set of difficult challenges presented in the game.

In the VEX Robotics Competition (VRC), 51 teams comprised of middle and high school students will square off in the game of “Starstruck,” which involves a two-team alliance maneuvering their autonomous and driver-controlled robots to place as many stars and cubes into their opponent’s side of the field and by hanging robots onto a bar.

In the VEX IQ Challenge, 36 teams made up of elementary and middle school students will compete in the game called “Crossover.” The objective of this game is to maximize the alliance teams’ scores by placing as many hex balls into the opponent’s side of the field and by parking and balancing robots on a bridge by the end of the match.

According to organizers, the Pan Pacific VEX Championships are the first tournaments of the 2016-17 robotics season to qualify teams for the 2017 Championships. Of the total 87 teams participating, only two (2) will earn an opportunity to participate in the 2017 VEX Worlds, the ultimate showcase of robotics engineering expertise, held in Louisville, KY next April. Hawaii teams will have one more opportunity to qualify for the 2017 VEX Worlds through the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Hawaii State High School VEX Championship and Hawaii State Middle School VEX Championship events scheduled in January 2017.

Opening ceremonies for the Pan Pacific VEX games begin at 9:00 a.m. on Oct. 8, with the first qualification matches to start at 9:30 a.m. through the end of the day, and resume on Oct. 9 at 8:30 a.m. The VEX IQ Challenge and VRC will be held simultaneously on two different playing fields. The VEX IQ awards presentation will take place on Oct. 9 at 1 p.m., followed by the VRC awards presentation at 2:30 p.m.

Two Teams Share Top Honors at Hawaii Annual Code Challenge

Solutions tackling state challenges involving homelessness and jail facility visitation received top honors at the Hawaii Annual Code Challenge (HACC) Judging and Awards Ceremony, held today at the Aloha Tower Marketplace.

haccThe event was the culmination of the month-long, hackathon-inspired competition designed to engage the local tech community in the modernization of Hawaii state government.

Twenty-seven teams presented solutions to the HACC judges panel, which consisted of Gov. David Y. Ige; Sen. Glenn Wakai; Todd Nacapuy, state Chief Information Officer (CIO); Garret Yoshimi, vice president of IT and CIO, University of Hawaii; Camille Au, director, Desktop Services, Hawaiian Electric; Bill Hozey, business sales managing partner, Hawaii and Alaska, Verizon; and Donna Scannell, VP of IT operations and business information officer, Kaiser Permanente. Solutions were judged on originality, design, sustainability, utility and impact, team collaboration, presentation and delivery, and bonus points for “audience’s top choice.”

The winners were as follows:

1st Place — two-way tie! (each team receives $4,000 and will also have the opportunity to interview with Blue Startups and XLR8UH)

  • Team: Team Cobra

Challenge Category: Homelessness (a challenge presented to HACC participants by Scott Morishige, state coordinator on homelessness)

Team Cobra

Team Cobra

Team Members: Arun Lee, Jayson Lee, Kyle Loo, and Kim Vo

NOTE: Team Cobra was also selected to represent the State of Hawaii at GlobalHack, being held from Oct. 21 to 23, 2016, in St. Louis, Missouri.

  • Team: Hawaii Advanced Technology Society (HATS)

Challenge Category: Oahu Community Correctional Center Visitation Scheduling (a challenge presented by the Department of Public Safety)

Team HATS

Team HATS

Team Members: Andrew Abila, Gerome Catbagan, Edward Chang, Kenneth Dedicatoria, Samuel Erwin, Gabriel Farinas, Jayson Hayworth, Neil Knight, Robert Kuakini, Ben Lamosao, Duong Le, Dylan Nakahodo, Willam Ng, Rodgem Ragsac, Phillipe Rigor, Christine Rioca, Kevin Ryan, Bryan Tanaka, and Sharey Vendiola

3rd Place ($2,000)

  • Team: Local Mocos

Challenge Category: Made in Hawaii (a challenge presented by the Department of Agriculture)

Team Members: Jesse Copeland, Nikki Kobayashi, Javen Nakamoto, Bryce Saito, Steven Yamashiro, and Lisa Zhou

1st Place in Student Category ($1,000 and the opportunity to interview with Sultan Ventures)

  • Team: Team Imua (from Kamehameha Schools)

Challenge Category: Open (application assisting local high school students with preparing for college)

Team Members: Sage Foi, Davin Takahashi, Kevin Takahashi, and Zion Basque

At the HACC kickoff event on Aug. 27, more than 200 individual coders and innovators answered the call to apply their collective creativity to improving state government. Participants formed teams and selected from diverse challenges presented by state officials and personnel, to tackle over the next several weeks. Among the presenters were state Coordinator on Homelessness Scott Morishige and staff representing the Departments of Accounting and General Services, Agriculture, Health, and Public Safety, and others.

The HACC teams returned today to present their solutions for judging and selection of winners. In addition to awards, one team, Team Cobra, was selected to represent the State of Hawaii at GlobalHack. For more information on GlobalHack, visit: https://globalhack.org/

The HACC is the result of collaboration across public and private sectors. In coordinating the event, the CIO-led Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) partnered with the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation, DevLeague, Empowered Presentations, Hawaii Open Data, Blue Startups, Sultan Ventures, and XLR8UH. Award prizes are being underwritten by sponsors such as Hawaiian Electric, Kaiser Permanente, KPMG and Verizon. Additional support is being provided by DataHouse, eWorld Enterprise Solutions, Socrata, Uber, Unisys, DRFortress, and Hawaiian Telcom.

For more information on the HACC, visit http://HACC.hawaii.gov.

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.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

international-space-stationIt will be visible beginning tonight, Saturday, September 24, at 7:29 PM. It will be visible for approximately 2 minutes at a Maximum Height of 46 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the South Southwest part of the sky and disappear 46 degrees above the South part of the sky.

Hawaii Health Centers to Receive $753K for IT Enhancements

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announced today that 14 Hawaiʻi Health Centers will receive a total of $753,064 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support health information technology (IT) enhancements. The funding is part of more than $87 million provided by HHS to 1,310 health centers in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin. The funding will support health IT enhancements to accelerate health centers’ transition to value-based models of care, improve efforts to share and use information to support better decisions, and increase engagement in delivery system transformation. This is the first significant investment directly awarded to health centers to support the purchase of health IT since 2009.

health-center“Health centers across Hawaiʻi provide high-quality health and wellness services that our communities depend upon. Yet, in Hawaiʻi and in states across the country, remote locations, lack of funding, and staff shortages make it difficult to keep up with rapidly changing healthcare technology,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Investing in our local health centers will increase information sharing, improve electronic healthcare record systems, and expand access to comprehensive, quality care for people in every county across the state.”

The following organizations are the Hawaiʻi recipients of the HHS health IT enhancement funds:

  • Hilo – $66,682 for the Bay Clinic
  • Wailuku – $52,900 for the Community Clinic of Maui
  • Honokaʻa – $46,535 for the Hamakua Health Center
  • Hana – $42,428 for the Hana Community Health Center
  • Līhuʻe – $46,320 for Hoʻola Lahui Hawaiʻi
  • Honolulu – $73,739 for the Kalihi-Palama Health Center
  • Honolulu – $54,075 for Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services
  • Kahuku – $48,198 for the Koʻolauloa Community Health and Wellness Center
  • Lanaʻi City – $41,749 for the Lanaʻi Community Health Center
  • Kaunakakai – $42,884 for Molokaʻi Ohana Health Care
  • Waiʻanae – $81,237 for the Waiʻanae District Comprehensive Health and Hospital Board
  • Honolulu – $55,087 for the Waikiki Health Center
  • Waimānalo – $46,056 for the Waimānalo Health Center
  • Kailua-Kona – $55,174 for the West Hawaiʻi CommunityHealthCenter

For a list of all fiscal year 2016 Delivery System Health Information Investment Awards recipients, visit: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/programopportunities/fundingopportunities/dshii/fy2016awards/index.html

To learn more about HRSA’s Health Center Program, visit: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/about/index.html

To find a health center in your area, visit: http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/

Hawaii Hunter Education Program Offering New Online Option for O’ahu

Beginning in October 2016 on O‘ahu, the Department of Land and Natural Resources Hunter Education Program will expand certification options for the public by offering a Hybrid Hunter Education Course which can be partially completed online. This Hybrid course will consist of two parts: (1) online course and (2) a one-day In-person conclusion course with final exam.

DLNR Hunter Card

Completion of both the online course and in-person conclusion course are mandatory for certification under the Hybrid course. Students must complete and pass the online course prior to attending the in-person conclusion course. Completion of the online course alone will not result in certification.

The online course is available at: https://www.hunter-ed.com. Interested students should visit this site, select “Hawai‘i” as their state and follow the subsequent prompts in order to complete the online course.  The course covers nine units including high definition videos, cutaways, interactive simulations and animations. There are unit quizzes and an online exam.

After passing the online exam, students will be charged $19.50 by the online course provider in order to access their voucher to attend the In-person conclusion course. Students will be required to present this voucher to Instructors when signing in for the In-person conclusion course. Students without vouchers will not be admitted into the class.

The In-person conclusion course will be approximately four hours. This session will cover a review of the online course and additional units specific to Hawai‘i. Students will end this course with a final written exam.

In-person conclusion courses will be offered on O‘ahu with limited availability in October and December 2016 and expanded availability in the state in 2017. Therefore, students interested in the Hybrid course are encouraged plan ahead and register for the in-person conclusion course well in advance as spaces will fill up.

The minimum age to take Hybrid and traditional Hunter Education Classes is 10 years of age. Vouchers through https://www.hunter-ed.com/hawaii/ for the in-person conclusion course are valid for one year from the date of issue. Students who pass the online course but fail the in-person conclusion course will not be required to recomplete the online course; however, they will be required to reregister for and recomplete the in-person conclusion course.

This Hybrid course is offered in addition to the regularly scheduled traditional 12-hour classroom course. Students interested in obtaining their Hunter Education Certification may choose from either option. Course schedules for both Hybrid and traditional courses are available at: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/huntered/classes/. Call: 808-587-0200 to register for courses.

For more information on the Hybrid course, please contact the Hunter Education Program at: 1-866-563-4868 or by email at: hawaiihuntered@hawaii.gov.

Big Island Amateur Radio Emergency Service Districts Activate to Support Possible Hurricane Response in Hawaii

ARRL Pacific Section Emergency Coordinator Clement Jung, KH7HO, has announced the activation of all four Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) districts on the Big Island of Hawaii, to support each other and served agencies as two hurricanes — Madeline and Lester — threaten. A hurricane watch remains in effect for Hawaii County.

amateur radioA SKYWARN net activated on August 31 as Hurricane Madeline approached the Big Island, and KH6SW went on the air from the National Weather Service (NWS) Honolulu Forecast Office on HF, VHF, and UHF. A second SKYWARN activation for Hurricane Lester will begin on September 2 at 10 PM (0800 UTC on September 3), continuing until Monday, September 5 at noon (2200 UTC).

As of 1200 UTC, Madeline, now a category 1 storm, was located about 200 miles east of Hilo and 410 miles east-southeast of Honolulu, with maximum sustained winds near 90 MPH. The storm is moving to the west at 12 MPH.

As of 0900 UTC, Hurricane Lester, a much stronger category 4 storm, was some 1160 miles east of Hilo, with maximum sustained winds of 140 MPH and moving to the west at 12 MPH. NOAA has advised interests in Hawaii to monitor Lester’s progress.

ARES teams were set to initiate local repeater nets, holding 146.52 MHz simplex in reserve in case repeaters go down. Plans call for using HF (7.180 and 3.975 MHz) to relay traffic via Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) nets to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency Emergency Operations Center (EOC). SKYWARN traffic will use Fldigi MT63 1KL or voice on 7.080 MHz (USB), with 3.888 MHz (LSB) as an alternate frequency, and 7.095 MHz available to support informal and tactical traffic.

Jung said that if Hawaii Emergency Management Agency RACES is activated, it will monitor 7.088 MHz (LSB) for voice and Fldigi MT63-1KL. Until then, SKYWARN will be the statewide HF net control station on 7.080 MHz (USB) for voice and Fldigi.

Hawaii Gov David Ige has declared a state of emergency in the state, with the Big Island under a hurricane warning for Madeline. The National Weather Service has indicated that hurricane conditions could occur on the Big Island within the next 24 hours. Public schools in Hawaii have been closed, and the governor was urging residents of the Big Island to take steps to protect people and property. A dozen schools have been designated to serve as emergency evacuation shelters.

In addition to HF, KH6SW will operate on these repeaters:

  • 146.660 (EARC, Windward Oahu)
  • 146.760 (DEM RACES, Peackcock Flat, North Shore Oahu)
  • 146.800 (EARC, Manakapu, Oahu)
  • 146.880 (DEM RACES, Diamond Head)
  • 146.980 (DEM RACES, Downtown Honolulu)
  • 147.060 (State RACES, Diamond Head)
  • 444.350 (State RACES, Diamond Head)

Hundreds Accept Hawaii State’s ‘Code Challenge’

Approximate 220 coders and innovators answered the call to apply their collective creativity to improving Hawaii state government today.

HACC CodersGov. David Ige and state Chief Information Officer (CIO) Todd Nacapuy today welcomed participants to the state’s Hawaii Annual Code Challenge (HACC), kicking off the month-long competition and showcase of local tech talent.

Participants formed teams and selected from diverse challenges, some personally presented by state officials and staff, to tackle over the next several weeks. Among the presenters were state Coordinator on Homelessness Scott Morishige and staff representing the Departments of Accounting and General Services, Agriculture, Health, and Public Safety, and others.

HACC IgeThe HACC coder teams will return on Sept. 24 to present their solutions for judging and winner selection. Awards will go to top participants, and outstanding projects will be considered for implementation.

Presented challenges included the following:

  • Campaign Spending Profiles (Department of Accounting and General Services)
  • Family Visitation and Scheduling (Department of Public Safety)
  • Farmers’ Market Locator (Department of Agriculture)
  • Made in Hawaii Products (Department of Agriculture)
  • Jobs for Disabled Citizens (Department of Health)
  • Institute for Human Services (Non-Profit)
  • Homeless Outreach and Services (Office of the Governor)
  • Age Friendly Initiative (University of Hawaii and City and County of Hawaii)
  • Open Challenge for Schools

“With roughly 220 in attendance today, I’m impressed by the great interest shown in helping to improve how state government engages and serves the public,” CIO Nacapuy said. “We’re grateful for the support from the professional and non-profit community, who likewise see the value of developing our local IT workforce.”

The HACC is the result of collaboration across public and private sectors. In coordinating the event, the CIO-led Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) partnered with the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation, DevLeague, Empowered Presentations, Hawaii Open Data, Blue Startups, Sultan Ventures, and XLR8UH. Award prizes are being underwritten by sponsors such as Hawaiian Electric, Kaiser Permanente, KPMG and Verizon. Additional support is being provided by DataHouse, eWorld Enterprise Solutions, Socrata, Uber, Unisys, DRFortress, and Hawaiian Telcom.

For more information and updates on the progress of challenge projects, visit http://HACC.hawaii.gov.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

International Space Station

It will be visible beginning tonight, Friday, August 19th, at 7:55 PM. It will be visible for approximately 3 minutes at a Maximum Height of 75 degrees. It will appear 21 degrees above the Northwest part of the sky and disappear 40 degrees above the South Southeast part of the sky.

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/.

Tax System Modernization – Limited Service August 11-12, 2016

The Department of Taxation will be transferring taxpayer data to the Department’s new tax information computer system on August 11-12, 2016, as part of its Tax System Modernization program. Taxpayer services which require access to the current tax information computer system, including the processing of tax clearance requests, may be temporarily limited August 11-12, 2016.

Department of Taxation

All of the Department’s District Tax Offices will be open and continue to serve the public during regular office hours of 7:45am to 4:30pm on August 11-12, 2016. The Kona Office has new office hours of 8:00am to 4:00pm.

Taxpayer information and services that do not require Department staff to access the computer system will continue throughout the data migration on August 11-12, 2016. Services that require access to taxpayer accounts, including the issuance of tax clearances, will be temporarily limited during these dates. The Department is unable to process any new requests for tax clearances August 11-12, 2016.

We apologize in advance for the inconvenience this may cause taxpayers. The new tax systems will ultimately result in better taxpayer service and improved enforcement of tax laws.

For more information about Tax System Modernization, please visit our website at tax.hawaii.gov

Hawaiian Electric Companies Launch Improved Mobile Websites Optimized for Smart Phones and Tablets

To provide customers with greater convenience, the Hawaiian Electric Companies have made it easier to use smart phones and tablets to access and update electric account information and to use an online tool to decide whether rooftop solar power is right for them.

Helco new site“More than 30 percent of our customers who use our website access it from mobile devices. As technology evolves, we want to provide our customers with more options and ensure they have the best possible experience,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service.

The Online Customer Service Center, which customers use to access their electric accounts, has been updated to improve navigation and viewing on any mobile device. Rather than designing one size for all mobile devices, the new sites are responsive and will scale to fit the screen of any smart phone or smaller tablet, such as an iPad Mini, without having to zoom in and zoom out. When viewing the site on a full-sized iPad or similar device with larger displays, customers will still see the full desktop version of the website.

The websites also feature a streamlined log-in process for customers to access their accounts or to sign up for a new online account. The improved mobile sites also make it easier than ever to start and stop service and sign up for services such as Automatic Bill Payment and paperless billing.

To access the sites, use any mobile web browser and navigate to:

Online solar tool optimized for mobile access

To help customers make informed decisions about rooftop solar energy systems, the free WattPlan® calculator for rooftop solar has also been updated to be fully mobile-responsive. WattPlan can help customers considering rooftop solar to estimate electric bill savings based on their electricity use, current rates, and available rebates and tax credits.

Customers may also compare outright purchase to financing a solar system to understand the long-term impact on household budgets. Customers can find this tool at hawaiianelectric.com/WattPlan.

Internet Connectivity Restored to County of Hawaii

Internet connectivity has been restored to the County of Hawai’i, and all impacted services are once again available. Mahalo for your patience and understanding.

County of Hawaii Experiencing Internet Difficulties

The County of Hawai’i is experiencing difficulties with its internet connection this morning.

The following services are still available, but may experience longer than usual wait times:

  • early walk-in voting
  • real property tax payments
  • building permits

The following services are unavailable until connectivity is restored, however, the offices remain open to answer any questions.

  • vehicle registration, new and renewal
  • driver licensing, new and renewal

Crews are working to restore connectivity as soon as possible, and an update will be issued once systems are up. Mahalo for your patience and understanding.

Hawaii State Judiciary Website Voted #1 in the Nation

The Hawaii State Judiciary’s website has been voted number one in the National Association for Court Management’s (NACM) Top 10 Court Technology Solutions Awards for 2016.

judiciaryThis year’s awards were presented during the organization’s annual conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The awards are given each year to courts that make the best use of technology to improve court services and access to the public.

Entries from across the United States were reviewed by the COSCA/NACM/NCSC Joint Technology Committee, a panel of judges appointed by the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA), National Association for Court Management (NACM), and National Center for State Courts (NCSC).

Joint Technology Committee Co-Chair Kevin J. Bowling, J.D., explained that the panel of judges used a variety of criteria for comparing the award submissions, including: interactive capabilities; ease of access to public records; user interface; optimization for mobile devices; and accessibility. He noted that in their assessment of this year’s nominees, the nine committee judges were uniformly impressed with the Hawaii State Judiciary website.

“In part, the success of the Hawaii State Judiciary’s website was due to the innovations Hawaii has used to significantly improve access to the courts – especially for self-represented litigants and those with limited English proficiency,” said Bowling. “Hawaii certainly includes information in more languages than the majority of U.S. courts and the website is easy to navigate. While some sites have lots of ‘bells and whistles,’ Hawaii’s website is clear, concise, and information is easy to find.”

In addition to the significant range of court process information, the community outreach information contained in the Hawaii State Judiciary’s YouTube Channel impressed the judges.

“I’d like to thank the members of the Joint Technology Committee for this honor. Their expert feedback will guide us as we continue to improve our website and our access to the courts,” said Rodney Maile, Administrative Director of the Hawaii State Judiciary. “I’d also like to thank the Judiciary’s Communications and Community Relations Office, the Office on Equality and Access to the Courts, and our partners at the Hawaii Information Consortium for the many hours of work they put into the website. Their dedication reflects the Judiciary’s commitment to providing meaningful access to court processes and services to all persons, including those with limited English proficiency (LEP), those with disabilities, and self-represented litigants.”

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.