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Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

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

It will be visible beginning tonight, May 23rd at 7:51 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a maximum height of 72 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.

Reps. Gabbard, Perry Introduce Bill to Permanently End Warrantless Collection of Americans’ Emails

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Scott Perry (R-PA), both founding members of the Fourth Amendment Caucus, introduced legislation today to permanently codify protections on Americans’ privacy.

Last month, the NSA announced it is ending its collection of Americans’ Internet communications that merely mention identifying terms for foreign targets, but are not to or from those targets, also known as “about” surveillance. The legislation introduced today would permanently codify this policy change into law. Gabbard and Perry, both veterans of the Iraq War, also co-chair the Post 9/11 Veterans Caucus.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “For years, the NSA has been collecting phone and online communications from everyday Americans across the country, defying the rights and liberties granted to us under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. The 2008 FISA Amendments, specifically Section 702, has led to massive government-led exploitation of personal privacy through the collection of American citizens’ emails. We need serious reforms that balance the protection of our civil liberties and rights through our constitution, and also keep the American people safe. The NSA recently announced that they would stop collecting our emails and electronic communications under Section 702, but what is to say that it won’t start up again? Our legislation will keep our country from backtracking on this progress by permanently codifying this policy change and banning this privacy-invading collection from taking place again.”

Rep. Scott Perry said, “The NSA recently changed policy to prohibit the collection of electronic communications sent or received by American citizens that merely mention a foreign target of surveillance. This practice has long been used as an end-around the Fourth Amendment, and we commend the NSA for aligning their collection efforts with the Constitution. The legislation ensures that this important win for the American people cannot be reversed under future administrations. I thank Congresswoman Gabbard for her continued efforts on this issue and look forward to seeing this bill move quickly.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has long advocated for reforms that address our government’s responsibility to protect civil liberties and ensure a strong national defense. She has actively sought reforms to Section 702, the Patriot Act, introduced legislation to strengthen and expand the functions of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), and is a founding member of the bipartisan Fourth Amendment Caucus focused on protecting the privacy and security of Americans in the digital age.

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.

Hawaii Department of Education Receives National Innovation Award From Education Commission of the States

The Education Commission of the States announced that the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is the 2017 recipient of the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation. The Commission sited the Department’s broadly-supported and impactful education improvement efforts, including focusing school accountability on students’ college and career readiness; teacher and education leader support across the state; development of a comprehensive longitudinal data system; and investing in data literacy as reasons why Hawaii received the award.

“Hawaii worked diligently to positively change the landscape of education in the state and dramatically improved and enhanced the structure of education in its schools, as well as outcomes for its students,” said Jeremy Anderson, president of Education Commission of the States. “The state’s thoughtfully constructed policies, reforms and capacity-building programs provide teachers and education leaders with opportunities to increase the potential for both their professional success, as well as the success of their students, and also support the state in achieving its education goals.”

HIDOE’s suite of data tools includes a longitudinal data system that provides educators with real-time access to data and even allows for targeting underperforming student populations. The Department’s accompanying long-term investment in data literacy is evidenced by their Formative Assessment/Data Team initiative which engages 11,000 teachers statewide to participate in grade-level or content-based data teams using formative assessment data to inform and improve instruction.

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Education approved the first iteration of HIDOE’s new accountability system, Strive HI, which shifted the system’s focus from 10th-grade proficiency to ensuring all students graduate ready to enter postsecondary institutions or the workforce. The accountability system extends beyond test scores to include broad measures, such as student growth, chronic absenteeism, college readiness and college-going. Results from the new accountability system showed increased college and career readiness from 2011 to 2015: 42 percent increase in the number of students taking Advanced Placement Exams; 74 percent increase in the number of students enrolling in Early College to earn University of Hawaii credits, and about one-third decrease of number of graduates needing remediation upon entering the University of Hawaii colleges.

Through its policy and program efforts, supported by a U.S. Department of Education Race to the Top grant, HIDOE developed a robust support system for its teachers and education leaders. One example is the statewide Induction and Mentoring Initiative, which pairs all first- and second-year teachers with an experienced mentor beginning their first day. This investment increased the five-year teacher retention rate, which rose over six years from 44 percent (2004 hires) to 52 percent (2010 hires). Additionally, HIDOE and the Hawaii State Teacher’s Association agreed to a progressive performance evaluation system based on evidence of both teachers’ practice and student learning and growth. To support school leaders, the Leadership Institute provides training programs with relevant and coherent curricula to the different leadership role groups, which better equips leaders to achieve success in their roles.

“This honor is a testament to the perseverance of our school leaders, teachers and community partners who supported the department in our effort to raise rigor and expectations for our students,” shared Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Thank you to Education Commission of the States for recognizing our hard work and the progress we made transforming public education for Hawaii’s students.”

Education Commission of the States will present Hawaii with the award at the 2017 National Forum on Education Policy, taking place June 28-30 in San Diego.

The Frank Newman Award for State Innovation recognizes a state for any of the following:

  • Education improvement efforts that are replicable and hold valuable lessons for other states.
  • Bold and courageous policies, including existing approaches with evidence of significant impact on student achievement in the state.

Policies or programs that have bipartisan, broad-based support.

These significant efforts to improve education honor the late Frank Newman. For more information about the award, click here.

Hu Honua Reaches Agreement with HELCO on Biomass Plant

Hu Honua announced today that it has reached an agreement with Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) on an amended power purchase agreement (PPA).

HELCO agreed to revised terms for electricity to be produced by the biomass project and is submitting the amended contract to the Public Utilities Commission for approval of Hu Honua’s proposed pricing.

Hu Honua can resume construction on its half-completed facility and begin delivering clean, firm renewable energy by the end of 2018, if the PUC approves the amended PPA. The project would deliver firm, renewable power around the clock, making it a natural complement to HELCO’s existing portfolio of solar and wind power, which are intermittent sources.

Harold “Rob” Robinson, president of Island BioEnergy, Hu Honua’s parent company noted, “It’s a big win for Hu Honua, Hawaii Electric Light and the people of Hawaii Island to have an amended agreement. We are hopeful the PUC will recognize the project’s value in terms of economic benefits and energy stability.”

The amended PPA submission to the PUC includes information on pricing, which is lower than the original PPA; how the project will be less expensive compared to existing fossil fuel plants; and how the project will provide firm renewable energy that can replace existing fossil fuel plants.

Approximately 200 construction jobs will be needed to complete plant reconstruction, which is expected to take 14-18 months. Nearly 30 permanent operations and maintenance jobs will be available, once the plant is operational.

Hu Honua will become the foundation for a sustainable agriculture industry, creating approximately 200 jobs in forestry, harvesting, hauling, and in the production of wood products.

The project is expected to put $20 million into the local economy each year that would otherwise leave the state to purchase foreign oil, while helping the state secure its energy future and meet its clean energy goal of 100 percent renewable by 2045.

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 clean renewable baseload 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 14 percent of Hawaii Island’s electricity needs and displace approximately 250,000 barrels of oil per year.

For more information, www.huhonua.com

Hawaii Department of Education Announces New Partnership with Tahiti Schools

The Hawaii State Department of Education brought together education leaders, teachers and students to celebrate the homecoming of Hōkūleʻa announce a newly signed agreement between the Department and Tahiti’s Ministry of Education that will carry on the mission of Mālama Honua.

Nainoa Thompson shared a message to educators about the importance of the “Promise to Children,” and the journey it took to get to the launch of the worldwide voyage. Photo Credit: Department of Education

After implementing nearly four years of lessons connected to the Worldwide Voyage of Hōkūleʻa, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will engage in a formalized partnership with Tahiti schools. Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi today made the announcement to education leaders, teachers and students who have incorporated Mālama Honua into their learning.

The shared agreement was established last month during a meeting that coincided with Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia’s arrival in Tahiti. Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson also attended the meeting.

“Tahiti and Hawai’i currently enjoy student exchanges through our respective network of schools,” said Superintendent Matayoshi. “Tahiti’s Education Minister and I signed a commitment to help facilitate these exchanges through a teacher exchange program; to share strategies and curriculum, and lastly start to develop a digital network of resource sharing between schools.”

Superintendent Matayoshi stressed that the work done by educators is the “Education Wa’a” of the Mālama Honua journey. She addressed educational leaders, teachers, and partners this morning at Chaminade University’s Clarence T.C. Ching Conference Center.

The program included a recap of highlights from Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia’s port visits to school projects that incorporated Mālama Honua such as school gardens, community clean ups, environmental research and revitalization and video projects.

King William Lunalilo Elementary Principal Amy Kantrowitz noted, “There has been a change in the mindset of our students, they are much more aware of their responsibility to care for our Island Earth, to care for our culture and each other. That’s what we’ve been instilling these past few years – it’s not just an activity, it’s a way of thinking.”

During the gathering, Thompson shared a message to educators about the importance of the “Promise to Children,” and the journey it took to get to the launch of the worldwide voyage.

“It must’ve been five years ago that I had a meeting with Superintendent Matayoshi, and we talked about an idea about sailing around connecting it to education – strengthening education,” shared Thompson. “I want to thank her for her vision and her trust. We would never have taken the risk of the voyage unless we knew it would be worth it.”

Thompson stated once Hōkūleʻa returns home, the mission will continue with a statewide sail to visit 100 schools.

The “Promise to Children” was established in November 2013 and signed by educational leaders and hundreds of individuals in support of the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s worldwide voyage and the mission of Mālama Honua. The agreement emphasized that lessons passed along to students will inspire them to explore, discover and learn about the Island Earth.

For more information about HIDOE’s integration of the Promise to Children and Mālama Honua into its schools and curriculum, click here.

Hawaii Students Compete in Underwater Robotics Competition

The Coast Guard hosted several students during the Marine Advanced Technology Education Oahu Regional Competition at Base Honolulu, Saturday.

Nine teams from local elementary, middle and high schools competed in an underwater robotics competition focused on the use of technologies used for ocean and space science and exploration.

Nine teams comprised of local elementary, middle and high school students participated in the Marine Advanced Technology Education Oahu Regional Competition at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, May 6, 2017. Students competed in an underwater robotics competition focused on the application of technologies used for ocean and space science and exploration. (U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 2nd Class Melissa E. McKenzie/Released)

“We always love to partner with the community because we know that we’re creating future scientists, engineers and Coasties,” said Capt. Edward Sheppard, commanding officer, Coast Guard Base Honolulu. “We can help instill science, technology, engineering and math. Many of these kids will go off to colleges here in Hawaii or also on the mainland and then we might even be their future employer so it’s fantastic to be here.”

The contest’s top winners will travel to Long Beach City College in Long Beach, Calif., to compete against the winning teams of other regional MATE international ROV competitions.

The MATE ROV competition challenges students to apply the physics, math, electronics, and engineering skills they are learning in the classroom to solving problems from the marine workplace. Mentors are expected to limit their input to educational and inspirational roles and encouraged to focus on the benefits of the learning process and not winning the competition.

The primary mission of the MATE Center is to provide the marine technical workforce with appropriately educated workers and to use marine technology to create interest in and improve STEM education.

Groups are divided into two teams determined by skill level. The Ranger class is an intermediate level of competition aimed at middle and high school teams featuring robots and missions more complex and technologically advanced.  All missions are performed without looking in the pool, relying only on the sensors and cameras mounted on the ROV. The Scout class is open to novice teams in elementary through high school and introduces projects enabling students to learn the fundamentals of ROV design and construction.

HDOT Cuts Energy Usage in Half at Hawaii, Maui, Oahu & Kauai Airports with Improved Lighting at Photovoltaic Systems

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) has entered the second phase of its Energy Savings Performance Contract with Johnson Controls (JCI) to provide high-efficiency lighting at 11 Hawaii airports and solar photovoltaic systems at Honolulu International Airport. The total guaranteed energy savings at Hawaii’s airports is more than $606 million over a 15-year period with the addition of Phase 2.

Phase 2 of the contract guarantees $65.5 million in energy savings through the replacement and retrofit of 47,747 existing florescent lamps to Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps, the application of high-end trim to 8,256 LED fixtures (which customizes the light level for an area in order to prevent using more energy than is necessary), and the installation of 15,683 photovoltaic roof-mounted panels including parking lot canopy systems at the Honolulu International Airport capable of producing 5.3 Megawatts of power. Phase 1 and Phase 2 will install a total of over 98,000 light fixtures and over 24,400 photovoltaic panels for a total of nearly 8 megawatts of energy savings and power generation.

“This initiative’s unprecedented energy and cost savings confirms that going green is good for our local economy. The cost-effective investments are cutting energy demand and increasing efficiency, which contributes to the reduction of the state’s dependence on fossil fuels. This is an important part of reaching our long-term energy sustainability goals,” said Gov. David Ige.

“Installing photovoltaic to help meet the energy needs at the state’s largest airport makes sense,” said Ford Fuchigami, Hawaii Department of Transportation Director. “We are continuing to transform our transportation infrastructure to advance the state’s sustainability and energy efficiency goals.”

This initiative aligns with Gov. Ige’s Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative sustainability goals and makes a significant contribution to energy efficiency and economic value by further reducing energy usage at state airports by nearly 63 million kilowatt hours per year over the 15-year performance period. That energy savings is equivalent to powering 9,264 homes a year. Over the life of the project the energy saved could power more than 175,000 homes.

Construction to implement Phase 2 is scheduled to take place over the next 24 months and is financed by realized energy savings, not taxpayer money. The construction will not impact flight schedules or operations.

JCI is also working on Energy Savings Performance Contracts to improve efficiency for the highways and harbors divisions within HDOT. The total amount of guaranteed savings for airports, highways and harbors divisions projects is more than $776 million over the life of the contracts.

Hawaii’s commitment to sustainability is evident in recognition by the Energy Services Coalition (ESC) that the Department of Transportation, Airports Division, performance contract for nearly $209.8 million, is the largest single state contract for energy performance in the nation. ESC is a national nonprofit organization of experts working together to increase energy efficiency and building upgrades through energy performance contracting.

The Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism estimates that over the life of the contract, which ends in 2034, the economic impacts will be $27.3 million in tax revenues (in 2016 dollars), $186.6 million in income to households (in 2016 dollars), and 867 jobs generated or supported each year during the first two years of construction in Phase I with 257 jobs supported each year during Phase II construction and installation and an average of 63 jobs generated or supported each year during the performance period.

In addition, the contract supports Hawaii’s commitment to the Performance Contracting Accelerator Program, part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative.

Performance contracting implements energy and water efficiency projects using guaranteed energy savings to pay for the projects. State and county agencies face increasing energy costs and the need to replace or upgrade aging, inefficient, and obsolete energy and water consuming equipment. Capital improvement and operating budgets have been unable to keep up with the needed upgrades for energy and water efficiency. Performance contracting allows agencies to fund some of these needs and to install energy efficiency retrofits in a timely manner. Performance contracting retrofits can take less than one year to up to three years to install. Therefore, energy savings occur sooner than later. Capital improvement projects can take from six to 10 years, resulting missed opportunities for annual energy savings.

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.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement on NSA Ending Warrantless Collection of Americans’ Emails

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), a member of the Fourth Amendment Caucus, issued the following statement in response to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) announcement to end its collection of Americans’ Internet communications that may include mentions of a foreign intelligence target. The announcement marks a break in years of NSA policy to collect email, texts, and other Internet communication that merely mention identifying terms for foreign targets, but are not to or from those targets, also known as “about” surveillance.

“For years, Americans have been kept in the dark about our government’s unconstitutional collection of their personal communications and data in the name of national security. This change in NSA policy is an important step in the right direction. In order to ensure we do not backtrack on this progress, I will be introducing legislation to permanently codify this policy change to permanently ban this privacy-invading collection.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has long advocated for reforms that address our government’s responsibility to protect civil liberties and ensure a strong national defense. She has actively sought reforms to Section 702, the Patriot Act, introduced legislation to strengthen and expand the functions of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), and is a founding member of the bipartisan Fourth Amendment Caucus focused on protecting the privacy and security of Americans in the digital

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.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Opposes Attack on Net Neutrality

In a speech on the House floor today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke out strongly against the FCC’s recent announcement of plans to unravel net neutrality:

“Yesterday, the new Trump-appointed FCC Chair announced his mission to undermine the net neutrality rules we fought so hard to put in place. In 2015, over 4 million people submitted comments, calling on the FCC to keep the internet open and fair.

“However, the FCC’s new Chairman, who used to work as counsel for Verizon, wants to turn the internet into a system of pay-to-play fast lanes for big money and those who can afford it, leaving everyone else behind in the slow lane.

“This hands the levers of access over to big ISPs at the expense of students, small businesses, entrepreneurs, independent content creators, and millions more.

“In today’s digital age, maintaining open and equal internet access is essential to breaking down barriers in education, media, expanding access to jobs and employment, driving innovation in healthcare, and so much more.

“We must stand strong in opposition to the FCC’s attack on fairness, equality, and net neutrality.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has strongly supported net neutrality, and has cosponsored legislation to prohibit multi-tiered pricing agreements between ISPs and content providers.

PACOM Commander Confirms North Korea’s Threat to Hawaii

In a House Armed Services Committee hearing today, Admiral Harry Harris, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), confirmed the threat of North Korea to Hawaiʻi and detailed potential vulnerabilities that exist within current U.S. missile defense capabilities that could put Hawaiʻi at risk.

Admiral Harry Harris

Asked by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard about the threat of North Korea to Hawaiʻi specifically, Admiral Harris stated, “Kim Jong-un is clearly in a position to threaten Hawai’i today…Our ballistic missile architecture is sufficient to protect Hawaiʻi today, but it can be overwhelmed. If Kim Jong-un or someone else launched ballistic missiles—ICBMs—against the United States, we would have to make the decision on which ones to take out or not.”

Following the hearing Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said:
“Hawaiʻi is home to the largest concentration of U.S. military strategic assets for well over 3,000 miles, making it a prime target for North Korea’s aggression. As I travelled across Hawai’i during my recent state-wide town hall tour, I heard from my constituents on every island their concern about the threat posed by North Korea’s increased nuclear and ballistic missile activity and capabilities that place Hawaiʻi squarely within North Korea’s crosshairs. It is the people of Hawaiʻi and our way of life that are at risk if North Korea’s missiles turn towards our shores. Admiral Harris’ testimony today affirmed the seriousness of this threat, and highlighted the need to strengthen our current missile defense infrastructure to ensure the defense of Hawai’i. I’m continuing this urgent push to strengthen the protection of Hawaiʻi against the threat that exists today, and the complex threat we know will emerge in the future. I urge my colleagues to take this threat seriously and provide the resources and tools necessary to defend Hawaiʻi against this threat.”

Background: Missile defense has been one of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s top priorities throughout her time in Congress. Last year, she passed two amendments in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—one to provide funding to begin the process of bringing an MRDR to Hawaiʻi, and the other to require the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to brief Congress on their short-term plan to enhance missile defense capabilities in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific—and also questioned then SECDEF Carter and Chairman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff about the need to increase Hawaiʻi’s missile defense. She has had ongoing conversations and meetings with the Missile Defense Agency Director, Vice Admiral James Syring, to discuss possible options for the defense of Hawaiʻi, to deal with short term and long term needs. This includes quickly deployable options that are available to further strengthen the existing defensive assets within the state.

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

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

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

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

Renewable energy

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

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

The companies’ forecasts for future milestones include:

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

Oil consumption down 21%

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

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

Electric vehicle use accelerates

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

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

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

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

Hawaii Nurses Can Renew Licenses Online Now

The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), Professional and Vocational Licensing Division (PVL) and the Board of Nursing encourages the more than 32,000 Hawaii licensed nurses which include registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN), and advanced practice registered nurse recognition (APRN) licensees to renew their licenses online at MyPVL (https://pvl.ehawaii.gov/mypvl).

Renewals are being accepted online from April 17, 2017 until midnight on June 30, 2017.  To better ensure receipt of the license pocket ID card by the license expiration date, it is recommended that renewals be submitted before May 31, 2017.  Renewals received or postmarked after June 30, 2017 will be subject to a late renewal fee.

MyPVL service enables 24/7 access to information and services from a single dashboard for all PVL licensees. It was created through a partnership with PVL and the state’s internet portal manager, Hawaii Information Consortium, LLC. The service is one of many online services for citizens and businesses offered through the state’s official website, eHawaii.gov.

Navy Suspends Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) on Ships, Subs, Aircraft

Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) and Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) released a joint message April 14, that suspends the use, possession, storage and charging of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) aboard ships, submarines, aircraft, boats, craft and heavy equipment.


NORFOLK (April 11, 2017) The use, possession, storage, and charging of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and all associated ENDS components is temporarily prohibited aboard Fleet Forces and Pacific Fleet ships, submarines, aircraft, boats, craft and heavy machinery pending completion of further analysis. The temporary prohibition is effective May 14, 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary A. Prill/Released)

The prohibition applies to Sailors, Marines, Military Sealift Command civilians and any personnel working on or visiting those units.

The Fleet commanders implemented this policy to protect the safety and welfare of Sailors and to protect the ships, submarines, aircraft and equipment.

The prohibition will be effective 30 days from the release of the policy May 14, and will remain in effect until a final determination can be made following a thorough analysis.

This new policy is in response to continued reports of explosions of ENDS due to the overheating of lithium-ion batteries. Multiple Sailors have suffered serious injuries from these devices, to include first- and second-degree burns and facial disfigurement. In these cases, injuries resulted from battery explosions during ENDS use, charging, replacement or inadvertent contact with a metal object while transporting.

Deployed units may request extensions on device removal until their next port visit. Supervisors should ensure that removable lithium-ion batteries are removed from the units and stored according to the ENDS manufacturer instructions, in plastic wrap, in a plastic bag or any other non-conductive storage container.

Sailors on shore will still be allowed to use ENDS on base, but must do so in designated smoking areas ashore while on military installations.

Sailors are encouraged to use available tobacco cessation resources and programs offered through Navy medical services and Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (NADAP) programs.

Industry-Led Coalition Launched to Prepare Next Generation of Hawaii Workforce

The Hawaii State Department of Education announced its Connect to Careers (C2C) coalition today alongside business and education partners. The initiative is designed to collaboratively prepare students for success in high-skill, in-demand career pathways.

Legislators and business and education leaders came together to launch the C2C coalition. Photo Credit: Department of Education

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced its Connect to Careers (C2C) coalition today alongside business and education partners including the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) and the Hawaii Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Fund. The initiative is designed to collaboratively prepare students for success in high-skill, in-demand career pathways.

“Preparing students to be ready for life after high school is an evolving target, and it is important that professionals from various industries and trades are involved to ensure we are providing the right skill sets and aptitudes in our schools,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are thrilled to launch C2C and grow Hawaii’s future workforce and economy, and thank our partners for supporting and investing in our students.”

The effort has three pillars:

  1. Business-led: Industry identifies needed entry-level skill sets and employability qualities, and collaborates on degrees and certifications that prepare students for these opportunities.
  2. Aligned curriculum and opportunities: The K-12 and post-secondary educational systems coordinate relevant and rigorous learning pathways that answer these needs.
  3. Tracking effectiveness: Industry identifies needed entry-level skill sets and employability qualities, and collaborates on degrees and certifications that prepare students for these opportunities.

“When we have a strong workforce, it creates a healthy economy,” stated Linda Chu Takayama, DLIR director.  “By educating our middle and high school students about the practical application of their skills after they graduate, our kids not only have a shot at employment but also we put them on a path for their future careers.”

The announcement took place in Kapolei at the Hawaii Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Fund site.

“For our local construction industry, this is a valuable partnership,” said Edmund Aczon, executive director, Hawaii Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Fund. “Currently we have programs underway at Kahuku, Waianae and McKinley high schools. In addition to aligned curriculum, we have teacher support and coursework at community colleges.”

The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and the University of Hawaii are leading industry partners.

“During our sessions we are able to determine what career pathways are needed most and discuss the changes that are taking place in our industry sectors,” stated Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and chief executive officer, Chamber Commerce of Hawaii. “C2C is transformative work that we believe will put students on a path towards success and result in an innovative workforce.”

For more information about C2C, visit http://bit.ly/Connect2Careers.

Ongoing Partner Investment

The C2C coalition building and planning was first facilitated through the New Skills for Youth grant that was competitively awarded to HIDOE in 2016 from JPMorgan Chase in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers and Advance CTE. Hawaii was among 24 states and the District of Columbia to receive the New Skills for Youth grant.

C2C industry partner Harold K. Castle Foundation recently approved up to $200,000 to be spent towards Career and Technical Education within C2C to improve, enhance and expand career academies. The following six schools were awarded funds for the following initiatives:

  • Waipahu High School: $30,000 to expand quality and rigor to three more high school academies so that all five meet National Standards of Practice and achieve National Certification as model academies.
  • Farrington High School: $29,600 for the Health Academy to meet National Standards of Practice and achieve National Certification as a model academy.
  • Kapaa High School: $29,100 to create the Natural Resource Academy.
  • Kapolei High School: $20,550 to improve overall governance, student voice and staff capacity as a wall-to-wall academy school that offers eight career academies.
  • Waimea High School: $28,513 to expand the Engineering Academy and create the Natural Resource academy.
  • Pearl City High School: $30,000 to help the school transition to wall-to-wall academies in school year 2018-19 as well as to improve the rigor of the existing SALT Academy.

In total, $167,763 was awarded directly to selected high schools. The Castle Foundation  also budgeted $12,500 for a mid-point gathering in October 2018 and $19,500 for the National Career Academy Coalition to conduct a Baseline Analysis in each participating high school at the end of the grant period as way to gauge progress and impact.

“We understand the benefit of investing in areas that connect our students to career opportunities and these schools are committed to developing educational pathways for students,” shared Alex Harris, senior program officer for education, Harold K. Castle Foundation. “We congratulate all of the schools and look forward to seeing the progress of the career academies.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Climate Change Research at UH Hilo: Monitoring the Coasts for Signs of Erosion

Climate change is affecting more than just plants and animals—it is changing coasts and sea levels. Researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo are monitoring these changes and the impact on local communities by gathering data that will help officials make sound predictions about, and decisions for, the future.

Graduate student and researcher Rose Hart holds an unmanned aerial vehicle used to survey coastal areas.

Rose Hart, a first-year graduate student in the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program at UH Hilo, has teamed up with faculty member Ryan Perroy, an assistant professor of geography and environmental science at UH Hilo, to begin monitoring shorelines using an exciting and innovative technique.

The researchers are using small unmanned aerial vehicles to capture images of coastal areas across hundreds of acres. The images are used to create 3D data sets to observe past and present changes. A variety of coastal environments are being used for the study including sea cliffs (honoliʻi), low-lying and subsiding coastal lava fields (kapoho) and calcareous beaches (hapuna).

The project has a number of aspects and goals—one is to determine from a historical point of view how these coasts and regions have changed over time to present day. Another aspect is more short term, meaning that data collection occurs every couple of months to every few weeks to see how the coasts are currently changing.

The overall goal is to try to make accurate predictions on how the rise in sea level will affect the coast and what that entails for communities and the county in regard to planning. For example, setback regulations from the coastline may need to be adjusted. How the community will respond to the rising sea level is an important factor to consider especially in the long-term sense things will be dramatically different in the next 50 to 100 years.

For more on Hart and Perroy and their research, read the full article at UH Hilo Stories.

Hawaii State Launches New Geospatial Data Portal

The state Office of Planning’s Hawaii Statewide Geographic Information System (GIS) Program launched a new Geospatial Data Portal (geoportal.hawaii.gov), which provides streamlined access to hundreds of data layers, topographic maps, imagery, and developer features.

“The new data portal provides increased functionality, and a section highlighting maps and apps that leverage the GIS program’s data and services,” said GIS Program Manager Arthur Buto. “One of the first apps that we’re featuring is the Affordable Housing and Homelessness Story Map created by the Governor’s office.”

The portal includes support for non-geospatial data files; an overall cleaner look and feel; optimized layout of data attributes and tables; application program interface (API) tools for developers to create filtered data set URLs for apps development; and other improvements that facilitate site and content management. Users will also find additional data sets (now totaling more than 300 data layers), imagery and historical maps available for general use.

The launch follows a major upgrade completed in May 2016 through a collaboration between the Office of Planning and the Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) to enable technological advances in server-based GIS and cloud services, as well as improve data sharing, accessibility and cost-effectiveness. The upgrade reduced the need for redundant databases, standardized the information being analyzed by decision makers, and served as a means of collecting and distributing the most up-to-date authoritative GIS data.

The Offices’ collaborative efforts also resulted in an enterprise license agreement that encourages widespread GIS software use across all State of Hawaii departments and achieves savings, leveraging current cloud technologies. This agreement, along with a strong working relationship with Esri (the leading GIS software provider), offers lower unit cost of software; fixed predictable overall costs over the life of the agreement; flexibility to deploy Esri software products when and where needed; offer of GIS to agencies that otherwise could not afford GIS; and continuous support of the geospatial data and mapping requirements driven by agency and administration initiatives.

Authorized under Chapter 225M-2(b)(4)(B), Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), as amended, the Hawaii Statewide GIS Program within the Office of Planning leads a multi-agency effort to establish, promote and coordinate the use of GIS data and technology among Hawaii state agencies. The program is critical to more than 150 state GIS data and system users across a dozen state departments that develop and maintain a wide variety of data, maps and applications — many of which are available to the public and/or relied upon by state personnel.