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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, Saturday, July 22 at 7:45 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a maximum height of 70 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the South Southwest part of the sky and disappear 11 degrees above the South Northeast part of the sky.

You can view a livestream from the space station here: https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

State of Hawai‘i Partners with SANS Institute to Help Students Test Cyber Aptitude

Participants serve as ‘Cyber Protection Agents’ in free online simulation

Gov. David Y. Ige today announced a partnership between the State of Hawai‘i and SANS Institute to offer high school and college students the opportunity this summer to participate in a free online cybersecurity assessment and exercise called CyberStart.

In coordination with the Hawaii Departments of Education and Defense, University of Hawaii, and the Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS), SANS Institute is encouraging students to participate in the CyberStart program, which involves a game simulation through which students interested in cybersecurity as a career can learn basic cybersecurity skills and test their cyber aptitude. An introductory “practice” version of CyberStart is available through July 28, 2017. The full-scale program will run from Aug. 1 to 28, 2017.

“CyberStart is an innovative opportunity for Hawaii students to test and develop skills applicable to careers in high-demand IT security and related fields,” Gov. Ige said. “There is clearly high interest in cybersecurity among Hawaii youth, as demonstrated by strong participation in existing programs coordinated by the Department of Education, University of Hawai‘i, and organizations such as Cyber Hui. Exploration of this exciting career path can now continue with CyberStart.”

Students don’t have to travel to participate; all they need is an Internet-connected computer and a desire to explore. Each player starts as a “cyber protection agent” responsible for protecting a hypothetical operational base. The student chooses and solves challenges, earning points along the way. An agent field manual provides answers to questions that may arise and helpful hints when players get stuck. When the player has solved a sufficient number of challenges at one level, a new level opens and new challenges appear – for a total of 31 layers. Experienced players have cited CyberStart as being particularly useful to a wide variety of students because everyone can excel, not just a few superstars.

Students who excel in the CyberStart game will have the opportunity to share in $150,000 in scholarships for further cyber education, and ultimately for $500,000 in scholarships for college and graduate-level training in preparation for highly sought-after industry certifications.

“It’s exciting to see our youth being given the opportunity to excel in cybersecurity with the CyberStart program,” said Reynold Hioki, state cybersecurity coordinator within the Hawai‘i Department of Defense, whose protective mission extends to law enforcement agencies and public sector partners providing critical infrastructure and services to the Hawaii community. “Hawai‘i is taking advantage of CyberStart and other related youth programs like CyberPatriot, CyberCamps, GenCyber, Safe and Secure Online, and Hacker High school that directly contribute to increasing the state’s cybersecurity posture.”

ETS Chief Information Security Officer Vincent Hoang, who is responsible for securing state government information resources and infrastructure, said: “These types of programs provide a fun and interactive environment where students are exposed to challenges of varying difficulty and are approachable at any experience level. This is a great opportunity for students to level up their cybersecurity skills.”

SANS Director of Research Alan Paller added: “SANS trains more than 30,000 advanced cybersecurity professionals each year for military and intelligence organizations and for large high-tech companies in the U.S. and its allies. We discovered that those who have mastered the topics taught and measured in the CyberStart program do far better than others in the advanced cybersecurity courses that prepare the critically needed people. By opening CyberStart to hundreds of thousands of students we may be able to help the nation identify the next generation of talented people who will excel in this critical field.”

To join the program, participants must be 16 years or older and enrolled in any high school or college in Hawai‘i, Delaware, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Rhode Island, or Virginia. For more information, visit: www.sans.org/cyberstartUS

PISCES and Honeybee Robotics Receive $119K Grant From NASA

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) and Honeybee Robotics, Ltd. have received a $118,690 NASA Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to jointly develop an In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) technology that could launch the future of space settlement.

ISRU takes raw, natively sourced materials and converts them into usable resources. On places like the Moon and Mars, ISRU can transform regolith (or surface soil) into critical necessities like oxygen, water, rocket fuel and construction materials.PISCES and Honeybee Robotics have partnered on the 12-month ISRU project to design and develop an automated construction process that creates building blocks made entirely of sintered Hawaiian basalt. Since Hawaii’s basalt closely resembles Martian and lunar regolith in chemical composition and appearance, the blocks will have applications both on Earth and in space. ISRU basalt materials could enable the construction of habitats, tools, shelters, roads, landing pads and other critical infrastructure required for space settlement. Basalt building blocks could also provide a sustainable new construction material for the State of Hawaii in place of imported cement.

Through the STTR grant, PISCES is currently investigating the ideal sintering temperature to create these building blocks with an optimal balance of strength and volume. Honeybee Robotics is designing a robotic process for creating and/or deploying the blocks to automate the ISRU construction process. The Brooklyn-based company designs, builds and integrates technologies for a range of challenging environments including space exploration. It has contributed sample acquisition and processing tools for NASA rovers currently exploring Mars.

“We are excited to be working with Honeybee Robotics again on this NASA STTR project,” said PISCES Program Manager, Rodrigo Romo. “Honeybee was a key partner in our robotically built launch and landing pad that we constructed using only local basalt materials. This grant award will take the process a step further, allowing us to optimize the building block design and construction materials to allow for both vertical and horizontal construction applications that can be used both on Earth and on other celestial bodies for space settlement.”

A Honeybee Rover

“Hawaiian basalt is a great analog to the challenging environments we are likely to find on Mars or the Moon, where autonomous ISRU systems will need to work reliably and autonomously in tough conditions,” said Kris Zacny, vice president of the Exploration Technology Group at Honeybee Robotics. “Using local resources will be critical to enable new mission architectures by harvesting materials from the planet as needed. Also, approaches we develop for ISRU can also have applications in space mining, opening doors for both exploration and commercial missions. That’s why we’re so excited to be working with PISCES to advance our experience and robotic technologies.”

The STTR-funded project is Phase I in the development for planetary building blocks. If successful, PISCES and Honeybee Robotics will solicit a proposal for a Phase II STTR award which provides funding awards up to $1 million over two years.

The joint PISCES-Honeybee Robotics project was selected among 1,621 proposals submitted to NASA’s 2017 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and STTR programs. Of those, NASA selected 61 STTR Phase I proposals to negotiate contracts for funding. NASA’s STTR Program funds businesses and research institutions developing technologies that can support the space agency’s missions into deep space.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among the participants in planning were the state Consumer Advocate; County of Hawaii; County of Maui; Ulupono Initiative; Blue Planet Foundation; Hawaii Gas; Paniolo Power on Hawaii Island and the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

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

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

The companies exceeded the state’s 2015 renewable energy target and forecast they will exceed the state’s renewable energy milestones in 2020, 2030 and 2040 by attaining a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) of:

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

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

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

The plan includes continued growth of private rooftop solar and describes the work to expand and upgrade grid infrastructure and to use the newest generations of inverters, control systems and energy storage to help reliably integrate an estimated total of 165,000 private systems by 2030, more than twice today’s total of 79,000.

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

University of Hawaii Research Uses Satellites to Predict End of Volcanic Eruptions

Researchers from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) recently discovered that infrared satellite data could be used to predict when lava flow-forming eruptions will end.

Map of 34 volcanoes used to test hypothesis. Modified from Google Maps.

Using NASA satellite data, Estelle Bonny, a graduate student in the SOEST Department of Geology and Geophysics, and her mentor, Hawai‘i Institute for Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) researcher Robert Wright, tested a hypothesis first published in 1981 that detailed how lava flow rate changes during a typical effusive volcanic eruption. The model predicted that once a lava flow-forming eruption begins, the rate at which lava exits the vent quickly rises to a peak and then reduces to zero over a much longer period of time—when the rate reaches zero, the eruption has ended.

HIGP faculty developed a system that uses infrared measurements made by NASA’s MODIS sensors to detect and measure the heat emissions from erupting volcanoes—heat is used to retrieve the rate of lava flow.

Mt. Etna from space. Credit: NASA & US/Japan ASTER Science Team.

“The system has been monitoring every square kilometer of Earth’s surface up to four times per day, every day, since 2000,” said Bonny. “During that time, we have detected eruptions at more than 100 different volcanoes around the globe. The database for this project contains 104 lava flow-forming eruptions from 34 volcanoes with which we could test this hypothesis.”

Once peak flow was reached, the researchers determined where the volcano was along the predicted curve of decreasing flow and therefore predict when the eruption will end. While the model has been around for decades, this is the first time satellite data was used with it to test how useful this approach is for predicting the end of an effusive eruption. The test was successful.

Erupting Piton de la Fournaise volcano. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey.

“Being able to predict the end of a lava flow-forming eruption is really important, because it will greatly reduce the disturbance caused to those affected by the eruption, for example, those who live close to the volcano and have been evacuated,” said Bonny.

“This study is potentially relevant for the Hawai’i island and its active volcanoes,” said Wright. “A future eruption of Mauna Loa may be expected to display the kind of pattern of lava discharge rate that would allow us to use this method to try to predict the end of eruption from space.”

In the future, the researchers plan to use this approach during an ongoing eruption as a near-real time predictive tool.

Cincinnati Bell Will Take Over Hawaiian Telcom for $650 Million

Hawai‘i’s leading fiber-based integrated communications provider, and Cincinnati Bell, a leading fiber and IT services and solutions business, today announced that their boards of directors approved a definitive agreement under which the companies will combine in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $650 million, including the assumption of net debt.

Under the agreement, Hawaiian Telcom stockholders will have the option to elect either $30.75 in cash, 1.6305 shares of Cincinnati Bell common stock, or a mix of $18.45 in cash and 0.6522 shares of Cincinnati Bell common stock for each share of Hawaiian Telcom, subject to proration such that the aggregate consideration to be paid to Hawaiian Telcom stockholders will be 60 percent cash and 40 percent Cincinnati Bell common

stock. This consideration represents a 26 percent premium to Hawaiian Telcom’s closing price of $24.44 on July 7, 2017, 24 percent premium to the volume-weighted average price of the last 20 calendar days of $24.86, and 31 percent premium to the volume-weighted average price of the last 12 months of $23.55. Upon the closing of the transaction, Hawaiian Telcom stockholders will own approximately 15 percent and Cincinnati Bell stockholders will own approximately 85 percent of the combined company.

Read full details of the merger here: http://www.hawaiiantel.com/Portals/15/News%20PDFs/20170710_Hawaiian%20Telcom%20Enters%20into%20Definitive%20Agreement%20to%20Merge%20with%20Cincinnati%20Bell.pdf

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), lead Democrat on the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, released the following statement on the proposed merger between Hawaiian Telcom and Cincinnati Bell.

“Hawaiian Telcom has been an engaged corporate citizen in Hawai‘i for generations. The hundreds of jobs it provides and the services it offers are vital to Hawai‘i’s local economy. As the lead Democrat on the Commerce Committee’s telecommunications subcommittee, I will carefully review the proposed merger and closely monitor its potential impact on local jobs as well as the telecommunications services it provides for Hawai‘i consumers.”

Transpac Update: First Multi-Hull Boats Expected to Cross the Diamond Head Finish Line Tomorrow

The Diamond Head buoy will welcome the first finishers of the 2017 biennial Transpac sailing race tomorrow after a 2,225-mile trek across the Pacific Ocean from Pt. Fermin in Long Beach, California to Oahu. (These are NOT the Winners of Transpac, these very fast multi-hulls are in a separate division/class competing against eachother only.)

In a class of their own, the Multi-hulls, including Mighty Merloe, Phaedo3 and Maserati are all in contention for a new Transpac Multihull Record. The current Transpac Multihull Race Record, set 20 years ago by Skipper Bruno Peyron aboard “Explorer”, in a time of 5:09:18:26, is currently the Transpac Fastest Multihull Elapsed Time Record.

It is currently projected that “Mighty Merloe”, leading the fleet of Multihulls, may finish first in the fleet tomorrow afternoon, but as wind-speed conditions can change dramatically, they could be in sooner or later.. If they break the current record it could be by more than one full day, to become the fastest multi-hull to have ever competed in a Transpac race.

This year’s race attracted a strong turnout of new racers, including Ken Read with his 100-footer Comanche, who yesterday set a new monohull 24-hour 0800-0800 distance record of 484 miles, an average of 20.2 knots, and is seeking to break the overall monohull race record of 5 days 14 hours 18 min 20 sec set in 2009 on Neville Crichton’s 90-foot Alfa Romeo 2. To do this Comanche must average 16.7 knots or better over the entire 2225-mile course.

The Barn Door trophy in Transpac goes to the first monohull boat to cross the Diamond Head Finish Line, there are several boats in contention for this prestigious honor.

There are many Hawaii connections among the racers, including James McDowell and his yacht Grand Illusion from the Waikiki Yacht Club, the 2015 Transpac Overall winner and a three-peat winner of this race; Pyewacket, skippered by Roy Pat Disney Jr., is also sailing under the Waikiki Yacht Club flag; Aszhou and her crew, half of which are locals from the islands; and Merlin, skippered by noted sailor and yacht designer Bill Lee (who designed and also built Merlin), has Maui-native Keahi Ho on crew.

For more information on how to track the race visit:  https://yb.tl/transpac2017 or to get involved, attend the functions surrounding the race such as all the parties and events, please visit the Transpac website at 2017.transpacyc.com.

Contact PR Chair Janet M. Scheffer at 808-521-1160/285-7712 for any inquiries.

Transpac Fully Underway – Many Hawaii Connections Tied to Today’s Start

The 2017 biennial Transpac sailing race from California to Hawaii is now fully underway. The final three divisions with the fastest and biggest boats, including two 100-footers among them and a fleet of five multihulls, crossed the starting line this afternoon with hopes of breaking records in the 2,225-mile journey from Point Fermin on the Los Angeles coast to Diamond Head on Oahu.


There are many Hawaii connections among the racers that started today, including James McDowell and his yacht Grand Illusion from the Waikiki Yacht Club, the 2015 Transpac overall winner and a three-peat winner of this race; Pyewacket, skippered by Roy Pat Disney Jr., is also sailing under the Waikiki Yacht Club flag; Aszhou and her crew, half of which are locals from the islands; and Merlin, skippered by noted sailor and yacht designer Bill Lee (who designed and also built Merlin), has Maui-native Keahi Ho on crew.

In 1977, Merlin set an elapsed time record of 8 days 11 hours 1 min. This record would stand for 20 years until it was broken in the 1997 race by Pyewacket, a Santa Cruz 70 ultralight also designed by Bill Lee, with an elapsed time record of 7 days 11 hours 41 minutes 27 seconds. The record fell once again in 2005, with Hasso Plattner’s Morning Glory, a maxZ86 from Germany. Morning Glory was the scratch boat when it led a five-boat assault on the record for monohulls. She finished the race in 6 days 16 hours 4 minutes 11 seconds to win the “Barn Door” trophy, a slab of carved koa wood traditionally awarded to the monohull with the fastest elapsed time.

In a class of their own, Phaedo3, Mighty Merloe, Maserati and others are all going for a course record. If the record should fall, one of these boats will cross the Diamond Head buoy at the lighthouse this coming Monday, July 10, arriving in Hawaii in under 4 days. The current unofficial course record set my Phaedo3 this past May is 3 days 16 hours 52 min 3 sec.

The other divisions of smaller boats set out on Monday and Wednesday. For more information on how to get involved, attend the functions surrounding the race and/or to track the race live (four-hour delay), visit the Transpac website at www.2017.transpacyc.com. Contact PR Chair Janet M. Scheffer at 808-521-1160 for any inquiries.

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

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

Click to view

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

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

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

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

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

Highlights of this near-term work include:

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

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

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

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

Hawaii Department of Education Opens Second Data Center

After seven years of progress towards upgrading its technology infrastructure, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) opened its second data center at Hoʻokele Elementary School earlier this month.  This marks an important milestone in HIDOE’s Converge Infrastructure initiative, which is focused on consolidating the information technology (IT) equipment and services in order to streamline management and support statewide.

The Hookele data center acts as a backup in case the primary fails and will eventually house disaster recovery services for HIDOE’s critical applications and systems.
Photo Credit: Department of Education

“Prior to the opening of these data centers, our IT equipment and services were scattered throughout various locations making management and recovery efforts difficult,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Thanks to the work done through this initiative and legislative support, we have consolidated and enhanced our resources to meet the increasing connectivity demands in our schools.”

Planning for the initiative started in 2010 with the department’s offices of Information Technology Services and School Facilities and Support Services. In Spring 2015, the first data center opened at the former Queen Liliʻuokalani Elementary School in Kaimukī, which now houses department facilities and technology offices. The center is the primary production site with the new center at Hoʻokele serving as the back up and recovery site.

“During the planning process we put a lot of effort into the design of these centers. We incorporated energy efficient strategies and leveraged software that will provide additional flexibility for our systems that will allow us to adjust based on varying demand through the year,” added Clyde Sonobe, assistant superintendent and chief information officer.

The Hoʻokele center will eventually house disaster recovery services for HIDOE’s critical applications and systems.

Earlier this year, HIDOE was recognized as the top ranked school district in K-12 broadband connectivity according to the 2016 State of the States annual report released by Education Superhighway, an advocacy group dedicated to upgrading Internet infrastructure in K-12 public schools. For more information about this award, click here.

Hawaii Electric Light Explains Brief Power Interruption – About 21,000 Experienced Brief Loss of Power

Hawaii Electric Light reports that about 21,000 customers in various areas of the island experienced a brief power interruption this afternoon due to a sudden loss of generation when a combustion turbine unit (CT5) at its Keahole Power Plant tripped offline.

Protective devices automatically disconnected some customers temporarily to rebalance the available supply of power generation with the demand for power, stabilizing the grid and maintaining service for the majority of customers. Those affected experienced a temporary power interruption lasting about 10 minutes while backup generators were started.

The unit has since returned to service. Customers who remain without service may call 969-6666. Hawaii Electric Light also posts outage information on its Twitter account @HIElectricLight with the hashtag #BigIslandOutage.

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

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

Groundbreaking at the Lālāmilo Windfarm project a few years ago.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hawaii Governor Signs Heat Abatement Bill to Expedite Cooling Public School Classrooms

Gov. David Ige signed HB 957 (Act 57) – authorizing the Department of Education to borrow money, interest-free, from the Hawai‘i Green Infrastructure Loan Program for heat abatement measures in Hawai‘i’s public school classrooms.

This will expedite the cooling of classrooms across the state while decreasing energy usage and electricity costs.

“I ordered the cooling of 1,000 public school classrooms about a year and a half ago. The state and the DOE have worked very hard to achieve this goal. Although the process hasn’t always been easy and it has taken more time than we would have liked, I am happy to say that we expect to have 1,000 classrooms cooled off by the end of August,” said Gov. David Ige.

The DOE is expecting significant decreases in energy use and electricity costs. The use of LED indoor lighting in public school classrooms is expected to result in a $4 million drop in energy costs annually. Such reductions in energy consumption and the lowering of the kilowatt load may enable the installation of AC units in classrooms without expensive and time consuming electrical upgrades.

The governor’s Cool the Schools initiative and the DOE’s Heat Abatement program have resulted in:

  • The installation of 456 classroom air conditioning units
  • The installation of 201 photovoltaic AC units
  • The distribution of 402 portable AC units to the hottest classrooms across the state
  • Ordering of 1,062 AC units

In addition, 461 portable classrooms have been covered with heat reflective material; trees have been planted to shade buildings and minimize heat; awnings have been installed on at least four buildings; ceiling fans have been installed in 139 classrooms; and large diameter fans are being installed in cafeteria dining rooms.

“A big mahalo to our state legislators for their support of our efforts to cool the schools. Thank you also to the DOE for its hard work and for helping us to achieve our goal of creating a learning environment in which our students and teachers can thrive,” Ige said.

Hawai‘i Community College – Pālamanui Earns LEED Platinum Status for Sustainable Campus Design

The Hawai‘i Community College – Pālamanui (Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui) campus has earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, the highest rating possible in the sustainable building program.

Photos by Andrew Richard Hara

“Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui is committed to being a community leader in West Hawai‘i in the areas of science, culture and conservation,” said Director of Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui Dr. Marty Fletcher. “By designing a campus to achieve the highest possible rating in the LEED sustainable building program we are demonstrating our commitment to those principles.”

University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner said, “Congratulations and thanks to our entire team for certifying another LEED Platinum building at UH. The University of Hawaiʻi stands firmly committed to addressing the challenges of climate change and achieving our sustainability goals across our operations, education, scholarship, cultural connections and community engagement.”

Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui is the West Hawai‘i campus of Hawai‘i Community College with over 500 students enrolled during the past academic year in programs such as Liberal Arts, Digital Media Arts, Hospitality and Tourism, and more. The first phase of Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui was completed in August 2015 and includes 24,000 square feet of learning space comprised of classrooms, culinary arts kitchens, science labs and more.

The campus earned the LEED Platinum rating by incorporating numerous sustainable design elements in the facility. This includes on-site photovoltaics for electricity; efficient use of water, including a “living machine” natural wastewater recycling system; certified sustainable wood; low-emitting paints and adhesives; and much more.

The campus was designed by Honolulu-based architecture firm Urban Works. In 2016 the design won a Renaissance Building & Remodeling Grand Award for new commercial construction from the Building Industry Association of Hawai‘i.

This is the second Hawai‘i CC building to earn a LEED rating. Hale Aloha on the Manono campus in Hilo earned a LEED Gold rating for a renovation project that incorporated many sustainable design features such as a green roof and use of recycled materials.

Students interested in enrolling at Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui for the fall 2017 semester can visit hawaii.hawaii.edu/palamanui or call 969-8816. The deadline to apply is August 1.

Grid-Scale Vanadium Flow Energy Storage System to be Installed at NELHA

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority (NELHA), Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO), Ulupono Initiative and UniEnergy Technologies (UET) announced today their intent to install a 100kW/500kWh advanced vanadium energy storage system later this year at the Hawai‘i Ocean Science and Technology Park (HOST Park) administered by NELHA.

UET’s modular ReFlexTM energy storage system (ESS) is planned to be in operation at the NELHA Gateway Center early next year. The ESS utilizes advanced vanadium flow battery technology and was developed by DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Vanadium flow batteries have a longer life cycle than common lead acid or lithium-ion batteries. With regular maintenance, they can last more than 20 years and operate in very warm weather without much need for cooling to optimize performance.

“This effort builds upon the various initiatives by the County of Hawaii, Hawaii Electric Light Company, U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity, Sandia National Laboratories and NELHA to partner, share resources, and attract companies interested in testing and evaluating energy storage systems on the Island of Hawaii,” said Gregory Barbour, NELHA Executive Director. “NELHA is very grateful to Dr. Imre Gyuk, Director of the U.S. DOE energy storage program, for his very strong support and guidance to formulate this project.”

“Long duration flow batteries are particularly suitable for island systems to serve as a buffer between the load, variable renewable generation, and expensive fossil fuel generation, allowing for more effective asset utilization”, said Dr. Gyuk.

In 2017, more than 56 percent of the electricity generated on Hawaii Island comes from renewable resources like solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal. Integrating increasing amounts of renewable energy to an island grid is challenging.

“Electricity from renewable resources is produced when the resource is available and not necessarily when it’s needed. To maintain grid stability and prevent an oversupply situation, it’s critical that we have the tools to control and balance the energy supply with customer demand,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president. “Energy storage is one of several solutions we’re considering. This partnership allows us to test a variety of applications for current and future renewable energy interconnections while maintaining high standards of safety and reliability.”

“The UET advanced vanadium ESS can provide many benefits such as improved grid stability through frequency, voltage and reactive power control as well as dispatch capability of distributed renewable energy,” said Gary Yang, UET CEO. “This battery technology is long-lasting, safe, recyclable, and cost effective.”

The ESS installation is funded in part by Ulupono Initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity, and Hawaii Electric Light. NELHA is providing the land and will connect the ESS to its data acquisition system.

“Ulupono is pleased to participate in this project,” said Kyle Datta, Ulupono Initiative’s general partner. “Installing adequate grid-scale storage is an important step in furthering Hawaii’s energy resiliency and increasing the amount of highly variable solar energy that can be integrated into the Hawaii island grid.”

Sandia National Laboratories will provide technical consulting and conduct research to analyze how a flow battery performs in an island climate and on an island grid. “The more installations we have of various energy storage technologies, the more we learn and disseminate,” said Dan Borneo, Sandia National Laboratories’ ESS demonstration program lead. “This will help the energy storage industry proliferate.”

Hawaii Department of Education Makes Progress with Energy Efficient Strategies for Cooling Schools

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) has been working to fast track heat-relief initiatives through its Heat Abatement Program. During the last three years, schools across the state were evaluated for various cooling options including air conditioning (AC), ceiling fans, nighttime heat flushing fans, solar light, trees, heat reflective paint, and more.

Phase II of the Heat Abatement program is already underway with an emphasis on implementing passive cooling projects. Photo Credit: Department of Education

“The department has made every effort to find solutions to cooling our classrooms in ways that are not only cost-efficient but also energy efficient,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Our Heat Abatement program includes long-term plans for our schools as well as addressing the high-priority classrooms quickly. We want to thank the legislature for funding this effort to accomplish this goal.”

The Department has made significant upgrades to lower temperatures in many of the classrooms at Campbell High including an awning installation over O Building’s courtyard. Photo Credit: MK Think

In 2016, Governor David Ige signed Act 47, which appropriated $100 million to fund equipment and installation costs for AC and other cooling measures. Progress from the department’s Heat Abatement program in conjunction with the Governor’s Cool Classrooms initiative includes:

  • 456 classroom AC units have been installed;
  • 1,062 AC units have been ordered;
  • 1,062 units are out to bid;
  • 201 photovoltaic AC units installed; and
  • 402 portable AC units were distributed to the hottest classrooms statewide.

Phase II of the Heat Abatement program is already underway with an emphasis on implementing passive cooling projects. To date, the following projects have been completed:

  • 461 portable classrooms have been covered with heat reflective material;
  • Trees planted at numerous campuses;
  • 4 buildings have installed or are currently installing awnings;
  • 139 classrooms had ceiling fans installed; in addition, large diameter fans are being installed in cafeteria dining rooms.

“Despite a few setbacks, which included high bid prices due to Hawaii’s construction; the department has worked diligently to come up with solutions that have kept our heat abatement efforts moving forward. Our push for better prices has allowed us to cool more classrooms,” added Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson.

Duane Kashiwai, public works administrator, shares what HIDOE has been doing to fast track heat-relief initiatives through its Heat Abatement Program. Photo Credit: Department of Education

At James Campbell High School (JCHS), third on the heat abatement priority list, the Department has made significant upgrades to lower temperatures in many of the classrooms. The completed and ongoing improvements include:

  • Installation of new tinted windows;
  • Air conditioning;
  • Nighttime heat flushing fans;
  • Ceiling fans;
  • Progress in the awning installation over O Building’s courtyard;
  • Solar AC and battery units for the portable classrooms;
  • Upcoming fan installation in the cafeteria; and
  • Covered walkways project that will begin early next year.

JCHS is also undergoing other facility renovations and construction from a 30-classroom building currently in the design phase to restroom renovations in O and D buildings, and new portables and reroofing on I Building.

“We have seen a positive change in the campus culture because of these facility improvements,” shared Principal Jon Henry Lee. “The school community recognizes the investment the legislature and department have made towards enhancing the academic experience at our school, and we look forward to seeing the excitement of our students and staff when they return in August.”

For more information about HIDOE’s Heat Abatement program and continued updates about projects going on statewide, click here. A cost breakdown of the AC projects is available here.

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, Friday, June 16 at 8:07 PM. It will be visible for approximately 3 minutes at a maximum height of 75 degrees. It will appear 31 degrees above the Northwest part of the sky and disappear 33 degrees above the South Southeast part of the sky.

You can view a livestream from the space station here: https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

Hawaii DLNR Enforcement Division Launches New DLNRTip App

Last weekend a man sent DLNR Chair Suzanne Case photographs of two hammerhead sharks, left dead near the He‘eia Small Boat Harbor on Windward O‘ahu.  It’s impossible to determine how they died.  Were they hooked and discarded?  Were they caught up in a net?  Did someone kill them illegally?  This is exactly the kind of situation the DLNR hopes people will report immediately using its new DLNRTip app.

The DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) launched the new app to help people connect directly with conservation officers, view alerts, and submit anonymous tips from smartphones. It is an important extension of the agencies DLNR & You brand.

Developed by tip411, the DLNRTip app is an innovative program that encourages people to provide DOCARE with factual information leading to the arrest of anyone who poaches or harasses protected wildlife species, pollutes, or violates any State conservation resources rules.  1400 communities around the country are currently using the application developed by and managed by tip411. DLNRTip is available for download for free via the Google Play Store, iTunes App Store, or by visiting the DOCARE website at dlnr.hawaii.gov/docare.

“Our stated mission is to serve to protect, conserve and manage Hawaiʻi’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of visitors and the people of Hawai’i nei,” said Robert Farrell, DOCARE Enforcement Chief. DLNR Chair Suzanne Case commented, “We think DLNRtip is a natural extension of the DLNR & You brand and furthers our belief that we can’t protect our state’s natural and cultural resources without the thousands of eyes and ears of concerned citizens who can serve as proxies for DOCARE officers who clearly cannot be everywhere, all the time. DLNRTip will better connect our officers to people and expedite receipt of tips of wrongdoing and our subsequent responses.”

“We’re proud to partner with agencies like DLNR/DOCARE to help better connect members of the public with law enforcement to share information,” said tip411 President Terry Halsch.  “DLNRTip powered by tip411Mobile will greatly improve the public’s access to agency alerts, social media channels, important information, and more, to help protect natural and cultural resources in Hawai‘i.”

The DLNRTip app and tip411 are completely anonymous, as the technology removes all identifying information before officers see tips so there is no way to identify senders. People without a smartphone will be able to send an anonymous text tip via their cell phone to DOCARE by texting keyword DLNRTIP and their message/tip to 847411 (tip411).  Anonymous web tips can also be submitted through the DOCARE website noted above.  DOCARE will also continue to take calls and tips on its Statewide Hotline, 643-DLNR or 643-3567

Nā Leo TV to Air “Hawai’i Island Conversations” on Topic of Thirty Meter Telescope

Nā Leo TV announces they will be broadcasting live their June edition of “Hawai’i Island Conversations.” This special show will feature a panel discussion on the Thirty Meter Telescope project, a proposed astronomical observatory that has become the source of controversy over its planned location on Mauna Kea. Tentatively scheduled to appear on the panel are Harry Fergerstrom, E. Kalani Flores, Kealoha Pisciotta, along with Douglas Ing, Paul Coleman, and Richard Ha.

The show will air live, Thursday, June 15, 2017, on Channel 53 at 6:00 p.m. HWST and will stream online at www.naleo.tv and on Facebook Live at @naleotv. The show will be rebroadcast on the Nā Leo TV Channels and will be available on Video on Demand at www.naleo.tv/vod/

“Hawai’i Island Conversations” is a new series highlighting relevant topics, stories and people impacting Hawai’i Island.

Nā Leo TV, broadcasting on Oceanic Time Warner Cable public access Channels 53, 54, and 55, via the internet at www.naleo.tv and on social media at @naleotv.

Queen’s Medical Center and NHCH Create First Telemedicine ICU on the Big Island

The sickest patients at North Hawai’i Community Hospital (NHCH) are now being monitored 24/7 by highly specialized physicians thanks to state-of-the-art integrated technology provided by The Queen’s Health Systems.

The new system allows for real-time videoconferencing, putting the staff at The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu virtually at the bedside of each ICU patient at NHCH. NHCH ICU patient vital signs are continually displayed in the Queen’s ICU on Oahu. The complete patient chart is visible, exams can be done virtually with advanced videoconferencing located in each patient room, and heart and lung sounds can be heard by the Oahu team thanks to a virtually connected stethoscope.

“The goal is to deliver high quality, patient-centered care where intensive care experts are available at the bedside when the patient needs it. This ensures patients at NHCH have timely access to intensive care specialists in their home community without having to transfer inter-island to Queen’s on Oahu. The telemedicine ICU partnership will improve outcomes by reducing treatment delays and providing state-of-the art care,” said Matthew Koenig, MD, Medical Director of Telemedicine for The Queen’s Health Systems.

Physicians and staff in the ICU at North Hawai’i Community Hospital now conduct rounds alongside intensivists at the Punchbowl campus thanks to this new technology. Intensivists are physicians who specialize in the care of critically ill patients, most often in ICUs. Having intensivists available via telemedicine has shown to reduce mortality. This top-level expertise is now available 24/7 for the sickest patients who come to North Hawai’i Community Hospital.

Scott Gallacher, MD, Medical Director of the Medical ICU at The Queen’s Medical Center, notes that “our medical center’s founder, Queen Emma, said that ‘people are the key to healing.’ Our new tele-ICU capability with NHCH may involve quite a lot of high-technology behind the scenes, but it is essentially a tool to help connect people – patients, families, nursing staff, physicians – at a time when expert help might be the most needed, enhancing our collaborative approach to care. We have already seen that our face-to-face virtual bedside interactions have been a welcome source of comfort and reassurance that the very best in critical care is being delivered within the North Hawai’i community. While we always have the option to transport patients to our Punchbowl MICU from NHCH, this new model turns old ideas of bringing patients to doctors on its head by virtually transporting specialty physicians directly and immediately to the patient bedside where timely care is essential.”

“This new system of care, with North Hawai’i Community Hospital working together with The Queen’s Medical Center, means that we are able to provide the highest quality service to our patients at an extremely critical time,” said Gary Goldberg, MD, Chief Medical Officer, North Hawai’i Community Hospital. “It also means that we can keep more patients close to home – this is good for patients and good for families.”