• Follow on Facebook

  • puako-general-store
  • air-tour-kauai
  • what-to-do-media
  • RSS W2DM

  • Cheneviere Couture
  • PKF Document Shredding
  • Arnotts Mauna Kea Tours
  • World Botanical Garden
  • Hilton Waikoloa Village
  • Hilton Luau
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • Say When

    January 2017
    S M T W T F S
    « Dec    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • When

  • RSS Pulpconnection

Apple Mapping Car Being Spotted Around the Big Island

This afternoon as I was driving in Hilo, I noticed a weird car drive by me with all these cameras on top of it.  At first I thought it was the Google Car that I had seen a few years ago on Bayfront but learned it wasn’t.
I was driving down the Mohouli extension road and the car turned on to Loko Place.  Knowing that Loko Place was a dead end street that was just recently built… I flipped a U-Turn and pulled over on the side of Loko Place and positioned myself to take a picture of the car.
It turned out it was an “Apple” car that was doing mapping for it’s “Maps” application http://maps.apple.com.

Apple Maps states:

Offering an all-new design and a host of innovative features, Maps makes finding and getting to your destination faster and easier than ever. With turn-by-turn spoken directions, interactive 3D views, proactive suggestions, and the ability to use third-party apps right inside Maps, there’s so much to explore.

Maps now predicts the places you’re most likely to go and suggests the fastest way to get there based on traffic, your current location, the time of day, and events on your schedule. So in the morning, Maps can provide a proactive suggestion for the best route to work that avoids traffic. And any upcoming meetings on your calendar are presented with suggested routes. Simply tap the suggestion to display the directions and start navigation.

It looks as though they are trying to compete with Google for customers.  The last time that I can recall the Google car being on the Island was in 2011 but I could be wrong.

The Google car in Wailoa Park

The Google Car works in connection with the Google Bike as the bike can take folks on even narrower roads and trails where the car can’t go.

5,000th Electric Vehicle Registered in Hawaii, Drive Electric Hawaii Formed to Promote Electric Transportation

Eight key organizations have agreed to collaborate on electrification of ground transportation in Hawaii as an essential part of achieving the state’s clean energy goals.

Drive Electric Hawaii seeks to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles through coordinated collaboration, and to make it easier to expand vehicle-charging infrastructure in a way that brings more renewable energy onto the electric grid.

The new organization’s launch coincides with registration of the 5,000th electric vehicle in Hawaii.

Click to read memorandum

Founding participants who have signed a Memorandum of Understanding are: Blue Planet Foundation; Hawai‘i State Department of Transportation (HDOT); Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT); Hawaii State Division of Consumer Advocacy; the Hawaiian Electric Companies (including Maui Electric and Hawai‘i Electric Light); Kauai Island Utility Cooperative; Rocky Mountain Institute; and Ulupono Initiative. Other agencies and organizations are expected to join as the initiative moves forward.

“The primary focus of the Drive Electric Hawaii Initiative is to accelerate the cost-effective electrification of transportation in all passenger vehicles, public transit vehicles, and fleet vehicles…,” the memorandum states. “This effort will play a meaningful part toward the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative objective of increasing energy security and self-sufficiency by eliminating Hawaii’s dependence on imported fuels for both electricity and ground transportation.”

Hawaii is second in the nation (after California) in per capita electric vehicle registrations and a leader in charging facilities. Despite low gasoline prices, plug-in passenger vehicles registered in the state increased 26 percent last year. At the same time, gasoline and diesel vehicle registrations fell by 4 percent and 3 percent respectively.

“We are in the midst of a massive transformation,” said Richard Wallsgrove of Blue Planet Foundation. “Electric vehicles can use renewable energy, enabling us to drastically reduce our state’s carbon pollution. At the same time, electric vehicles can help to lower the cost of energy for everyone. This can be a true win-win.”

With over one million vehicles registered in the state, Wallsgrove said, “Reaching 5,000 electric vehicles is an early milestone. But every great journey starts with one step. The goal of Drive Electric Hawaii is to accelerate this progress, reaching our clean energy goals faster, together.”

“Being able to offer EV users power that is generated from renewable sources is a high priority for us at Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. At 36 percent, we are well on our way to reaching – and exceeding – our goal of 50 percent renewables by 2023,” said David Bissell, KIUC president and CEO.

The initiative grew out of Rocky Mountain Institute’s eLab Accelerator initiative – “a boot camp for electricity innovation”– where earlier this year Blue Planet Foundation, Hawaiian Electric, Ulupono Initiative, and other Hawaii representatives brainstormed ways get more electric vehicles deployed and successfully integrated into the grid. Colorado-based RMI is an independent, global non-profit organization dedicated to sustainability, with a focus on market-based innovations for energy and resource efficiency.

“We think smartly integrated electric vehicles could be a boon — not a burden — for a Hawaii grid that is increasingly renewable, and Drive Electric Hawaii will help all stakeholders consider how to approach EV integration holistically,” said Jesse Morris, a principal at Rocky Mountain Institute focused on enabling the integration of distributed energy resources like EVs.

The Drive Electric Hawaii shared vision includes:

  • Building a broad coalition in support of renewable transportation
  • Encouraging use of electric vehicles
  • Increasing electric vehicle charging opportunities that support 100 percent renewable energy
  • Developing policies, regulations and laws to unlock the full value of electrified transportation

“The memorandum reinforces much of the ongoing work being done at DBEDT and elsewhere to improve the synergies between the electricity and transportation sector,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “We are grateful for the leadership taken by energy and transportation stakeholders in advancing this very important piece of our clean energy transformation.”

“Drive Electric Hawaii is a great opportunity for the public, private and nonprofit sectors to collaborate on accelerating Hawaii’s bold energy and transportation goals,” said Greg Gaug, vice president of investments for the local impact investment firm Ulupono Initiative. “As part of our energy system strategy, we look forward to working with the state, utilities, and transportation and energy stakeholders to get more EVs on our roads.”

“Many individuals, organizations and agencies must work together to achieve a clean transportation energy future. No one can do it alone,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric vice president for corporate planning and business development. “We believe that, along with renewable generation of electricity, transportation electrification can help us achieve stable, reliable and lower-cost service for all our customers,”

With signing of the memorandum, participants will begin to establish a work plan and initiatives to move forward.

Drones are Prohibited on USAG-Hawaii Installations

Unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS (also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs or drones), once relegated to intelligence gathering and military activities, are now widely available to hobbyists and commercial enterprises.
Nearly half a million people nationwide have registered drones with the Federal Aviation Administration since December 2015.

In Hawaii, more than 3,000 drones have been registered as of May, according to FAA statistics.

Kualoa Ranch even hosted the World Drone Racing Championship in October, which brought operators from as far away as Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates to the islands.

But as the holidays near and more of the remote-controlled aircraft land under Christmas trees, officials are reminding the public to operate them safely and responsibly — off post!

Reason is, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii prohibits the unauthorized operation of drones over its properties. Violation of this policy on remotely controlled aircraft could result in disciplinary action.

“There is a security concern associated with it, with having drones potentially flying over and filming a military installation,” said James C. Knight, chief of the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security’s Aviation Division. “And then there’s the potential of drones posing a hazard to some of (the Army’s) low-flying helicopters.”

He noted that there have been no indications of drones being used for spying over USAG-HI property, but added that some families living on base may be operating their drones for recreation without realizing they are in violation of Army policy.

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, Tuesday, December 20 at 6:48 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a maximum height of 74 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the Northwest part of the sky and disappear 10 degrees above the Southeast part of the sky.

Pan-STARRS Releases Largest Digital Sky Survey to the World

The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) project at the University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy is publicly releasing the world’s largest digital sky survey today, via the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland.

Pan-STARRS1 Observatory on Haleakala

“The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys allow anyone to access millions of images and use the database and catalogs containing precision measurements of billions of stars and galaxies,” said Ken Chambers, director of the Pan-STARRS Observatories. “Pan-STARRS has made discoveries from Near Earth Objects and Kuiper Belt Objects in the Solar System to lonely planets between the stars; it has mapped the dust in three dimensions in our galaxy and found new streams of stars; and it has found new kinds of exploding stars and distant quasars in the early universe.”

“With this release we anticipate that scientists — as well as students and even casual users — around the world will make many new discoveries about the universe from the wealth of data collected by Pan-STARRS,” Chambers added.

The four years of data comprise 3 billion separate sources, including stars, galaxies and various other objects. The immense collection contains 2 petabytes of data, which is equivalent to one billion selfies or one hundred times the total content of Wikipedia.

The first Pan-STARRS observatory is a 1.8-meter telescope at the summit of Haleakalā on Maui. In May 2010, it embarked on a digital sky survey of the sky in visible and near infrared light. This was the first survey to observe the entire sky visible from Hawai‘i multiple times in many colors of light, with the goal of finding moving, transient and variable objects, including asteroids that could potentially threaten the Earth. The survey took approximately four years to complete, and scanned the sky 12 times in each of five filters.

“Achieving the high quality of the Pan-STARRS1 measurements and maintaining it over such an enormous quantity of data was a unique computational challenge, and the results are a tribute to the dedicated efforts of our small team of scientists at the UH IfA and our collaborators who worked to process and calibrate the extraordinary volume of raw image data,” said Eugene Magnier, lead of the Pan-STARRS Image Processing team.

This research program was undertaken by the PS1 Science Consortium — a collaboration among 10 research institutions in four countries with support from NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Consortium observations for the sky survey, mapping everything visible from Hawai‘i, were completed in April 2014. This data is now being released publicly.

“It’s great to see the Pan-STARRS1 data release supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) now made available to the general astronomical community,” said Nigel Sharp, program director in NSF’s astronomical sciences division. “I am impressed by the work the team invested to make the best-calibrated and best-characterized data set they could. I eagerly anticipate the science from mining these data.”

The roll-out is being done in two stages. Today’s release is the “Static Sky,” which is the average of each of those individual epochs. For every object, there’s an average value for its position, brightness and colors. In 2017, the second set of data will be released, providing a catalog that gives the information and images for each individual epoch.

The Space Telescope Science Institute provides the storage hardware, the computers that handle the database queries, and the user-friendly interfaces to access the data.

“The cooperation between STScI and the Pan-STARRS team at the University of Hawai‘i has been essential to ensuring that this initial data release is successful,” explained Marc Postman, head of the community missions office at STScI, and liaison between STScI and the PS1 Consortium. “STScI was a natural partner to host the Pan-STARRS public archive given its extensive experience serving astronomy data to the international community. In advance of the release of the Pan-STARRS data, STScI staff helped perform checks of data quality, helped write archive user documentation, tested and installed the local data storage and database query system, and designed, built and deployed the web-based user interfaces to the archive system.”

The survey data resides in the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST), which serves as NASA’s repository for all of its optical and ultraviolet-light observations, some of which date to the early 1970s. It includes all of the observational data from such space astrophysics missions as Hubble, Kepler, GALEX, and a wide variety of other telescopes, as well as several all-sky surveys. Pan-STARRS marks the nineteenth mission to be archived in MAST.

The data can be accessed at http://panstarrs.stsci.edu.

The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys have been made possible through contributions by the Institute for Astronomy, the University of Hawai‘i, the Pan-STARRS Project Office, the Max-Planck Society and its participating institutes, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, The Johns Hopkins University, Durham University, the University of Edinburgh, the Queen’s University Belfast, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network Incorporated, the National Central University of Taiwan, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grant No. NNX08AR22G issued through the Planetary Science Division of the NASA Science Mission Directorate, the National Science Foundation Grant No. AST-1238877, the University of Maryland, Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE), and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Founded in 1967, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa conducts research into galaxies, cosmology, stars, planets, and the sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in astronomy education, deep space missions, and in the development and management of the observatories on Haleakalā and Maunakea. The Institute operates facilities on the islands of O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Gathering Information on Land Available for Renewable Energy Development

To help accelerate and inform efforts to achieve 100 percent renewable energy, the Hawaiian Electric Companies today launched an effort to gather information about land that may be made available for future renewable energy projects that will benefit all electric customers.

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and the Hawaii Electric Light Company are issuing a Request for Information (RFI) which asks interested landowners to provide information about properties on Oahu, Hawaii island, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai available for utility-scale renewable energy projects, such as solar and wind farms, or for growing biofuel feedstock.

“Land is one of the most important resources to consider in the development of renewable energy projects. By proactively identifying potential sites, we are hoping to make the process of developing renewable energy projects faster and more efficient for both land owners and prospective developers,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric vice president of strategic planning and business development.

To reach 100 percent renewable energy, Hawaii will need a broad mix of renewable energy resources. Continued growth of private rooftop solar energy systems and energy storage will offer customers more options. These resources will be complemented by additional large-scale projects, which will help ensure all customers receive the benefits renewable energy.

Interested parties should submit responses to the RFI by Jan. 27, 2017. For more information, go to www.hawaiianelectric.com/landRFI or email landrfi@hawaiianelectric.com.

EPA Awards Funding to Replace Buses on Big Island

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a total of $6,329,500 in Diesel Emission Reduction Act funds to public and private partners in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and American Samoa. EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator, Alexis Strauss made the announcement today at a meeting of the international Commission for Environmental Cooperation in Long Beach, California. The funds will be used to retrofit and replace old, polluting diesel vehicles and equipment, including school buses, trucks, agriculture and port equipment, and generators.

The Diesel Emission Reduction Act program is administered by the EPA’s West Coast Collaborative, a clean air partnership comprised of EPA’s Pacific Southwest and Pacific Northwest Regions, which leverages public and private funds to reduce emissions from the most polluting diesel sources in impacted communities.

“By promoting clean diesel technologies, we can improve air quality and human health while supporting green jobs in disadvantaged communities,” said Ms. Strauss. “Public-private partnerships like the West Coast Collaborative are leading the way on reducing harmful diesel emissions and advancing domestic economic development.”

The 2016 grants will fund the following projects:

California Air Resources Board (CARB): CARB was awarded a $539,412 grant to be combined with $371,168 in state funding to retrofit 41 heavy-duty diesel school buses operating throughout California.

Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD): BAAQMD was awarded a $1,420,263 grant to be combined with a BAAQMD contribution of $4,278,662 to replace one older locomotive and two Tier 0 switcher locomotives with cleaner Tier 4 locomotives operating in the San Francisco Bay Area.

San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District (SJVUAPCD): SJVUAPCD was awarded a $900,000 grant to be combined with $4,789,626 in local funding to replace 41 model year 1994-2006 Class 5 through 8 heavy-duty diesel delivery trucks operating in the San Joaquin Valley with ones powered by 2015 or newer model year engines.

South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD): SCAQMD was awarded a $523,809 grant to be combined with $2,229,000 in local funding to replace one pre-model year 1973 diesel switch locomotive with a new cleaner Tier 4 diesel locomotive that will be operating at the Port of Long Beach.

Port of Long Beach: The City of Long Beach Harbor Department was awarded a $1,469,818 grant to be combined with $1,957,164 in funds from the Long Beach Container Terminal, Inc. to replace five existing diesel powered yard tractors with electric automated guided vehicles used for handling cargo at the Port of Long Beach.

Port of Los Angeles: The City of Los Angeles Harbor Department was awarded a $800,000 grant to be combined with $2,214,000 in funds from APM Terminals and TraPac, LLC. to replace 16 yard tractors with cleaner Tier 4 models and repower two heavy lifts with Tier 4 engines used for handling cargo at the Port of Los Angeles.

Arizona’s Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD): MCAQD was awarded a $217,069 grant to install Diesel Oxidation Catalyst retrofits on 37 heavy-duty public works vehicles operating in Arizona. The project will be implemented through a partnership the Maricopa County Equipment Services Department and other participating fleets.

Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP): NDEP was awarded a $193,627 grant to be combined with $580,881 in local funding to replace four Class 5 legacy diesel vehicles with new vehicles powered by model year 2013 or newer engines. The project will also retrofit 15 Class 5 vehicles with diesel oxidation catalysts and switch them from ultra-low sulfur diesel to renewable diesel fuel.

Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH): HDOH was awarded a $194,787 grant to be combined with $584,361 in local funding to replace two Class 5 legacy diesel transit buses operating on the Island of Hawaii.

American Samoa: The American Samoa Power Authority was awarded a $70,715 grant to repower an existing diesel-powered stationary generator with a clean, 1.4 megawatt photovoltaic solar system and a Tier 3 275 kilowatt backup diesel-powered generator on the Island of Ta’u. The system will also include 6 megawatt hours of batteries, allowing island residents to continually utilize the renewable energy on days when the sun is not shining.

The projects selected today will result in cleaner diesel or electric engines that operate in economically disadvantaged communities whose residents suffer from higher-than-average instances of asthma, heart, and lung disease. These actions are estimated to reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen by 1,315 tons, fine particulate matter by 167 tons, hydrocarbons by 71 tons, carbon monoxide by 541 tons, and carbon dioxide by 32,830 tons over the lifetime of the affected engines.

This funding is part of U.S. EPA’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act fiscal year 2016 allocation that includes engine replacements, idle reduction and retrofit technologies to clean up a variety of older diesel engines. Since 2008, the program has awarded more than 700 grants across the country in 600 communities. These projects have reduced emissions from more than 60,000 engines. Reducing particulate matter emissions has important public health and air quality benefits, including the reduction of soot and black carbon.

To learn more about all of this year’s West Coast Collaborative DERA projects, including those awarded in the Pacific Southwest, please visit: http://www.westcoastcollaborative.org.

For more information about EPA’s National Clean Diesel campaign and the awarded DERA projects nationally, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel.

Senate Sends Thune-Schatz Legislation Protecting Consumer Reviews to President

Bipartisan Proposal Put Forward by Thune, Schatz, and Moran Outlaws Abusive “Gag Clauses”

yelp-advisorThe U.S. Senate today, by unanimous consent, sent bicameral legislation to the White House for the President’s signature that will outlaw the use of “gag clauses” in non-negotiable form contracts. Some businesses have attracted national scrutiny for using gag clauses to punish or silence honest criticism of products and services. The sponsors of the Senate version released the following statements:

“Reviews on where to shop, eat, or stay on websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor help consumers make informed choices about where to spend their money. Every consumer has the right to share their honest experiences and opinions of any business without the fear of legal retaliation, and the passage of our bill brings us one step closer to protecting that right,” said Internet Subcommittee Ranking Member Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i).

“By ending gag clauses, this legislation supports consumer rights and the integrity of critical feedback about products and services sold online. I appreciate the bipartisan efforts of my Senate and House colleagues to get this legislation over the finish line,” said Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.).

“Just as word of mouth is used by family and friends to share experiences with particular brands or businesses, online reviews have significant benefits to consumers in their purchasing decisions. I’m pleased this legislation will now be sent to the president’s desk. It will help make certain consumers in Kansas and across the country are able to make their voices heard without fear of lawsuits or financial repercussions for honest feedback,” said Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

The Commerce Committee held a hearing on gag clauses on November 4, 2015, featuring testimony from Ms. Jen Palmer, a plaintiff in Palmer v. KlearGear, where a company demanded the removal of a negative online review or payment of $3,500 in fines because the online merchant’s terms of service included a non-disparagement clause. When the review was not taken down, the company reported the unpaid $3,500 to a credit reporting agency as an outstanding debt, which negatively impacted the Palmers’ credit.

Thune, Schatz, and Moran introduced S. 2044, the Consumer Review Freedom Act, in September 2015, and the Senate passed the measure unanimously last year. The Senate today approved the companion House version, H.R. 5111, introduced by Rep. Lance Leonard (R-N.J.) and Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) earlier this year. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) also sponsored an earlier House companion version of the legislation, H.R. 2110, to outlaw gag clauses.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the International Space Station Tonight

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

international-space-stationIt will be visible beginning tonight, Saturday, November 26 at 6:30 PM. It will be visible for approximately 5 minutes at a maximum height of 69 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the South Southwest part of the sky and disappear 26 degrees above the Northeast part of the sky.

Two Geothermal Well Scientific Observation Holes to be Plugged and Abandoned in Puna

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has contracted with Water Resources International, Inc. to plug and abandon two geothermal scientific wells, SOH-1 and SOH-2 located in Pahoa.

SOH - 2 (Scannned by Cheryl Ishii, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics University of Hawaii at Manoa

SOH – 2 (Scannned by Cheryl Ishii, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Representatives from DLNR Engineering Division, their consultant Brown and Caldwell, and Water Resources International will attend the Puna Geothermal Ventures community meeting scheduled for Thursday, December 8, from, 6-8 p.m. at Pahoa Community Center, 15-2910 Puna Road, Pāhoa.  They will be available to answer any questions on the project.

Drilled in 1991 for research purposes to monitor temperature gradients down the shafts, the two wells are no longer being used by the University of Hawai‘i or DLNR for geothermal resource monitoring purposes.

Initial site clearing and preparations are now ongoing at the site of SOH-1 and by about December 12 work will begin on plugging the well and restoring the area with SOH-2 to follow in a similar manner. The project is expected to be completed in approximately 3 months. Work hours will be limited to between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

The contract award amount for the plugging and abandonment of the two wells was $2,036,000.

Local Nonprofit Organizations Receive Electric Vehicles

The Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) Charitable Foundation and Hawaii Electric Light Company recently donated Smart electric vehicles to three local nonprofit organizations. The vehicles and symbolic keys were presented to representatives from the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island, HOPE Services Hawaii, and the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

“At HEI, we strive to be a catalyst for a better Hawaii,” said Connie Lau, HEI president and CEO and chairman of the HEI Charitable Foundation. “The HEI Charitable Foundation is proud to partner with Hawaii Electric Light to recognize these wonderful organizations and at the same time promote the use of electric vehicles on Hawaii Island and throughout our state to help Hawaii achieve a clean energy future.”

electric-vehicle

The popularity of electric vehicles has risen in recent years as the world takes greater notice of the importance of reducing reliance on fossil fuels for transportation. They also cost less per mile than vehicles with a conventional gasoline-fueled engine, and they are good for the environment by reducing emissions and noise pollution. The donated cars are lightly-used Smart ForTwo electric vehicles with an average mileage of 4,000 miles. The cars come equipped with electric charging equipment and are valued at more than $10,000. HEI worked closely with Mercedes-Benz of Honolulu who inspected, registered, and ensured delivery of the vehicles to the nonprofit organizations.

“These deserving organizations strengthen our community by nurturing our youth, offering hope to our less fortunate, and providing our students with quality higher education,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president. “We know these electric vehicles can broaden their reach and support their efforts to serve our community.”

The Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island’s mission is to inspire and enable Big Island youth to be productive and responsible citizens, through quality programs in a safe and caring environment. It provides after school services for youth ages 6-17 Hilo, Keaau, Pahoa, Pahala, and Ocean View.

“In the words of our keiki when experiencing something new, fun and exciting: ‘Awesome!’ It is truly awesome to gain this environmentally-friendly resource and have an educational tool that helps us teach our lessons of sustainability, science and resource management,” said Chad Cabral, Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island chief executive officer. “What better way to let kids see how an electric vehicle works, view the electric engine components, and speak about energy efficiency concepts. We are thrilled to have this educational resource. Mahalo to the HEI Charitable Foundation and Hawaii Electric Light.”

HOPE Services Hawaii provides an array of services to the homeless. The organization envisions a world where those who face great challenges realize their value and self-worth. Programs and services include homeless outreach, residential housing programs, prison re-entry services, representative payee services, and one-stop centers. The organization plans to use the electric vehicle to transport program participants to become document-ready for housing by helping them obtain identification as well as helping them find gainful employment and comply with their legal requirements.

“We end homelessness by housing at least 270 households each year. We intentionally serve those with the deepest needs first and help at least 85% of them stay housed forever – never returning to homelessness,” said Brandee Menino, HOPE Services Hawaii chief executive officer. “We do this work because it improves the health and wellness of the people we serve, maximizes the potential of each individual and family we serve, and is economically in the best interest of the taxpayers of Hawaii to end homelessness rather than manage homelessness.”

The University of Hawaii at Hilo offers its 4,000 students a wide range of liberal arts and professional programs, as well as a number of graduate and doctoral programs. As a campus of the University of Hawaii System, its purpose is to challenge students to reach their highest level of academic achievement by inspiring learning, discovery and creativity inside and outside the classroom.

“We are thankful and honored to have been selected as one of the recipients,” said Jerry Chang, University of Hawaii at Hilo director, University Relations. “This is another step in our goal of conservation and starting an Energy Science program at UH Hilo.”

For more information about the benefits of electric vehicles, please visit www.hawaiielectriclight.com.

Hawaii Electric Light Company to Conduct Aerial Line Inspections Next Week

To improve system reliability, Hawaii Electric Light Company will conduct aerial line inspections of its major overhead transmission lines from Monday, Nov. 28, to Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016.

helicopter-line-inspectionThe islandwide inspections are scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. However, exact times and routes will depend on weather conditions. Inspections will be conducted in a Manuiwa Airways helicopter and require the aircraft to fly low and slow which may cause some noise disturbances.

Hawaii Electric Light apologizes for any disruptions this may cause and sincerely thanks the community for their cooperation and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Offer Improved Online Calculator to Help Customers Decide on Buying an Electric Vehicle

Are you thinking about buying a plug-in electric vehicle, but having trouble figuring out whether you will save money and help the environment compared to a gasoline vehicle? Help is now just a click away, thanks to a new tool from the Hawaiian Electric Companies.

watt-planWattPlan for Electric Vehicles is an interactive, online calculator you can use via desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone to compare any make and model of plug-in electric vehicle with any internal combustion engine vehicle. It is accessible at: www.hawaiianelectric.com/wattplanforEV.

Using your personal monthly electric bill and current gasoline prices, the tool will help you decide whether an electric vehicle is right for you and your family. The calculator will show that when you charge your electric vehicle can affect your overall energy cost. With new, voluntary time-of-use rates available for residential customers of all three Hawaiian Electric companies, it is less expensive to use electricity during the day, when abundant solar power is being sent to the grid.

“We encourage prospective electric vehicle owners to consider their entire home energy bill – electricity plus gasoline – when making this decision,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. “While adding an electric vehicle may slightly increase your monthly electric bill, that will likely be more than offset by buying little or no gasoline. That is my experience as a new electric vehicle owner.”

For those concerned about climate change and the global environment, the WattPlan for Electric Vehicles tool will show the environmental benefits of driving an EV compared to a gasoline car.

“Electric vehicles don’t just result in reduced use of imported oil, exhaust fumes and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Oshima. “Using more electricity during the day will allow us to use more solar power, an important step to help us get to Hawaii’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy.”

The WattPlan for Electric Vehicles was developed for Hawaiian Electric in conjunction with Clean Power Research® (www.cleanpower.com), an award-winning innovation company that delivers software products to enable customers to optimize financing, operation and integration of solar resources, engage consumers with personalized energy evaluations, and streamline business processes.

Clean Power also developed the WattPlan for Rooftop Solar, a personalized online tool that the Hawaiian Electric Companies make available to help their customers decide whether rooftop solar is right for them, and if so, what size is best and the comparative costs of buying or leasing a system.

PISCES Partners with UH Hilo and NASA for Simulated Human Mars Mission on Hawaii Island

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) is partnering with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and NASA this month in a ground breaking research project to prepare for an eventual manned mission to Mars.

mars-simulationThe project, called BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains), is focused on developing operation protocols for a joint human-robotic exploration of Mars in the search for extraterrestrial life. BASALT scientists and crew members are conducting simulated missions in two locations which closely resemble the Martian landscape at different areas: Mauna Ulu at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho.

Currently, the BASALT team is investigating Mauna Ulu by traversing the rugged lava terrain to collect rock samples for both biologic and geologic analysis.

“We add a twist to our scientific fieldwork by conducting it under simulated Mars mission constraints,” said Dr. Darlene Lim, geobiologist and principal investigator for the BASALT research project. “By doing so, we can evaluate operational concepts and a variety of supporting capabilities that range from software to hardware components with respect to their anticipated value for the human exploration of Mars.”

One of their constraints is a communication time delay to simulate the latency of transmissions experienced between planets. Dr. Lim and her team are hoping to develop a tricorder-like device, as envisioned in Star Trek, to be able to identify rock samples using a hand-held instrument.

The researchers hope to better understand the habitability of Mars by studying Mauna Ulu, which is a high-fidelity analog for the landscape of early Mars when volcanism and water were common.

“No one has really worked this out yet,” said John Hamilton, PISCES test logistics and education/public outreach manager. “We want to work out the kinks during these exercises so we have it together on a real mission. By the time they go to Mars, they’ll have a rock-solid plan.”

The BASALT team consists of scientists, engineers, mission operators and active astronauts. Roughly a dozen students from the University of Hawaii at Hilo are also assisting with the project. Hamilton, who is also a faculty member with the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Department of Physics and Astronomy, is serving on the BASALT Science Team, overseeing data collection, logistics, and student assignments. The research project is central to NASA’s Journey to Mars program.

“PISCES is honored to be working together with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and NASA Ames on this project,” said Rodrigo Romo, PISCES program manager. “Collaborative work with Ames has been in the frontline of applied research for PISCES recently. The fact that university students get the opportunity to participate in events like the BASALT project will help them meet the demands of a very competitive industry.”

PISCES was selected last year by NASA’s highly competitive PSTAR (Planetary Science and Technology Through Analog Research) program to participate in the four-year, $4.2 million BASALT project, which is being administered by the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The BASALT research team will be conducting their research on Hawaii Island until Nov. 18.

For more information visit PISCES’ website at www.pacificspacecenter.com.

“Hawaii: Next 50 Contest” Offers New Prize

A new prize will allow students winners of the Hawaii: Next 50 Contest to interface with innovation professionals and navigate their ideas from conception to reality.

hawaii-next-50Sultan Ventures will provide one-on-one mentorship opportunities for the winners in each contest category as well as host an innovation boot camp for the top-24 scoring participants.

The 2017 contest focuses on using technology to solve problems in affordable housing, food sustainability, or economic industries. All students in grades 4 – 12 are eligible to submit their solutions now through January 31, 2017. In addition to the mentorship, winners will be honored at the Hawaii State Capitol, attend a luncheon with key legislators, and receive a monetary prize.

“This contest hinges on the premise that the next big, great idea to help our state can come from anyone,” said Representative Takashi Ohno. “These opportunities to hone their ideas into actual solutions are a way we can show kids that it’s possible for them to make a real-world impact now.”

The Hawaii: Next 50 Contest is inspired by former Governor George Ariyoshi’s book, Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years, and students will read the book before launching their own ideas for Hawaii’s future in an essay or multimedia creation. Free copies of the book can be requested online at www.HawaiiNext50.com.

The contest is a collaboration of the Hawaii State House of Representatives, aio Foundation, Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and Sultan Ventures.

More information can be found online at www.HawaiiNext50.com or email HawaiiNext50@gmail.com.


Hawaii: Next 50 Contest

WHO:      Students enrolled in grades 4 – 12 are eligible to enter.

WHAT:     Students are asked to read Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years and respond to the question Looking ahead to the next 50 years, imagine how we can use current technology or future technology to:

  • Create more affordable housing
  • Achieve food sustainability
  • Promote new and innovative industries

Students are encouraged to get creative and find solutions using technology in one of the three topics. The technology utilized can exist currently or be an idea that might be possible in the future as long as the details are explained in the contest entry.

Submissions will be accepted in two categories: essay or multimedia (e.g. drawing, painting, other art piece, video, etc.)

Free copies of Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years are available by request at www.HawaiiNext50.com.

WHEN:    All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on January 31, 2017. Winners to be announced in March 2017.

WHY:   To challenge the up-and-coming generation to become stakeholders in shaping our future. Prizes include:

  • Floor presentation at the Hawaii State Capitol
  • Luncheon with state legislators
  • Two-hour mentorship program with Sultan Ventures
  • Monetary prize
  • Winning entry published online

The top-24 scoring entries will also be invited to an innovation boot camp hosted by Sultan Ventures.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Encourages Opportunities for Veterans in Technology

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Future Caucus and of the Diversifying Tech Caucus, delivered opening remarks at the congressional briefing Veteran Readiness in Technology: Preparing Veterans for the 21st Century Economy, hosted by the Millennial Action Project, Engine, TwinLogic Strategies, and Amazon.

tulsi-technology1The congresswoman spoke about how veterans are largely underrepresented in the rapidly growing technology industry, and about the importance of empowering veterans as they transition to civilian life. Following opening remarks, expert panelists discussed the current challenges transitioning service members and veterans face during their path towards a career in technology, and opportunities for veterans and service members in the 21st century tech economy.

tulsi-technology2“Roughly 500 veterans return to civilian life every day, bringing with them unique experiences and skills from their military service. Our veterans are natural leaders, trained to make decisions under pressure, work together as a team, and accomplish the mission at hand,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Veterans have been largely underrepresented in the tech community, making up just 2% the sector that drives much of our economic innovation across the country. Ensuring our veterans have access to training and opportunities that set them up for success in the 21st century tech economy is good for our economy, good for our tech industry, good for our country, and good for our veterans.”

Background: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has introduced legislation like the Veterans’ Entry to Apprenticeship Act, to enable veterans to use their GI Bill benefits for apprenticeship programs in the skilled-trade industry, as well as the HIRE Vets Act to incentivize employers to hire and retain veterans.

Hawaiian Telcom Unleashes 1 Gig Internet on Hawaii Island

Today Hawaiian Telcom announced that it has expanded availability of its ultra-fast 1 gigabit per second High-Speed Internet service to homes in Hawai‘i Island’s Puʻu Lani Ranch subdivision and the surrounding Puʻuanahulu area, using Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) technology. Hawaiian Telcom has been extending its broadband infrastructure on Hawaiʻi Island, an effort partially supported by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Connect America Fund (CAF).

Initially launched in 2015, Hawaiian Telcom’s Fiber 1 Gig service is the fastest in Hawaiʻi and among the fastest in the nation. Today more than 125,000 homes and 5,600 businesses statewide are enabled for 1 gigabit per second service and Hawaiian Telcom continues to expand availability to new locations every month.

“As Hawaiʻi’s Technology Leader and our state’s only local service provider, Hawaiian Telcom is committed to increasing speeds and expanding broadband access statewide,” said Scott Barber, President and CEO. “Puʻu Lani Ranch is our first 1 gigabit per second deployment using CAF Phase II support and we’re excited about the increased educational and economic opportunities that are now open to this community with Hawaiʻi’s fastest internet.”

One gigabit per second, which is equal to 1,000 megabits per second, enables multiple connected devices to run bandwidth-intense applications like streaming video and online gaming simultaneously over a shared connection without sacrificing quality.

“Studies have shown that there are at least eight Internet-connected devices in the average U.S. household today and that number is continuing to rise,” said Jason Fujita, Vice President – Consumer Sales and Marketing. “All of these bandwidth-hungry devices are pulling on the same broadband connection. With Hawaiian Telcom’s Fiber 1 Gig, you can operate all of your connected devices simultaneously without interruption.”

Last year Hawaiian Telcom announced that it was awarded approximately $26 million in CAF Phase II support to deploy a minimum of 10 megabits per second downstream and 1 megabits per second upstream by the year 2020 to more than 11,000 unserved and underserved locations.

Click to check available services in your area.

Click to check available services in your area.

Since 2015, with CAF Phase I support of approximately $1.4 million, Hawaiian Telcom successfully deployed High-Speed Internet to more than 1,800 locations on Hawaiʻi Island. These locations are within areas that include Ainaloa, Aliʻi Kane, Fern Acres, Fern Forest, Glenwood, Hawaiian Acres, Kaiwiki and Miloliʻi. Interested residents should visit hawaiiantel.com/Internet and key in their address to learn which services and speed tiers are available or call Hawaiian Telcom’s consumer sales center at (808) 643-3456.

The FCC created CAF in 2011 by reforming its Universal Service Fund (USF), which consumers contribute to as a Federal Universal Service fee on their monthly telephone and wireless bills, in an effort to accelerate broadband deployment to the approximately 23 million Americans in rural populations that lack access.

Hawaii Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Pilot Program Update

In April of 2015, “Distinguished officials attended a blessing and seed planting ceremony for the University of Hawaii’s Industrial Hemp Project in Waimanalo. This project was the result of Act 56 which established an industrial hemp research project to be conducted by Principal UH Researcher Dr. Harry Ako to study hemp for soil phytoremediation (cleaning) as well as for a potential biofuel.”

From Left to right: Senator Russell Ruderman, Representative Cynthia Thielen, Dr. Harry Ako, Lead Scientist for the Hawai’i Hemp Project, Senator Mike Gabbard, Representative Chris Lee, Representative Richard Cregan, Senator Gil Riviere, Representative Lynn DeCoite and Maria Gallo Dean of the University of Hawai’i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources.

From Left to right: Senator Russell Ruderman, Representative Cynthia Thielen, Dr. Harry Ako, Lead Scientist for the Hawai’i Hemp Project, Senator Mike Gabbard, Representative Chris Lee, Representative Richard Cregan, Senator Gil Riviere, Representative Lynn DeCoite and Maria Gallo Dean of the University of Hawai’i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources.

Currently The Hawaii Department of Agriculture is:

  • Registering as a Schedule 1 importer of controlled substances with the DEA.
  • Identifying optimal seed sources for importation.
  • Drafting administrative regulations to govern the hemp pilot program.

Upcoming

The Department Plans to:

  • Release a request for proposals (RFP) to secure a contractor(s) to develop a line of Hawaii acclimated industrial hemp seed for distribution to licensees in the upcoming industrial hemp pilot program.
  • Import seeds to be further developed into a line of industrial hemp for Hawaii by the contractor/(s) selected at the end of the RFP process.

Projected Timeline*

  1. November 2016 Administrative rules drafted, review process begins.
  2. January 2017 Hemp Seed Development RFP Posted
  3. February 2017 Hemp seed development contract awarded, seed development begins.
  4. Fall 2017: Program Coordinator and Inspector selected.
  5. January 1-April 1 2018: Growers may begin applying for licenses.

*All date and times are rough estimates, and subject to change without notice, being contingent upon funding and approval processes.

Resources

  • AT THIS TIME: If you are interested in participating in the State industrial hemp pilot program, please examine Act 228 to see the infrastructure which will be required of applicants, and the recording and fee requirements licensees must meet.
  • http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/GM1330_.PDF

Interest in Next Wave of Solar Power Rising in Hawaii

Applications for the next generation of private rooftop solar energy systems have surged in recent weeks, showing growing customer interest in the program and this new technology.

solar-panel-in-hawaiiAs of Nov. 1, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company received 234 Customer Self-Supply applications, up from approximately 50 applications in early October.

So far, nearly 100 applications have been approved and are ready for installation, with the rest going through the standard technical review.

“Things are just getting started. Solar power is still a viable option and we expect more customers to install self-supply systems as they learn more about the program,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service.

Customer Self-Supply represents the evolution of solar energy systems. These systems enable households to generate their own electricity and to potentially store energy for use after the sun goes down.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies lead the nation in the adoption of solar power. Nearly 79,000 customers have been approved on Oahu, Maui County, and Hawaii island. To date, 15 percent of all residential and commercial electric customers have PV systems – nearly 20 times the national average. Approximately 29 percent of all single family homes have been approved to install a PV system.

35 Million Microfilm Images & 5,500 Books Digitized During Project

The State Bureau of Conveyances, one of the divisions of the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources, is now in the second phase of a four-phase project to convert more than 170 years of vital state records into permanent, digital format.

recordsThe Hawai‘i Bureau of Conveyances is the only single statewide recording office in the country. It examines, records, and indexes more than 344,000 land and property documents and maps each year and it issues Land Court Certificates of Title and certifies copies of matters of record.  On a daily basis, the Bureau of Conveyances inputs 1,100-1,500 documents and its documents date back to 1845.

Leslie Kobata, the acting Bureau of Conveyances Registrar, explained, “Our conversion of documents to digital started with 35 million microfilm images. The microfilms are the original back-ups to the 5,500 reference books that date back to the mid-1800s.

records2The second phase of the digital conversion was the scanning of each of those books and the number of pages is staggering: an estimated 3.3 million plus. The goal is to have all of these important historical and legal documents properly preserved and in a format that is easily accessible by anybody.”

The Bureau of Conveyances hired U.S. Imaging, a Michigan based company and for the first two phases has spent approximately $1.35 million on the project. Kobata added, “The importance of the partnership with them is that we’re working with a company that does this type of work solely across the country. U.S. Imaging has many years of experience and completed projects under its belt and when they began work here in Hawai‘i some of the practices and innovations that they’ve adopted and applied from that experience actually saved the State some money.”

records3In late 2015, a team from U.S. Imaging began scanning 15,000 rolls of microfilm land records from 1845-1991. Teams of two people worked around the clock, seven days a week and completed the process in a month.  U.S. Imaging President Scott Robinson said, “Scanned images are stored on our servers, as well as on ‘M disk,’ the first digital format that is truly archival. It is estimated M disks will last more than 1,000 years, because data is physically etched into the disk. This makes them much less light sensitive and susceptible to environmental conditions like heat, moisture, and humidity.”

Then, over the past month, another team of U.S. Imaging workers completed scanning of the thousands of reference books.  Operating in a temporary enclosure in the below-ground parking area of the Kalanimoku State Office Building on Punchbowl Street, they too worked around-the-clock shifts. Some of the challenges they faced were documents that were too light or had corrupted images. Robinson explained, “With most scanners on the market, when you put the paper into the glass guides, the fiber comes off, builds up and causes streaking on the scanned pages.  So you’d have to constantly stop and clean or change glass guides.  Now using the highest tech, German-made scanners available, there are no glass guides and the scanner is able to pick up 16,777,216 colors in the spectrum, compared to 256 shades of gray in the scanning of microfilm.”

records4DLNR Chair Suzanne Case commented, “The upcoming phase three of this project will be to make sure all the scanned images are enhanced and in a form and format best possible for reproduction and access. At this point they can be viewed digitally at the Bureau of Conveyances. Phase four will be to make all of the scanned documents accessible to anyone with a computer.  While the Bureau of Conveyances will maintain all of the historic reference books and microfilm, this digitization project ensures the preservation of some of Hawai‘i’s most important and vital historical records.”

The Bureau of Conveyances public reference room is open Monday-Friday (except for state holidays) from 8:15 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. Reference books and microfilms will remain available for review.