• what-to-do-media
  • puako-general-store
  • Cheneviere Couture
  • Arnotts Mauna Kea Tours
  • World Botanical Garden
  • Hilton Waikoloa Village
  • Hilton Luau
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • 10% Off WikiFresh

  • Say When

    May 2018
    S M T W T F S
    « Apr    
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    2728293031  

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

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

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

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

Renewable energy

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

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

The companies’ forecasts for future milestones include:

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

Oil consumption down 21%

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

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

Electric vehicle use accelerates

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

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

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

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

Kamehameha Butterflies Return to O`ahu Forests This Earth Day

This week, eight years after the Kamehameha Butterfly was designated as the Hawai‘i State insect, 94 of the stunning, captive-raised butterflies, were released in the Kawainui Marsh. This is both the culmination of and the beginning of an unusual path towards species conservation.

Back in 2009, a small group of 5th graders at Pearl Ridge Elementary engaged in a project that captivated them.  For their teacher it wasn’t enough to simply teach about government and how legislation is created.  She challenged her students to introduce a bill to designate the first state insect. The subsequent chain-of-events can be likened to ‘the butterfly effect’.  That concept was first coined by meteorologists to explain how small causes can have large effects.

Kristi Kimura was 11 years old at the time, but she remembers it vividly. After narrowing their search to two finalists, the class voted. It was between the Kamehameha Butterfly or pulelehua (Vanessa tameamea) and the Hawaiian happy-face spider.  Kimura recalls, “We figured having a spider wouldn’t be great since a lot of people don’t like them and felt the butterfly represented the islands better since it was named after King Kamehameha.”  Now studying biology at Seattle University, Kimura laughs, “I realize now that spiders aren’t technically even insects!”

The species’ conservation status also factored into their decision.  While not yet endangered, the pulelehua had been disappearing from areas like Tantalus in the southern Ko‘olau Mountains, where it had previously been common.  “We figured if we got it approved as the state insect, people would become informed and efforts would be made to try and protect it,” said Kimura.

The class’s wish has been realized through a combination of public interest and hard work by numerous partners.  On release day staff from the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), surround a mesh carrier filled with butterflies.  Almost immediately, the first one flies up towards the treetops to the group’s delight.

Cynthia King of DOFAW’s Hawai‘i Invertebrate Program explained, “After the species was designated as our state insect, several members of the public contacted legislators.  They were concerned they weren’t seeing pulelehua as much anymore and asked what was being done to help them?”

In Hawai‘i, often referred to as the extinction capital of the world’, it is often only when species become extremely rare that resources are secured to save them.  King continued, “We realized how little we knew about our state insect, but saw this as a species we could take steps to stabilize before it reached that critical point”.

The Kamehameha Butterfly is one of only two native butterfly species in Hawai‘i.  Its ancestors made it here from North America or Asia millions of years ago.  Adults are orange with brown, black, and white markings.  The light-green caterpillars feed only on native species in the nettle family, primarily māmaki. They don’t consume non-native plants like crownflower or milkweeds, which are favorites for the introduced monarch butterfly.

Dr. William Haines, a University of Hawai‘i research entomologist, was hired through the UH Center for Conservation Research and Training to lead reintroduction efforts. His position was funded by the state and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit.   His first task was determining the butterfly’s distribution.  He said, “We decided to set up a website for people to send in their sightings, so we could log them on a map.”  Confirmed on most of the main Hawaiian Islands, the pulelehua occurs mostly in gulch or stream habitats where host plants are common.  Using sightings from the website, scientists created a map of suitable habitat based on rainfall, temperature, and elevation. That gave them an idea of where the butterfly should be reintroduced.

Another study by University of Hawai‘i graduate student Colby Maeda investigated causes of mortality.  Overall, it’s thought that habitat destruction, and predators such as ants, are having the biggest influence on their decline.  This brings the project to its third stage: captive-rearing for release, which is expected to continue over the next two years.

Few people realize that real-world conservation is as much trial and error as scientific process.  Haines said, “Getting them to mate in captivity was the hardest part of raising them.  There was one paper from the 80’s about a related species, but pretty much nothing was known about the mating habits of our pulelehua.”

DLNR/DOFAW has a new insect lab, where state and federal funding has provided the tools needed to conserve rare Hawaiian insects and tree snails.  The breeding program has been so effective that taking care of caterpillars has become a full-time job.  With an entire life cycle of only about 45 days, turnaround times are quick.

The Honolulu Zoo has signed on to assist with the breeding program.  A new exhibit is set to open there this year which allows the zoo to assist in housing some of Hawai‘i’s rarest native invertebrates. Honolulu Zoo Curator and Conservation Chair, Laura Debnar said, “It was the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress that really led to this.”  An IUCN representative encouraged zoos to play a stronger role in conservation. We had a workshop last October, “With everyone from keepers, to groundskeepers, to concessions staff providing their feedback.”  She added,  “There was a very obvious consensus that we wanted to move in this direction of getting more involved in conservation in Hawai‘i.”

For King, this week’s release was the culmination of many years of dedication.  She commented, “This project is a perfect example of how we can use research, public engagement and partnerships to successfully conserve a species, before it’s too late.  We’ve had amazing support so far and look forward to working with any new partners that want to help us recover the pulelehua.”

Additional releases are planned for Sunday at the Maona Cliffs Restoration Area.

From a humble class project eight years ago to Earth Day 2017, the first wild release of an at-risk species, has been an exciting and interesting journey for the pulelehua.  Hawai‘i’s real-life butterfly effect.

To learn more about the Honolulu Zoo’s exhibit:

Aloha ‘Aina Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Admission is half-price for all Kama‘aina.

17th Annual Keiki Surf for the Earth Event is Tomorrow at Kohaniki

Tomorrow, Saturday, is the 17th Annual Keiki Surf for the Earth Event at Kohanaiki.  Sixty-four keiki, under age of 14, and their families are participating in this fun filled event.

Tomorrow – Hawaii Community College’s 24th Anniversary Earth Fair

COME ONE! COME ALL! It’s the biggest event Hawaiʻi CC puts on each year. The EARTH FAIR is our largest outreach to the people of the Big Island where we host them for a day of fun and educational activities and. This year there will be 50 + exhibits and more giveaways. Hawaiʻi Community College’s 24th ANNIVERSARY Earth Fair will feature an environmental presentation by Jesse Law – the Life Cycle of a Plastic Bottle.

The event goes from 9AM to 4:00 PM. Several schools will be participating in field trips in the morning, so the public should come at noon. There will be 50 BOOTHS AND EXHIBITS with ENTERTAINMENT and ACTIVITIES ALL DAY.

Featured performers are Hawaiʻi Community College’s Unukupukupu; Ukulele and Hula by students from Kua O Ka La PCS, Hawaiʻi Community College students in a Trash Fashion show, To’a Here Tahitian dancers, Tupalaga O Samoa Mo A Taeao -Samoan dancers, Japan Club dancers, music by Ras Sparrow, IBIS with Dave Seawater and One Journey. Students and visitors may participate in Face Painting, Crafts, Garden tours and Puppetry. Building 388-101 will be the venue for the showing of ENVIRONMENTAL VIDEOS, which will be available for the kids and for the general public.

The event is FREE and there will be many surprises and giveaways for school participants and the general public with bags full of gifts, plants, goodies, and informational brochures.

Hawaiʻi Community College Forest Team and Agriculture departments as well as and other native plant growers will donate over 1,000 FREE NATIVE TREE SEEDLINGS and edible herbs.. There will be FREE LEMONADE, FREE POPCORN, FREE FRUIT, COOKIES and many other giveaways available for fair attendees.

Parking is FREE at the Manono campus, and student volunteers will be directing visitors to the parking lots at the rear of Manono campus. The “Fair Grounds” are centrally located on the lower campus near the cafeteria and adjacent buildings. Booths and exhibits will give out important educational information to help make us all better Earth Citizens. This Celebration provides a great opportunity to share important environmental news and education with our island community. Plan to attend and help advertise the Fair to your family, friends, church, and organizations. For more information contact Roberta Brashear-Kaulfers at 966-7002 (brashear@hawaii.edu), or Larissa Leslie at 934-2732. Exhibitors may contact Graceson Ghen graceson@hawaii.edu. Thanks to our sponsors Hawaiʻi CC Student Life Council (SLiC), Hawaiʻi Community College Student Government (SG),and Creative Arts Hawaiʻi.

Come and enjoy yourself at Haw CC’s Earth Fair. Become more aware and dedicated to conservation and sustainability issues in your environment. This is Hawaiʻi CC’s signature even, so remember that it’s the College’s outreach to the community that sustains us. Let’s all work together to help make it great. See you at the Fair!