Hawaiian Electric Industries Contributes $250,000 for Hokulea’s Historic Voyage

The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) has been awarded a five-year, $250,000 grant from Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) and its related companies American Savings Bank,  Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Electric Light and Maui Electric to support its historic voyage, Malama Honua (care for the Earth), a five-year, around-the-world odyssey by long-distance canoes Hokulea and Hikianalia.

PVS has been awarded a five-year, $250,000 grant from Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) to support Hokulea. Standing left to right are: Jenna Ishii (PVS), Nainoa Thompson (PVS), Rich Wacker (American Savings Bank), Connie Lau (HEI), Dick Rosenblum (Hawaiian Electric) and Clyde Namuo (PVS). Photo credit: Oiwi TV.

PVS has been awarded a five-year, $250,000 grant from Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) to support Hokulea. Standing left to right are: Jenna Ishii (PVS), Nainoa Thompson (PVS), Rich Wacker (American Savings Bank), Connie Lau (HEI), Dick Rosenblum (Hawaiian Electric) and Clyde Namuo (PVS). Photo credit: Oiwi TV.

HEI’s grant will help to document the voyage and collect, interpret and share scientific and cultural data for a global audience. While Hokulea is the traditionally navigated voyaging canoe using ancestral knowledge and signs of nature to navigate the ocean, Hikianalia is the ecologically friendly and high-tech support canoe powered by photovoltaic panels, electric motors and sails with satellite communications capability. The two vessels will bridge culture, tradition and indigenous knowledge with modern technology while they serve as platforms for exploration, communication and connection.

“We are proud to be a part of this extraordinary journey which will build relationships across the globe,” said Connie Lau, HEI president and CEO. “We applaud PVS for their efforts to foster culture, education, exploration and sustainability as we share the same commitment to make Hawaii and the world a better place for our children and generations to follow.”

American Savings Bank plans to further support Hokulea awareness and fundraising efforts in their marketing and public relations activities, as well as tie in to their Bank for Education program which promotes excellence in education. The Hawaiian Electric Companies also are partnering with PVS to raise awareness. The Companies are interested in the efforts of the solar- and wind-powered vessel Hikianalia which will capture and use data to provide curricula and lesson plans directly from the voyaging canoes to classrooms in Hawaii.

“We are grateful for the strong partnerships with individuals, businesses and organizations like Hawaiian Electric Industries who share our values and vision for the Worldwide Voyage,” said Nainoa Thompson, PVS president.  “HEI’s contribution will help assure a sustainable future that honors the health and well-being of our islands, oceans, culture and people.”

“Hokulea’s historic voyage reminds us of our host culture’s courage and knowledge as well as our willingness to embrace the future,” added Alan Oshima, president of HEI’s Charitable Foundation. “We think the attention that will be given to the two canoes and their crews will inspire us to overcome challenges, hopefully inspiring new leaders.  For these reasons, we are proud to support Malama Honua.”

State Reaches Settlement with Hawaiian Electric Company

As island families and businesses continue to face high energy prices, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced a settlement between the State of Hawaii and the Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (HECO) that will result in the withdrawal of a rate increase request for Hawaii Island and a significant reduction in taxpayer dollars requested to cover project costs.

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Subject to approval by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the formal settlement filed with the PUC on Jan. 28 outlines an agreement between the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’Division of Consumer Advocacy (DCA) and HECO, including its subsidiaries, Maui Electric Co., Ltd. (MECO) and Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. (HELCO), which serve Maui County and Hawaii Island, respectively.

“With high oil prices driving up electricity and other costs throughout our economy, we have to take action to help Hawaii’s families and businesses who are struggling to make ends meet,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “While this settlement will help in the short-term, we remain committed to pursuing long-term solutions toward clean energy alternatives.”

As part of the settlement, HELCO will withdraw its request for a 4.2 percent or $19.8 million rate increase in 2013.

HECO and its subsidiaries will also reduce by $40 million the amount being sought for improvements to two major projects –the 110-megawatt biofuel generating station at Campbell Industrial Park and a new customer information system.

In addition, HECO will also delay filing a 2014 rate case that was originally scheduled to be filed this year under the current regulatory framework for reviewing its rates.

DCA Executive Director Jeffrey Ono said: “This settlement will benefit consumers and help reduce the ever-increasing cost of electricity.”

UPDATE:

HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC COMPANIES’ STATEMENT REGARDING SETTLEMENT WITH HAWAII CONSUMER ADVOCATE

We believe the rate case settlement agreement we reached with the Consumer Advocate is fair and recognizes how difficult times are for our customers. High fuel prices are continuing to affect our customers and hurt our state’s economy.

If this settlement is approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, it would allow all of the parties involved to focus their resources on increasing the use of local, renewable energy and other options that can help reduce our state’s dependence on oil and decrease energy costs for our customers.

Survey Shows Support for Aina Koa Pono

Media Release:

Aina Koa Pono (AKP) received support from Hawaii Island residents in a recent survey, but a larger number revealed that many are still unaware of the company and its Kau project.

The survey results were released today to coincide with the Hawaii Public Utilities’s Commission hearings on Hawaii Electric Light Company’s request for approval of the biofuels contract.

Aina Koa Pono is proposing a biorefinery in Kau which would produce 24 million gallons of biofuel annually—16 million gallons will be used at HELCO’s Keahole power plant and eight million gallons will be distributed by Mansfield Oil for transportation, with preference to Hawaii. When completed, AKP can supply 18 percent of the island’s power needs from renewable resources.

“Hawaii Island residents were surveyed because we wanted to get a sense of the level of acceptance and support for the Kau project,” said Chris Eldridge, partner of AKP. “What we learned was that while there’s support, we need to do more education and outreach.”

AKP engaged SMS Research and Marketing of Honolulu to conduct the survey. The survey, taken in September and October, found that 85 percent support “developing more renewable energy sources for the Island of Hawai‘i.”

The Kau project would provide “base load” electricity, which is essentially steady electricity, as opposed to other alternatives such as wind or solar, which are intermittent and depend on weather conditions.

Aina Koa Pono’s operation would initially convert invasive plant species, coconut husks and macadamia nut hulls to biofuel using Microwave Catalytic Deploymerization (Micro Dee). Microwave technology has been successfully and safely used in the herbal extraction and pharmaceutical industries for decades.

SMS Research has served organizations in Hawaii for more than 50 years.

The research also indicated that a large minority Hawaii Island residents do not know enough about Aina Koa Pono or its project.

SMS Research found that only 10 percent of those interviewed knew about the Aina Koa Pono project when asked on an unaided basis. Of the residents who knew of the project, 65 percent support the project compared to 16 percent who do not.

A description of the project was provided to all respondents and when asked whether they favor or oppose the project, 56 percent stated they were in favor of the project as compared to 11 percent opposed— a 5-to-1 ratio. 33 percent stated they did not know enough about the project.

“We have been meeting with folks in Kau and will be increasing our outreach to the community so they are aware of our project,” Eldridge said.

Excluding those who do not know enough, the support for Aina Koa Pono development is strong in the areas of safety, keeping money in the State, additional jobs, revitalization of Hawaii’s agricultural industry, reduction of electric bills for Island residents, and more.

Again, excluding those who do not know enough, some of the concerns with the project include the perception that Aina Koa Pono will be run by outsiders, may have some impact on traffic, biofuel will cost more to produce than imported oil, and the plant will be too expensive to build.

“Serious misinformation is circulating throughout the community. Aina Koa Pono is locally owned and the $450 million project is privately funded,” Eldridge said. “Eight to 12 trucks a week will deliver biofuel to Keahole. The project poses no financial risk to ratepayers, who pay nothing until the biofuel is produced and accepted by HELCO.”

The Aina Koa Pono project would increase electricity bills for HECO and HELCO customers by 84 cents to $1 a month for typical 500 to 600 kWh usage.

At the conclusion of the survey, participants were asked again the level of support or opposition to the development of the biofuel plant at Kau, a majority of 63 percent support versus 12 percent who oppose with 25 percent having no opinion.

The final report will be released by SMS Research shortly.

(Research Methodology: 303 interviews conducted between September 20 to October 3, 2012, margin of error is +/– 5.6 percentage points.)

Richard Ha on the Buy Out of Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.

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Friday, January 7th in a face to face interview with Eco Effect TV, Richard Ha confirmed that Roald Marth, Ted Peck, himself and several others are raising upwards of $2.5billion for an eco-friendly buyout of Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (HEI).

Richard sat down with Charlene Brown, producer of Eco Effect TV in Hawaii, to discuss how the new electric entity would create “A Sustainable Hawaii Now.” Richard is the new Chairman of Kū’oko’a Inc., Richard said that if the community got together and buys the old utility company electric rates would drop by 25 to 30 percent right away.

Kūʻokoʻa, according the company’s website is the Hawaiian word for independence, liberty, or freedom. Richard is committed rid the State of foreign oil – and oil period. Hawaii imports 90% of its energy from as far away as Vietnam (22%), Saudi Arabia (18%), Indonesia (10%), Brunel (8%), Thailand (7%), Libya (7%), China (4%) Oman (4%), Russia 4%) Alaska (3%) and others.

Hawaiian Electric Company declined to participate in the panel discuss and provided no response to the news of a friendly buyout, or any offer on the table. Sources say the forced buyout would be as a result of failed initiatives to get Hawaii Electric to cut fossil fuel energy supply and develop more clean energy sources already available on the Hawaiian shores.

Geothermal energy is abundantly available in Hawaii but is untapped on most of the islands. The Big Island gets a significant percentage of clean energy from geothermal, but development has been stagnant for much of the past decade.

Currently, Hawaii pays $8.5billion per year to import crude oil. Transportation accounts for 62% and electricity accounts for 33%. Richard and the gang plans to take over Hawaii Electric Industry and keep that extra $8.5 billion at home, putting money back into the pockets of farmers and locals. Ha runs a 600 acre farm on the Big Island. Hamakua Springs already has plans to go off grid with geothermal energy supplied onsite the farms.
The Hawaiian Islands are warmed from live volcanic activity below the surface, creating quite a bit of steam that can be immediately converted to electricity – no coal, no oil. Richard says after buying out Hawaii Electric he will begin weaning Hawaii of milking the oil barrel in about two years.

Video produced by www.freedomriding.com

Aina Koa Pono Awarded Sustainable Biofuels Contract from Hawaiian Electric Co. and HECO’s Response

Media Release:

‘Āina Koa Pono announced today that it has been selected as the recipient of a sustainable biofuels contract from Hawaiian Electric Company. This partnership will be essential in helping Hawaii reach its clean energy goal of meeting 70 percent of its electricity and ground transportation needs from clean, renewable energy sources by 2030. ‘Āina Koa Pono – which means “for the good of the land” in Hawaiian – unveiled plans to establish a 13,000 acre Energy Farm in the Ka‘ū District of Hawai‘i Island on farm land that has been fallow for 14 years. By early 2013 the Ka‘ū Energy Farm will produce biofuels that will contribute to help increase energy independence, stabilize energy prices, help revitalize a fading agriculture industry and generate hundreds of much-needed jobs for the Ka‘ū community, which was hit hard by the economic recession.

‘Āina Koa Pono is a Hawai’i-based company co-founded by local business developers Dr. Melvin H. Chiogioji and Kenton Eldridge. The company is dedicated to the development and implementation of renewable energy solutions using innovative and proven technologies. ‘Āina Koa Pono estimates it will create a minimum of 300 construction jobs over the first two years and ultimately more than 100 permanent operation and farming jobs.

“The time has come to take a bold step toward establishing a self-sustaining energy future for our state and we are excited and honored to be selected by Hawaiian Electric Company to produce biofuels for Hawai‘i,” said Dr. Melvin H. Chiogioji. “This partnership is critical in helping Hawai‘i reduce its reliance on imported fossil fuels and expand our state’s green energy initiative.”

“We are very pleased to award this first contract as a result of our request for proposals for locally grown and processed biofuels to be used in our power plants on Hawaii Island, Oahu and in Maui County,” said Hawaiian Electric Executive Vice President Robbie Alm. “We look forward to a long and productive partnership.”

‘Āina Koa Pono will invest approximately $320 million in the Ka‘ū Energy Farm, to cover the costs of building a cutting-edge processing facility as well as planting and harvesting bio-feedstocks including sweet sorghum and eucalyptus. The Ka‘ū Energy Farm will be located on private land under long-term lease agreements with the Olson Trust and the Mallick family.

The Ka‘ū Energy Farm bio-processing plant will use the latest biomass conversion technology to transform plant matter – including unwanted invasive plant species – into usable energy products including biofuel, electricity and gasoline. ‘Āina Koa Pono is designing the plant to produce 16 million gallons of renewable biofuel. Construction of the Ka‘ū Energy Farm is scheduled to begin in the first quarter 2012, initial fuel delivery will take place by mid-2013 and the processing facility will be up to full commercial operation by the third quarter 2013.

Another goal for the Ka‘ū Energy Farm is to integrate land use for fuel and food agriculture to enhance – not harm – Hawaii’s environment. ‘Āina Koa Pono will support existing and new local food-related operations including cattle ranchers, coffee producers, macadamia nut farmers and tropical fruit producers by providing a market for and processing non-food by-products such as green waste into usable liquid fuels. In addition, ‘Āina Koa Pono will cycle bio-feedstock crops in a traditional manner to optimize land use and restore soils.

‘Āina Koa Pono’s core team is comprised of several companies experienced in designing and construction power and processing facilities including Mele Associates, Inc., Eichleay Engineers of California, Inc., Tek Gar and Bionics Fuel Technologies AG.

For more information about ‘Āina Koa Pono, visit www.ainakoapono.com.

About ‘Āina Koa Pono

‘Āina Koa Pono is a Hawai‘i-based company working to develop and implement new energy solutions to reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels. ‘Āina Koa Pono means “for the good of the land” in Hawaiian, the company specializes in design and construction of integrated processing facilities which will work with local businesses to produce bio-feedstocks to create energy products such as biofuel, electricity and gasoline. The ‘Āina Koa Pono team consists of several companies committed to the creation of clean, renewable energy in Hawaii, including Mele Associates, Inc., Eichleay Engineers of California, Inc., Tek Gar and Bionics Fuel Technologies AG.

Hawaiian Electric’s Response:

Today, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (HEI) (NYSE: HE) issued the following statement in response to media inquiries regarding the potential interest of a private investor:

As a publicly traded company, we have a fiduciary obligation to our shareholders, customers and community to consider any valid proposal to purchase our company. If we receive a formal proposal, we will evaluate it, but we have nothing to date. We were contacted by Mr. Marth for the first time last night by email, but have had no discussions. As a matter of policy, HEI will not comment further on the existence or consideration of an offer in the event we receive one.

Better Place, Sheraton Waikiki and Hawaiian Electric Partner on EV Charge Network in Hawaii

Media Release:

Better Place announced today the start of its initial deployment of EV infrastructure in Hawaii, with the launch of a project to incorporate its electric-vehicle infrastructure in Honolulu, in partnership with Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts’ Sheraton Waikiki Resort and Hawaiian Electric Company. The project will start with a small number of charge spots in Waikiki and around Oahu and includes seven electric vehicles. Better Place will manage the charging of the vehicles via a network operations center located in Palo Alto, California.

“Hawaii’s commitment to being a world leader in renewable energy, as demonstrated by the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, aligns very strongly with our mission to help end the world’s reliance on oil,” said Jason Wolf, Vice President of Better Place’s North American Operations. “This project marks the beginning of our initial, pre-commercial infrastructure deployment in Hawaii. It supports the state’s goal of leading the nation in renewable energy use, which Better Place will integrate into the grid via electric cars.”

Better Place was among five clean-energy companies awarded funding from the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture (HREDV), a project of the local nonprofit Pacific International Center for High Technology Research that allocates U.S. Department of Energy funds.

“The role of HREDV is to accelerate commercialization of these clean-tech projects so that private investors and customers can follow with increased confidence,” said HREDV project director Maurice Kaya. “The winning companies showed how their technologies could be game-changers in Hawaii and demonstrated strong technical and management expertise to execute the projects and manage federal funds…”

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