Energy News

Aug 18
2014
Public Utilities Commission

On Aug. 21, the PUC filed Order No. 32269 Instituting a Proceeding to Investigate Distribute Energy Resource Policies (Docket No. 2014-0192). Download the filing here.

Local Industry News

8/22  Star-Advertiser: Dow Solar brings PV shingles to isles

8/21  PBN: Hawaiian Electric strikes deal with Canada's largest private utility

8/21  Star-Advertiser: Program pays cash for old refrigerators

8/20  Hawaii News Now: Expectations high for HECO energy plan

8/19  Energy Information Administration: Hawaii and US Territories aim to increase fuel diversity with LNG imports

8/19  Time Magazine: Why Hawaii wants liquefied natural gas

8/18  PBN: Oahu's solar PV industry continues slowdown on permitting side

8/15  PBN: Hawaii solar energy industry, Hawaiian Electric need to work interconnection issue out together, solar exec says  

8/15  PBN: Hawaii undersea cable unlikely to get support if Ige or Hannemann elected governor

Aug 13
2014
Aug 04
2014
Jul 28
2014
Jul 21
2014

The State Energy Office has released their most recent ranking of current clean energy projects that are leading the way in Hawaii's transition away from fossil fuels. As stated on their website: "Energy leaders have been identified based on public information about (a) their projected size, (b) status of permitting, (c) status of power or fuel off-take agreement, and (d) site control. Pertinent data comes from a variety of media including company press releases, company websites, newspaper articles, Internet publications, agency notices, and filings with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission." Here are the Top 10:

1. Honolulu Airport Emergency Power Facility / State Department of Transportation, HECO

2. Green Energy Agricultural Biomass-to-Energy Facility / Green Energy Team, LLC

3. Honua Power Project  / Honua Technologies

4. Hu Honua Bioenergy Facility / Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC

5. Hawaii BioEnergy Integrated Biorefinery Facility / Hawaii BioEnergy

6. Anahola Solar / Homestead Community Development Corporation, REC Solar, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative

7. Koloa (KRS2) Solar Project / Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, Grove Farm, SolarCity

8. IC Sunshine Solar Project / IC Sunshine, SunEdison, Axio

9. AKP Kau Renewable Fuel Facility / Aina Koa Pono

10. Schofield Generating Station Project / Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.

There's also a directory where you can search through renewable energy projects in progress.

May 30
2014

Applications open June 1

Our friends at Energy Excelerator will begin accepting applications for their 2015 cohort on June 1. They're looking for 14 startups—8 seed-stage (each will receive $75,000) and 6 growth-stage (each will receive up to $1 million, to be matched by private funding).

Who should apply? Startups with scalable solutions for:

A. Energy systems integration: Technologies and business models that promote systems thinking and advance clean energy across the whole system. These solutions can impact Hawaii and the Asia Pacific in four key areas - grid, transportation, agriculture, and water.

B. Energy systems resilience: Technologies and business models that build security and flexibility into our island systems. This includes both near-term physical security and long-term economic security.

Learn more at their upcoming info session at the M Nightclub on June 11 at 6pm or visit energyexcelerator.com.

May 05
2014

HECO just announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) for one or more utility-scale energy storage systems capable of storing 60 to 200 MW for up to 30 minutes. Storage solutions can help integrate variable sources of renewable power like solar and wind by instantly responding to fluctuations in supply.  HECO is considering best available technologies, including batteries, mechanical flywheels, capacitors, compressed gas, and pumped hydro. The goal is to have the storage system(s) in place in 2017.

Read more here.

 

 

Nov 05
2013

News round-up:

PBN: Hawaiian Electric seeks OK for 6 more renewable energy projects

Star-Advertiser op-ed by Alex Tiller of Sunetric: Solar gardens aim to offer PV for all

Star-Advertiser Letter to the Editor from Sen. Mike Gabbard: Bill would help cut electric costs

***

Integrated Resource Planning - Docket 2012-0036

Nov. 4: Zilkha Biomass submits comments stating that "Zilkha can provide a less expensive fuel than the options discussed in the IRP at a lower overall capital cost."

Sep 13
2013

Jeff's blog on Huffington Post:

"If the development of our indigenous energy resources proceeds expeditiously, the potential exists for Hawai'i to become self-sufficient in terms of our electrical energy and highway transportation fuel needs in the next 20 to 30 years..."

These words accompanied a 1977 plan for Hawai'i's energy independence by the year 2010. The plan--developed for the state senate by more than 100 Hawai'i experts--reminds us how elusive the goal of weaning Hawai'i from imported oil has been.

Not anymore. With a combination of smart policy, committed residents, and breakthrough technologies, Hawai'i is beginning to realize its potential for energy independence. The Hawaiian Electric Companies recently announced that they achieved almost 18% renewable energy for O'ahu, Maui, and Hawai'i Island in the first half of 2013--exceeding the 2015 requirement two years ahead of schedule. That's exciting progress.

Here are four current bright spots helping to drive Hawai'i's clean energy transformation:

Solar
You've seen the ads (BJ Penn?), you've heard from the neighbors, or maybe you've already bought--solar is everywhere. Tens of thousands of Hawai'i households have taken control of their energy costs by putting a personal power plant on their roof. The growth is staggering, with as much solar photovoltaic installed in 2012 as nearly all of the previous years combined. Growth has leveled somewhat due to unfortunate changes in how the state tax credit is administered, but competition, decreases in equipment costs, and new financing tools make solar more affordable than ever. Hawai'i also continues to lead the nation in solar water heaters per capita. What's more, thousands of residents work in the solar industry. Putting the sun to work means we exchange purchases of imported fossil fuel for local paychecks.

What's next? Community-based renewable energy, such as shared "solar gardens," to allow more residents (especially renters and apartment dwellers) to pa

rticipate in the benefits of solar.

Efficiency

Energy efficiency--the yin to solar's yang--is the cleanest, cheapest, largest, and fastest new energy source in Hawai'i. New energy source? Yes, energy savings from efficiency improvements (think LED bulbs, ENERGY STAR appliances, behavior changes) actually eclipsed the amount of new renewable energy installed in Hawai'i last year. Hawaii Energy--the efficiency "utility" for the Hawaiian Electric territory--offers sizable rebates for solar water, lighting, and high efficiency appliances. They also have aggressive programs to help commercial ratepayers cut their energy bills.

What's next? Demand response, or the ability to use communication technology to better manage power demand, can decrease energy use while enabling more clean energy. Non-essential uses of electricity can be momentarily dialed back by the utility, helping to match renewable energy supply with demand.

On-Bill Financing
Solar and efficiency are great, but both usually require upfront investment before the savings pile up. On-bill financing changes that. This new program will allow residences and businesses--including renters--to install energy efficiency improvements such as solar water heaters and pay for them using their energy bill savings. What's more, the governor enacted an innovative policy this year to secure low-cost capital from the private sector to help kick-start on-bill financing. Called "green energy market securitization (GEMS)," the program can provide attractive financing options to renters and low-income households that otherwise can't afford energy improvements.

What's next? Implementation of on-bill financing. The Public Utilities Commission established a working group that is currently hashing out program details for a scheduled start date in 2014. We need to make sure that the program lives up to its big potential, and is not whittled down to a "pilot."

Electric Vehicles
More than one-third of the oil we use in Hawai'i powers our cars and trucks--nearly half a billion gallons of gasoline and diesel annually. Fortunately, the rapid adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) promises to reduce this amount. Like solar, we are seeing a near doubling of the purchase of EVs annually. While we're not leading the globe in EV uptake (that badge likely goes to Norway, where over 3% of vehicles sold this year are electric), Hawai'i will have more than 2,000 registered EVs by the end of September. This number will continue to increase with a dozen new models hitting the market over the next year, expanding the range of options in price, size, and style. And that dreaded "range anxiety?" It's disappearing as battery capacity and performance rapidly improves, and Hawai'i leads the nation in the number of available charge spots per person. While most of the grid energy currently charging Hawai'i's EVs is fossil-based, EVs go further on a gallon of oil than the typical gasoline car. That's because they are more efficient, they capture the braking energy, and they don't waste gas idling. Plus, they become increasingly clean as more renewable energy is added to the grid.

What's next? Putting EVs to work as part of the larger clean energy ecosystem, storing energy and regulating fluctuations in variable renewable energy resources. This requires a smart grid, two-way inverters in the vehicles (to both charge and discharge batteries), and an intelligent networked system that seamlessly interacts with thousands of vehicles plugged into the grid.

These bright spots--the growth in solar, efficiency, and EVs, and the availability of new financing programs--are clearing our path to energy independence, and are drawing attention from communities elsewhere that are also transitioning to clean energy. As long as we don't fall into the same trap that slowed us down in 1977, we will continue to get closer to the day we no longer refer to it as alternative energy, and just call it energy.

Sep 06
2013

News from our friends at The Energy Excelerator... who recently received $30 million from the US Navy to help fund clean tech start-ups!

The Energy Excelerator is a startup program dedicated to helping solve the world’s energy problems, starting in Hawaii. Hawaii has the best economic conditions for launching a clean energy company on the planet. We would like to invite to you apply for up to $1M of non-dilutive funding to bring your energy solution to Hawaii and the Asia Pacific.

Here’s how it works:
1.       Apply today until September 27 at hawaiirenewable.com
2.       Begin with a full-immersion week in Hawaii to kick off a 6-month program for seed-stage startups and a 12-month program for growth-stage startups. You do not have to relocate to Honolulu, but you will spend 2 to 6 weeks in Hawaii over the course of the program.
3.       Non-dilutive funding up to $1M cost-reimbursable grants to growth-stage companies for projects in Hawaii or the Asia Pacific and $30K to $100K in fixed-price grants to seed-stage startups to develop and execute their go-to-market strategies.   
4.       Work with a core group of experienced mentors to refine and execute your go-to-market strategy.


 

To find out more check out the applicant package and visit our website, hawaiirenewable.com. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions: energy@pichtr.org or on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
 
We know energy innovation requires an entire community and we would love for you to be a part of ours.
 
Aloha,
The Energy Excelerator team

The Energy Excelerator is a startup program dedicated to solving the world's energy problems starting in Hawaii. We help innovative companies succeed in Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region with non-dilutive funding, strategic relationships, and a vibrant ecosystem. The Energy Excelerator is a program of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR).
 

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