Catharine Lo

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Nov 24
Nov 17
Local Industry News

11/21  PBN: eBay founder Omidyar's Ulupono Initiative new majority owner of Honolulu Seawater A/C

11/21  Star-Advertiser: Omidyar becomes majority investor in Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning

11/21  PBN: Sunetric has $25M of solar projects waiting for Hawaiian Electric approval

11/20  PBN: SolarCity, Hawaiian Electric reach agreement to study solar interconnection issues

11/20  PBN: Volta Industries adding two electric car charging stations on Maui, more on Oahu next year

11/20  Star-Advertiser: Nanakuli recycling facility is a big step for isle energy and economy, officials say

11/20  Utility Dive: SolarCity partners with HECO to study solutions to solar problems

11/19  Hawaii News Now: Housing tenants in Aiea feel sticker shock

11/19  Energize Weekly: What is LNG's role in Hawaii's power supply mix?

11/19  Star-Advertiser: Facility kicks off large-scale effort to turn trash into fuel

11/19  PBN: Hawaii Gas wants to keep HECO at a safe distance in LNG expansion project

11/19  PBN: Leeward Oahu landfill creating business for Aina Koa Pono, Honua Technologies

11/19  Greentech Media: Hawaii to test smart water heaters as grid resources

11/19  PBN: Hawaii's Ibis Networks expanding to help commercial customers cut energy costs

11/18  PBN: Electric and hybrid car sales continue to soar in Hawaii

11/17 Star-Advertiser: Charging station growth planned

11/17  PBN: Natural gas technology could save Hawaii billions over 20 years

Public Utilities Commission

11/14  On-Bill Financing (Docket No. 2014-0129): The PUC has released a draft of the Hawaii Energy Bill $aver Program Manual. Parties (including Blue Planet) to the docket will attend an informal technical conference on Nov. 19 and then submit comments on the draft.


Nov 11
Nov 02
Local Industry News

11/7  Star-Advertiser:  PUC denies HECO application for Kahe solar farm

11/7  PBN: Hawaii regulators deny waiver for Hawaiian Electric Co.'s $40M solar farm

11/7  Star-Advertiser: Review staff and duties of PUC

11/7  Star-Advertiser: HEI income takes 1 percent hit

11/6  Star-Advertiser: Hawaiian Electric's profit declines in third quarter

11/6  PBN: Hawaiian Electric Industries posts $48M Q3 profit

11/6  KHON2: New online tool reports real-time energy use on Oahu

11/5  PBN: Where does Gov.-elect David Ige stand on Hawaii's energy issues?

11/5  PBN: New website tracks Hawaii's renewable energy efforts

11/5  PBN: Forest City plans major solar farm in Central Oahu

11/5  PBN: Wind-powered ships planned for shipping between Hawaii and West Coast

11/4  PBN: Industry veteran has 'zero' faith in Hawaiian Electric's new rooftop solar plan

11/4  PBN: Hawaiian Electric expects to sign biodiesel contract by end of 2014

11/3  KHON2: Power source and cost for rail transit still unresolved

11/3  KHON2: Hawaiian Electric announces plan for approval of pending solar applications

11/3  Star-Advertiser: Hawaiian Electric PV backlog to be cleared

11/3  PBN: Hawaiian Electric to allow thousands more rooftop solar connections to grid

11/3  PBN: Experts question Hawaiian Electric argument on interconnecting rooftop solar

11/3  PBN: Makai Ocean Engineering secures major pieces of equipment for OTEC plant

11/3  PBN: Hawaii firm Tasos Inc. secures patent for water-to-fuel technology

11/2  PBN: Aaron Kirk resigns as president of Hawaii solar firm Sunetric

11/2  Star-Advertiser: Commission faces growing pressures

11/2  Star-Advertiser: Electric vehicles will save you cash down the road

Oct 27
Public Utilities Commission

The PUC will hold hearings this week on decoupling (Docket No. 2013-0141). Blue Planet is an intervenor in the docket and has invited Ron Binz, former Colorado Public Utilities Commission Chairman and Obama's nominee to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, to testify as an expert witness.

Local Industry News

10/31  PBN: Hawaii Gas investing $13M in LNG expansion project

10/30  PBN: Lowering electricity rates in Hawaii starts by substituting solar energy for oil, expert says

10/30  PBN: Hawaii Public Utilities Commission launches search for executive director

10/29  PBN: Goldman Sachs, Citigroup head up Hawaii's $150M green financing program

10/28  PBN: $5M hydrogen fueling station planned for Downtown Honolulu

10/28  Star Advertiser: CEO must transform HECO, rebuild community rapport

10/28  Utility Dive: HECO to add 50 MW fast-acting power plant to support solar integration

10/27  PBN: Do the candidates for Hawaii governor 'walk the walk' on energy issues?

10/27  PBN: Hawaiian Electric's business model makes sense for Hawaii, CEO says

10/27  Civil Beat: Storage is key to Hawaii's energy independence

10/27  Transmission & Distribution World: Hawaii Electric Light enacts lava flow plans

10/26  Intelligent Utility: Hawaii utility plans to keep lights on during lava flow

Oct 19
Local Industry News

10/23  KHON2: Local nonprofits meet fundraising goals via crowdfunding

10/23  PBN: Hawaii's SafeConnect Solar gets $500k from Energy Department

10/22  PBN: Sunetric declines to renew advertising contract with Volta Industries EV charging network

10/20  Star-Advertiser: Hawaii Gas fuel shift could mean lower bills

10/20  PBN: Public support for renewable energy in Hawaii highly favorable, new report says

10/19  Star-Advertiser: What's in the wind?

Public Utilities Commission

10/10/14  The Hawaiian Electric Companies filed their response to the Information Requests by the Public Utilities Commission regarding the Power Supply Improvement Plans. It is in two parts: Part 1 (89MB) and Part 2 (78MB). (You can also download these from the PUC's Document Management System by searching for Docket No. 2014-0183 and clicking the Documents tab.)

Oct 14
Public Utilities Commission

10/10/14  The Hawaiian Electric Companies filed their response to the Information Requests by the Public Utilities Commission regarding the Power Supply Improvement Plans. It is in two parts: Part 1 (89MB) and Part 2 (78MB). (You can also download these from the PUC's Document Management System by searching for Docket No. 2014-0183 and clicking the Documents tab.)

Local Industry News

10/17  PBN: Hawaii needs to be realistic about energy security

10/17  PBN: Hooked by the barrel

10/17  Star-Advertiser: Car sharing service has eyes on Hawaii

10/17  Star-Advertiser: Gas prices may continue to drop 

10/17  PBN: Hawaii Gas seeking regulatory approval to ship more LNG to Islands

10/16  PBN: Pacific Biodiesel back to fueling boats at Maui's Maalaea Harbor

10/16  PBN: Hawaii capital fund to raise up to $500M to fund solar projects

10/16  PBN: Hawaii's oldest renewable energy firm now owned by its employees

10/16  PBN: Minnesota wind energy firm looking to test technology in Hawaii

10/16  PBN: BAE Systems to equip new Honolulu buses with hybrid system

10/16  Star-Advertiser: Electricity bills decline for most isle customers

10/15  PBN: Patagonia partners with Honolulu capital firm to create $27M solar energy fund

10/15  Business Week: Patagonia will start paying for homeowners' solar panels

10/15  PBN: Hawaii Energy gives $70k incentive check to Four Seasons Hualalai for energy efficiency projects

10/15  Civil Beat: Hawaii governor candidates offer ideas to bring down energy costs

10/15  Star-Advertiser: Would-be governors agree on green energy

1015  PBN: Big Island of Hawaii's solar energy industry not cooling down

10/14  Hawaii News Now: Hawaii's high energy cost debated at gubernatorial forum

10/14  KITV: Candidates share their position on Hawaii's clean energy future

10/14  Star-Advertiser: For geothermal, safety comes first

10/14  PBN: Hawaii gubernatorial candidates split on support of LNG

10/14  PBN: Honoulu hires former Coldwell Banker exec to run city's Bikeshare Hawaii program

10/14  Utility Dive: HECO solar plans in question as second project drops out

10/13  Star-Advertiser: Core changes needed at HEI

10/13  PBN: Oahu's solar industry continues to cool down

Oct 06
Public Meeting

Hawaiian Electric has announced a public forum on Friday, Oct. 17, to talk about their demand response programs. It takes place at the Energy Excelerator office, 1000 Bishop Street, Suite 505. Validated parking will be available at Central Pacific Plaza (220 South King St.) and light refreshments and coffee will be served. You can register by calling (808) 543-4632 or email by October 14, 2014 with the names of those persons who will attend. More info here.

Local Industry News

10/10  KHON: Critics say HECO's electric grid isn't equipped to handle more solar

10/10  PBN: Another major Hawaii solar energy project canceled

10/10  PBN: Former Hawaiian Electric CEO to serve as special advisor to chairman of the board

10/10  Star-Advertiser: PUC is one issue avoided by candidates for governor

10/10  Star-Advertiser: New Tesla Model D touts supercar performance

10/10  Star-Advertiser: HECO energy plan criticized as archaic

10/9  Civil Beat: Solar darkness—is Hawaii trapped in a grim HECO fairy tale?

10/9  PBN: The word 'solar' no longer sexy in Hawaii, solar exec says

10/9  PBN: Google-owned Makani to test wind technology on Hawaii's Big Island

10/9  West Hawaii Today: Makani sets sights on Kohala site for new wind project

10/8  PBN: SolarCity launches loan program in several states, including Hawaii

10/8  PBN: Kauai utility testing LED street lights as part of larger retrofit plan

10/7  Star-Advertiser: HECO plan called 'unfair' in comment to utility board

10/7  Star-Advertiser: LED there be light: 3 share Nobel for blue diode

10/7  Star-Advertiser: Motorists must be cautious in bike track's green zones

10/6  Star-Advertiser: Warm weather appears tied to severe coral bleaching

10/6  PBN: Response crews continue clean up of oil spill in Hawaii waters

10/6  Star-Advertiser: About 1,200 gallons of oil and water spilled off Barbers Point

10/6  PBN: Hawaii Independent Energy works to clean up oily water spill off Oahu

10/6  PBN: Is billionaire businessman Warren Buffet interested in buying Hawaiian Electric?

10/5  Star-Advertiser: Surfer finds off-grid adjustment easy

10/5  Star-Advertiser: Power customers opt to go off grid

10/5  Star-Advertiser: Hawaii Energy offers tips to cut energy costs

10/3  PBN: Power shift: Hawaiian Electric Co. gets a new leader as it changes the way in which businesses and residents get their energy


Sep 29
Public Utitlies Commission
Through Oct. 6, the Public Utilities Commission is accepting public comments on the Hawaiian Electric Companies action plans. Learn more here.
9/26 The PUC has issued an Information Request to the Hawaiian Electric Companies regarding their submitted plans (Docket No. 2014-0183 – Instituting a Proceeding to Review the Power Supply Improvement Plans for Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc., and Maui Electric Company, Limited).
Local Industry News

10/2  PBN: New Hawaiian Electric CEO gets high praise from former colleagues

10/1  Star-Advertiser: PUC approves green energy program

10/1  Hawaii News Now: Maui official skeptical on future power plan

10/1  PBN: PUC gives green light on funding deployment for $150M for green finance program

9/30  Solar Industry Mag: Hawaii hopes storage will enable a multi-directional grid

9/30  Greentech Media: Can the Big Island of Hawaii get all of its electricity from renewables?

9/29  PBN: Hawaii Public Utilities Commission still facing staffing, office shortages

9/29  PBN: HECO negotiating with three battery energy storage developers

9/29  PBN: Major Hawaii geothermal project cut in half, switches areas on Big Island

9/29  Star-Advertiser: Energy storage alliances aim to cut costs

9/29  Utility Dive: Solar installers flee Hawaii as interconnection queue backs up

Sep 25

A few weeks ago, Hawaiian Electric submitted their proposed plans for the future of our electricity system. As the Public Utilities Commission reviews the plans, they have opened up the opportunity for the public to submit comments. Getting your opinion heard directly before the PUC usually involves participating in docket proceedings, requiring a combination of time, money, and an attorney. But for this issue, the PUC is asking for public comments directly, so we encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to speak your mind.

The deadline for comments is Monday, October 6, 2014. Options for submitting include:

1) Email to with the following subject line: "Public Comment – Docket No. 2014-0183 – PSIPs – [Your Name]" or "Public Comment – Docket No. 2014-0192 – DGIP– [Your Name]"

2) First-class mail to 465 S. King Street, Room 103, Honolulu, HI  96813

3) Hand-delivery to PUC office during normal business hours (Monday–Friday between 7:45am and 4:30pm)

4) E-filing

We've compiled a list of suggested comments below, but we greatlly encourage you to share your own opinions and stories with the PUC. This template provides a working format for a letter.

         Comments supporting some aspects of the plans:

  • I support a commitment to reaching more than 65% clean energy, and I believe that this shows that the current state target for renewable energy (40%) should be updated to reflect what is achievable with technology available today and in the future.
  • I support deactivating the existing oil-fired generators.
  • I support a preference for renewable energy with a known cost, over polluting fossil fuels and their volatile costs.
  • I support the use of energy storage and demand response to minimize the amount of fossil-fueled generation used on the electric grid.
  • I support using the electric grid as a way to deliver services to homes and businesses, and I believe that this is the only way for electric utilities to survive in the future. I support the installation of smart meters to achieve that goal.
  • I support the aggressive use of demand response to enable more renewable energy.
  • I support using more distributed energy, like rooftop solar generation.
  • I support more customer options and choices, like the option to sign up for community solar programs that make it possible for all residents to participate in rooftop solar energy.

Comments voicing concerns about some aspects of the plans:

  • I am concerned that the Plans propose to continue burning coal. This dirty fossil fuel has no place in our islands.
  • I am concerned with the plan to switch from oil to gas. How can a new fossil fuel be the answer to the problems with fossil fuels? I don’t want our islands to be stuck in the same place we are now, decades into the future. How can we be sure that gas is being used as little as possible, and be sure that if we import gas today, it will be replaced as soon as possible with real clean energy.
  • I want to see more solar, wind, geothermal, and ocean energy. I am concerned that the plan proposes only modest amounts of new wind energy. I am concerned that offshore wind energy, which is being used in other parts of the world, is not part of Hawai‘i’s plan.
  • I am concerned by an over-reliance on waste-to-energy and biomass burning as renewable options. While these can be a part of the energy solution, we should focus intensely on options like wind and solar power.
  • I am concerned about the plans for rooftop solar. Although tripling solar energy by 2030 sounds like a good plan, this is actually a substantial slow-down in solar installations. Consumers want rooftop solar, and the utility’s response to its customers should be to find solutions to make that possible, at a faster and faster rate.

Here are some other resources that may be helpful:

PUC Press Release Inviting Public Comment

Links to the HECO Companies' Action Plans

Blue Planet Foundation's Initial Response to HECO Companies' Action Plans

Many critical decisions will be made in the coming year that will determine the future of our energy system, its cost, and its impacts. Mahalo for taking the time to make your opinion heard!