Catharine Lo

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Jul 28
2014

Back by popular demand, here's a round-up of relevant industry news for the week of July 28, 2014.

On July 28, in accordance with PUC Order No. 32054 (filed April 38, 2014), Hawaiian Electric submitted its Integrated Demand Response Portfolio Plan (see Docket No. 2007-0341). Learn more about the PUC order here.

Local Industry News

7/29  PBN: Hawaiian Electric Cos expanding program that gives customers a credit for shifting energy use

7/29  PBN: Hawaii Gas seeking approval to bring in shipments of LNG from another supplier

7/29  PBN: Waikiki Seawater Air Conditioning project having tough time finding a site

7/28  Star-Advertiser: Isles takes the lead in capacity of PV power

7/28  Star-Advertiser: Wave energy comes ashore

7/28  PBN: French battery maker scores multimillion-dollar contract with Kauai utility

7/28  PBN: Honolulu looking to develop underutilized lands into renewable energy ventures

7/28  PBN: Why are Hawaii electricity rates still so high even after integration of renewables?

7/25  Greentech Media:  PV on Oahu: Solar shipwreck

 

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.

Jun 10
2014

There has been action on two programs that Blue Planet championed that will help increase the adoption of solar power and energy efficiency improvements for Hawaii homes and businesses. Last week, the PUC opened a docket to implement on-bill financing, which has been named "Hawaii Energy Bill Saver Program." And yesterday, the state filed two applications with the PUC to authorize the Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) program, which secures low-interest capital for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects through green infrastructure bonds backed by ratepayer fees (that are to be offset by a reduction in the public benefits fee that ratepayers are already paying).

Read the PUC filings here (if they don't load up, enter the docket number manually here):

Docket No. 2014-0129 Instituting a Proceeding to Establish and Implement an On-Bill Financing Program

Docket No. 2014-0134 Application for a Financing Order to Issue Bonds and to Authorize the Green Infrastructure Fee

Docket No. 2014-0135 Application for an Order Approving the Green Infrastructure Loan Program

Read news stories here:

Big Island Now: State asks PUC to Approve Solar System Loan Program

Business Week: Hawaii gov seeks clean energy financing approval

Star-Advertiser: Green energy funding sought

PBN: Hawaii green financing program heads to state regulators for approval

Press release from DBEDT: DBEDT Files Applications with PUC to Implement Green Energy Market Securitization Program

PBN: State regulators implementing "Hawaii Energy Bill Saver Program"

 

Jun 02
2014

Jeff Mikulina will be the guest speaker at June's Green Drinks pau hana on Tuesday, June 3 at reStyle in Kaka‘ako. He'll be talking about some Blue Planet initiatives including community solar and 100% renewable power for Hawaii. Hope to see you there! 

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.

 

 

May 02
2014

Public Utilities Commission

The PUC announced four key regulatory decisions on Tuesday, Apr. 29, outlining a proactive approach for Hawai‘i’s energy utilities to meet the increasingly urgent mandate for clean, local, affordable energy.

Summary of the orders filed:

1.    Order No. 32052 Rejection of the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) and Commission's vision for the future of the utility.

2.    Order No. 32053 Adoption of the findings of the Reliability Standards Working Group (RSWG). [Blue Planet led portions of the RSWG efforts.]

3.    Order No. 32054 Evaluation of the Maui Electric Company’s (MECO) System Improvement and Curtailment Reduction Plan and order for MECO to file a Power Supply Improvement Plan within 120 days

4.    Order No. 32055 Specific policy guidelines regarding the standards to be met by the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ demand response programs

The Commission’s orders reflected its dissatisfaction with shortcomings in the development of a comprehensive long-term energy plan. Generally, the orders steer the Hawaiian Electric Companies down a path that strategically prioritizes cost-effective renewable resources. With the IRP order, the Commission also included a 30-page discussion that calls on the utility to modernize the generation system on each island grid expeditiously, create advanced transmission and distribution networks that can integrate more distributed energy, and comply with reformed regulatory rate structures that will better align the utility's business model with customers' interests and public policy goals.

Read the Star-Advertiser May 5 editorial.

Apr 28
2014

Community Solar

Senate Bill 2934 failed to pass out of conference committee by Friday's deadline. Blue Planet is currently looking into what happened, and urging legislators to do what they can to reconsider the bill. It appeared that there was agreement among the lead committee chairs and among most stakeholders including HECO, Blue Planet, and the PUC, and the bill did not require any budget appropriation, so it is perplexing that the bill did not advance.

At least 10 other states have already passed bills to act on community solar, which allows ratepayers to benefit from clean energy even if it is not located on their own roof. The concept has potential to directly address many of the issues we are facing in Hawaii. It can make clean, affordable energy such as solar power available to everyone, including residents and businesses:

 - in high-rise condominiums
 - on saturated circuits where the utility is no longer approving solar
 - who rent.

It can help with a near-term solution to address circuit saturation. It can accelerate a shift in the utility business model by making it profitable for them to use more clean energy. And it can debunk the misperception that distributed generation is unfair.

Going into the legislative session, clean energy, high electricity rates, and fairness among utility customers were critical policy issues before the legislature this session--and top of mind for constituents. Despite a growing frustration among voters, the 2014 legislature failed to pass substantive clean energy legislation to address these issues. Bills to address renewable energy curtailment, incentivize or mandate energy storage, reallocate the barrel tax, and set a 100% renewable energy goal all failed to advance. We are asking legislators to reconsider the merits of community solar and pass a measure that will accelerate our progress toward a clean energy future before the official end of the session next week.

Public Utilities Commission

The PUC announced four key regulatory decisions Tuesday, outlining a proactive approach for Hawai‘i’s energy utilities to meet the increasingly urgent mandate for clean, local, affordable energy.

Summary of the orders filed:

1.    Order No. 32052 Rejection of the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) and Commission's vision for the future of the utility.

2.    Order No. 32053 Adoption of the findings of the Reliability Standards Working Group (RSWG). [Blue Planet led portions of the RSWG efforts.]

3.    Order No. 32054 Evaluation of the Maui Electric Company’s (MECO) System Improvement and Curtailment Reduction Plan and order for MECO to file a Power Supply Improvement Plan within 120 days

4.    Order No. 32055 Specific policy guidelines regarding the standards to be met by the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ demand response programs

The Commission’s orders reflected its dissatisfaction with shortcomings in the development of a comprehensive long-term energy plan. Generally, the orders steer the Hawaiian Electric Companies down a path that strategically prioritizes cost-effective renewable resources. With the IRP order, the Commission also included a 30-page discussion that calls on the utility to modernize the generation system on each island grid expeditiously, create advanced transmission and distribution networks that can integrate more distributed energy, and comply with reformed regulatory rate structures that will better align the utility's business model with customers' interests and public policy goals.

Na Makani Wind Project Competitive Bid Waiver Application (Docket 2013-0423)

Order No. 32036 Approving with modifications, stipulated procedural order. In the Matter of the Application of Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. For Waiver of the Na Pua Makani Wind Project from the Framework for Competitive Bidding, and Approval of the Power Purchase Agreement for Renewable As-Available Energy with Na Pua Makani Power Partners, LLC

Local Industry News

PBN: KIUC to retrofit county street lights with more energy efficient lighting

PBN: Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning project gets funding extension

PBN: HECO looking for energy storage developers to build projects

Civil Beat: Abercrombie says Hawaii has crossed "the Energy Rubicon" on renewables

Hawaii News Now: Hawaii wants Hawaiian Electric to develop plans

KITV: Gov, PUC mandate HECO to modernize

PBN: Hawaii regulators not observing sufficient urgency by Hawaiian Electric Cos

KHON2: State orders Hawaiian Electric Companies to lower rates, connect more solar

Civil Beat: Community solar bill is another victim of legislative crunch

Star-Advertiser: Bill to expand solar power shelved

Star-Advertiser: Hawaii utilities rank highly for installations of PV systems

PBN: Hawaii to cut use of oil for power generation by half by 2020, new report says

KHON2 News: Refinery task force's final report outlines success, future issues

Star-Advertiser: Feds to spend $10M on wave energy prototypes in Hawaii

Star-Advertiser: New solar power guidelines issued

PBN: Hawaii ranks as one of the top states in the U.S. for solar energy

Apr 23
2014
Earth Day Community Clean Energy Rally

Mahalo to all the students and community members who participated in our rally at the Capitol: Farrington High School, Hongwanji Mission, ‘Iolani School, Le Jardin, Waialua Intermediate and HS, Nanakuli Intermediate and HS, Leilehua HS, and Hawaii Pacific University. You are the future! You have the power. Also, big thanks to our resident artists Drew Toonz and Michal Abramovitz and singer-songrwriter Aaron Domingo.

Community Solar

Senate Bill 2934 to establish a community solar program enters conference committee proceedings this week. Here is Blue Planet's memorandum to conferees as they hash out the most effective legislation for this program.

Local Industry News

PBN: Lawmakers can shine new light on solar energy

KHON2 News: Condo dwellers, renters may soon be able to invest in solar panels

Star-Advertiser: Solar survey blisters HECO

PBN: Poll: Residents think Hawaiian Electric slowing solar to protect profits

PBN: Energy Department identifies 31 Hawaii clean energy technologies and potential impacts to the envrionment

Civil Beat: Will HECO's plan for its own solar plant help or hurt Hawaii consumers?

KITV: Lawmakers provide clean energy financing for low, middle-income homeowners

Apr 21
2014

RALLY FOR COMMUNITY CLEAN ENERGY: EARTH DAY, TUESDAY, APR. 22

What: Community Clean Energy Rally

When: Tues., April 22, 10am to noon

Where: Hawaii State Capitol Rotunda

Who: 300+ students and concerned citizens for a future beyond fossil fuels

See you there!

Community Solar

Senate Bill 2934 to establish a community solar program enters conference committee proceedings this week. Here is Blue Planet's memorandum to conferees as they hash out the most effective legislation for this program.