Catharine Lo

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Jan 21
2014
State of the State Address

Gov. Neil Abercrombie delivers the 2014 State of the State Address at 10am on Tuesday, Jan. 21. Read the transcript.

Interisland cable public hearings: Tuesday, Jan. 21 (Honolulu) and Thursday, Jan. 24 (Kahului)

OAHU: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, 6 pm at Farrington High School Cafeteria (1564 North King St., Honolulu)

MAUI: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, 6 pm at Pomaikai Elementary School Cafeteria (4650 S Kamehameha Ave., Kahului)

Local industry news

Star-Advertiser: Incentivize car sharing

Star-Advertiser: Pace of solar system installation is slowest since 2010

Civil Beat: Hawaii solar sales continued strong growth in 2013

PBN: Hawaiian Electric says solar PV installations rose 40% in 2013

PBN: NextEra Energy plans large solar farm on Dole Food Co. land in Hawaii

Star-Advertiser: Firm allowed to shield data on wind project

Hawaii News Now: State: Cable will save consumers $423 million

Star-Advertiser: Undersea cable linking Maui, Oahu electric grids would save money

Civil Beat: Plans for Oahu-Maui grid connection raise questions about Lanai

PBN: Solar gardens can make everyone a winner

PBN: Energy Excelerator captures top talent to support new Hawaii startups

PBN: Solar gardens can make everyone a winner

Jan 13
2014
Interisland cable public hearings: Tuesday, Jan. 21 (Honolulu) and Thursday, Jan. 24 (Kahului)

OAHU: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, 6 pm at Farrington High School Cafeteria (1564 North King St., Honolulu)

MAUI: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, 6 pm at Pomaikai Elementary School Cafeteria (4650 S Kamehameha Ave., Kahului)

2014 Hawaii Legislature

Opening Day is Wed., Jan. 15. Blue Planet Foundation's legislative priorities for the 2014 legislative session can be found here.

Renewable Portfolio Standards

Public Utilties Commission Report to the 2014 Legislature on the PUC Review of Hawaii's Renewable Portfolio Standards

Local industry news

Star-Advertiser: Add space between people and wind turbines, firm told

Star-Advertiser: Regulator sets hearing on proposed Oahu-Maui power cable

PBN: Honolulu rolling out bike-sharing program by next year

PBN: Hawaii Energy reports let residents compare electricity usage to neighbors

PBN: Hawaii Natural Energy Institute installs PV systems at public schools

Civil Beat: Energy legislation focuses on Hawaii's clean energy obstacles

Star-Advertiser: Wind farm firm to bring doctor to meeting

Star-Advertiser: Daimler considers car-sharing in the isles

Civil Beat: Hawaii car sharing aims for a sustainable future

Jan 05
2014
Legislative briefing on energy issues: Friday, Jan. 10, 2014

The Hawaii Energy Policy Forum is hosting an energy briefing at the State Capitol Auditorium on Friday, Jan. 10, at 10 am. Scheduled to speak are Mark Glick of the State Energy Office, PUC Chair Mina Morita, Senate Energy Committee Chair Mike Gabbard, and Scott Seu from HECO.

Community meeting on Na Pua Makani Wind Farm: Friday, Jan. 10, 2014

Champlin Hawaii Wind Holdings is gathering information to prepare a Draft EIS for their 45 MW wind project in Kahuku. This second public meeting will take place at the Kahuku Community Center (56-576 Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku) on Friday, Jan. 10 from 6:30pm to 8pm.

Carsharing informational briefing: Monday, Jan. 13, 2014

The Hawaii Energy Policy Forum is hosting an information session about carsharing in Hawaii at the State Capitol Room 325 on Monday, Jan. 13, from 11:30am to 1pm. Members of a panel discussion will include: Jeff Mikulina from Blue Planet Foundation, Shem Lawlor from the City and County of Honolulu, John Foy from Enterprise Car Share, Walter Rosenkranz from Car2Go, and David Jung from EcoCab. Crysttal Atkins from the Hawaii Energy Policy Forum will moderate the discussion.

Interisland cable public hearings: Tuesday, Jan. 21 (Honolulu) and Thursday, Jan. 24 (Kahului)

OAHU: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, 6 pm at Farrington High School Cafeteria (1564 North King St., Honolulu)

MAUI: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, 6 pm at Pomaikai Elementary School Cafeteria (4650 S Kamehameha Ave., Kahului)

Decoupling (Docket 2013-0141)

Filing, Jan. 7: Blue Planet Foundation's Reply Statement of Position on Schedule A Issues

Local industry news

Star-Advertiser: PV projects' decline enters eighth month

Star-Advertiser: Hawaiian Electric has plans to build power plant on post

PBN: Oahu solar PV permits decline for eighth straight month

PBN: Hawaiian Electric files EIS notice for 50MW biofuels power plant at Schofield Barracks

Garden Island News: The real cost of opting out of KIUC smart meters

PBN: Blue Planet Foundation sees Hawaii energy 100% renewable by 2050

Civil Beat: Kahuku wind developers to host public meeting

Civil Beat: State regulators to host public meeting on Maui to discuss interisland grid

Star-Advertiser: Better batteries will boost PV use

Star-Advertiser: Batteries put to test in PV plan

Dec 30
2013
Undersea Interisland Cable

The Public Utilities Commission has announced public hearings on the undersea cable proposed to link Oahu and Maui:

OAHU: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, 6 pm at Farrington High School Cafeteria (1564 North King St., Honolulu)

MAUI: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, 6 pm at Pomaikai Elementary School Cafeteria (4650 S Kamehameha Ave., Kahului)

Local industry news

Star-Advertiser: Batteries put to test in PV plan

Star-Advertiser: Pellets pitched as fuel for Oahu

Garden Island News: Vote yes for KIUC rate fairness

Garden Island News: Vote yes on smart meter ballot

PBN: Kauai Island Utility Cooperative mailing ballots on smart meter opt-out fees

Bloomberg: Utilities feeling rooftop solar heat start fighting back

PBN: Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority hires execs to oversee $20M in new projects

PBN: Hawaii PUC plans meeting to discuss undersea cable between Oahu, Maui

PBN: First Wind's Kahuku Wind Farm still not back up to speed

PBN: 'The Energy Excelerator' video will be shown at Waimea Ocean Film Festival

Dec 23
2013

Decoupling (2013-0141)

Filing, Dec. 20: Blue Planet Foundation's Statement of Position on Schedule A Issues

PPA Approval between HELCO and Hu Honua Bioenergy: Decision and Order No. 31758

On Dec. 20, the PUC issued its approval of a Power Purchase Agreement for Renewable Dispatchable Firm Energy and Capacity between HELCO and Hu Honua Bioenergy. It is notable that while the PUC approved this renewable generation, it comes with strings attached: HELCO must also provide a Power Supply Improvement Plan to retire fossil generations and increase the incorporation of other renewables through storage and demand response. Many of the PUC's directives were informed by the RSWG (Reliability Standards Working Group) process that Blue Planet was heavily involved in.

Key points of the order:

-  The Commission approved the PPA with a levelized energy payment rate of 25.3 cents, noting that it will provide “firm, dispatchable, renewable energy [and] ancillary services” (see p. 48). It will also provide economic benefits to HELCO ratepayers (see p. 50).
 
-  The Commission orders HELCO to file a Power Supply Improvement Plant within 120 days of this order, which shall include (i) a fossil generation retirement plan, (ii) a generation flexibility plan, (iii) a must-run generation reduction plan, which will analyze the “costs of HELCO’s current must-run designation policies,” and (iv) a generation commitment and economic dispatch review, which shall include a description of the “methodology by which HELCO incorporates energy storage or demand response” into its economic dispatch process.

-  The Commission cautions HELCO that it "must not accord preferential treatment to utility-owned generation resources versus Independent Power Producers where the IPPs are more fuel-efficient and economic than utility generation." (See p. 110.)

-  The Commission concludes that "HELCO should re-examine its existing generation unit commitment and economic dispatch practices to ensure that: (1) the selected mix of firm and as-available resources will minimize energy costs; (2) non-traditional sources of ancillary services, such as energy storage and demand response, are considered and, if lower-cost, utilitized to supply these services; and (3) curtailments of renewable energy resources, where necessary, are accomplished in a cost-effective manner from the perspective of ratepayers." (See p. 112.)
 
-  The Commission concludes that “HELCO has the responsibility to make major changes to both its existing fossil generation portfolio and its current power supply operational practices in order to reduce power supply costs and to provide significant customer rate relief.”  (See p. 120.)
 
-  HELCO must plan to “expeditiously retire older, less efficient fossil generation, reduce must-run generation, increase generation flexibility, and adopt new technologies such as energy storage and institute operational practice changes, as appropriate to enable integration of a diverse portfolio of additional low cost renewable energy resources that are uniquely available on the Island of Hawaii.” (See p. 120.)
 
-  The Commission notes that it seeks actionable strategies and implementation plans rather than “numerous technical analyses that conclude additional studies are required.” (See p. 121.)

Denial of biodiesel supply contract between HELCO and Aina Koa Pono-Ka‘u: Decision and Order No. 31759

-  On Dec. 23, the PUC issued its denial of a biodiesel supply contract between HELCO and Aina Koa Pono for approximately sixteen million net United States gallons annually of locally-produced biodiesel over twenty years. As stated in the order:

The commission, based on its extensive review, finds and concludes that HELCO and HECO have not met their burden of proving that the subject contract is reasonable and in the public interest. The commission's decision is supported by the findings and conclusions set forth in this Decision and Order, including, but not limited to, the following:

1. The contract price for the AKP-produced biofuel is excessive and not cost-effective at present and for the foreseeable future, and thus, is unreasonable and inconsistent with the public interest.

2. The commission's approval of the contract will likely require that HELCO dispatch its Keahole combined cycle generation units in an uneconomic fashion (i.e., in uneconomic dispatch mode), and thus, the contract has the potential to displace or curtail more economical, existing renewable energy resources or restrict the additional of other new low-cost, fixed price renewable energy projects.

3. The evidence regarding the external benefits of the AKP Project is not sufficient to support a finding that the contract is reasonable and in the public interest.

HELCO's Geothermal RFP

Notice from HELCO re: RFP for 50 MW of Dispatchable Renewable Geothermal Firm Capacity Generation, Dec. 20: "After careful review of all geothermal bids, Hawaii Electric Light has determined that none of the submitted bids sufficiently met both the low-cost and technical requirements of the Geothermal RFP. We are currently working with the Independent Observer to develop a request that will be sent to the bidders. The request will give the bidders the opportunity to provide additional information so that we can make an informed decision that is in the best interests of our customers and residents and that meets the goals of the Geothermal RFP. These goals include lowering customer bills, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, allowing for continued integration and management of intermittent renewable resources, maintaining reliability of service, and protecting the health and safety of the public and environment. We appreciate the efforts the bidders have made to date and look forward to working with them and the Independent Observer on next steps." 

Local industry news:

SF Chronicle: Officials say Big Island biofuel plan too costly

PBN: Eight new projects make the Hawaii Clean Energy Leaders list

Star-Advertiser: PUC blocks HELCO buy of biofuel, citing cost

Star-Advertiser: Biofuel firm says HELCO contract not needed for plan to work

Civil Beat: Hawaii regulators approve Big Island biomass plant

Pacific Business News: Aina Koa Pono's supply contract with HELCO denied—again

Hawaii Tribune-Herald: HELCO: Bids don't meet requirements for geothermal contract

Pacific Business News: PUC OKs Hu Honua Bioenergy's contract with Hawaii Electric Light Co.

Scientific American: A solar boom so successful, it's been halted

International Business Times: Solar power growing pains: How will Hawaii and Germany cope with the boom in alternative energy?

Dec 18
2013

Jeff's remarks from this morning's press conference:

We commend the Governor, his team, Johnson Controls, and all who worked to make this record-setting energy savings project a reality. Projects of this scale require not only the vision, but hard work, collaboration, and innovative financing to make them work—so our congratulations to all for putting the pieces together.

This project will have a large solar component, but I’d like to highlight the energy savings aspects of these improvements. We know the cheapest electricity is the electricity you don't buy. We like to joke that energy efficiency isn’t a free lunch—it’s a lunch you are paid to eat.

Now energy efficiency is not only the cheapest, but it is also Hawaii's cleanest and fastest new energy resource.

Now we hear a lot about the great progress that Hawaii has made with renewables, like wind and rooftop solar. But guess what? The largest source of clean energy in the past year wasn’t wind, or solar, or geothermal—it was energy efficiency. That’s exactly how we need to view energy savings—as a new energy resource, one we harvest just like the sun or the wind.

As my mother used to remind me, a penny saved is worth two in the bush.

And we win twice with energy efficiency: every kilowatt hour avoided is fossil fuel that we don’t have to pay for—and carbon pollution that are children don’t have to pay for.

This airports project will demonstrate the power of efficiency in enabling high-impact facilities to improve performance while eliminating waste.

It is both suiting and symbolic for Hawaii's airports—the gateways for Hawaii residents and visitors—to be models of clean energy use. Again, Blue Planet applauds the Governor, his Administration, and the private sector partners who are making this record-setting energy savings project a reality.

Dec 16
2013
Dec 11
2013
Dec 03
2013
Nov 26
2013

Clearing the Path for Clean Energy