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 [email protected] 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)
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!