Recent blog posts
Dec 11
2013
Dec 03
2013
Nov 26
2013
Nov 12
2013

Energy news round-up:

The new face of HECO - Pacific Business News, Nov. 15

Solar Farm Surprise? HECO Won't Say Where It's Putting New Huge Energy Projects - Civil Beat, Nov. 12

Molokai Ranch plan for energy independence - Presented at Molokai Clean Energy Initiative meeting, Oct. 29

2013 Election Key Votes to Watch – Results - Sustainable Business, Nov. 12

Philippines blames climate change for monster typhoon - Grist.com, Nov. 11

Blue Planet filings:

1. DECOUPLING (2013-0141)

Nov. 12  Blue Planet's Statement of Position

2. Blue Planet was part of the Hawaii Refinery Task Force and submitted comments/revisions for the Draft Interim Refinery Closure Report prepared by ICF International. Our comments make the following key points:

  • The Draft Report Focuses on LNG, to the Exclusion of Other Market-Ready Options. The Draft Report Does Not Analyze the Impact of LNG on Refinery Operations. The Draft Report’s LNG Analysis is Flawed. The LNG Analysis and Appendices Should Therefore be Omitted.
  • The Draft Report’s discussion of environmental regulations is flawed.
  • Subjective Descriptions Must be Replaced With Objective Analyses.

View our comments 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."

Oct 04
2013

Blue Planet is proud to announce the upcoming launch of WEfficiency, a crowdfunding platform that enables supporters to fund energy efficiency purchases for their favorite nonprofits. Here's the beautiful twist: Funders will get their money back once the energy savings have paid off the cost of the purchase. Thanks to the "power of efficiency," every donation can be recycled into another! What better way to support Hawaii's nonprofits? If you know of a nonprofit that might be interested, encourage them to sign up today.

  The Concept: WEfficiency helps Hawai‘i nonprofits unlock the benefits of energy efficiency.

Through WEfficiency’s online crowd-funding platform, nonprofits will be able to secure pledges from a “crowd” of supporters to pay for energy efficiency upgrades—for example, solar water heaters, ENERGY STAR appliances, high-efficiency lighting—that will yield immediate monthly cost savings. When the crowd raises enough to fund a proposed efficiency upgrade, WEfficiency gathers the pledged support to make the purchase. The nonprofit uses a portion of its energy cost savings each month to quickly repay the crowd. Funders can choose to make a loan (the supporter gets his $$ back after the purchase is repaid) or double-down their donation (the funder recycles his $$ as a standard monetary donation). After the purchase is paid off, the nonprofit can devote its energy cost savings to furthering their good mission.

The Benefits. Participating nonprofits will see multiple benefits: 

1.     Save money. Monthly energy savings allows nonprofits to do more of the great work they do for our communities.

2.     Expand donor base. Efficiency uses innovative crowd-funding to engage a new type of donor – savvy individuals looking for a fresh way to be philanthropic.

3.     Earned media. WEfficiency has already enjoyed national recognition via the Clinton Global Initiative. The upcoming launch will combine the reach of traditional media with the engagement power of social media.

The Concept: WEfficiency helps Hawai‘i nonprofits unlock the benefits of energy efficiency.

For more information or to sign up, please contact David Aquino at david@blueplanetfoundation.org or call 808-954-6146.

Oct 03
2013

1. INTEGRATED RESOURCES PLANNING (IRP)

PUC filing: Blue Planet Foundation’s Reply Statement of Position on Integrated Resource Planning Matters

2. SOLAR BRIEFING AT THE STATE CAPITOL ON MONDAY, OCT. 14

The purpose of this informational briefing is to receive an update from the Hawaiian Electric Company on recent changes to its solar photovoltaic grid interconnection policies, the justification for the change, and how solar installers and consumers will be affected.

DATE:

Monday, October 14, 2013

TIME:

1:00 p.m.

PLACE:

Conference Room 325

State Capitol

415 South Beretania Street

The following organizations will give presentations:

·         Hawaiian Electric Company

·         Hawai‘i Solar Energy Association

·         Hawai‘i PV Coalition

·         Interstate Renewable Energy Council

 

Related news:

NET METERING

California's AB 327 Officially Signed into Law

COMMUNITY RENEWABLE POWER

Community Solar to Double Minnesota Solar Output

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 09
2013

Blue Planet is pleased to announce the first annual Energy Report Card for Hawai‘i. This morning, Blue Planet founder Henk Rogers introduced the report card during his keynote address at the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit. The data-rich, 42-page progress report provides a wide-angle perspective on Hawai‘i’s energy transformation, taking a look at five key metrics including Transportation, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Smart Grid, and Economics. Supporting drivers are also analyzed to identify gaps in current industry efforts, areas of success, and opportunities for improvement. In the 2013 report card, Hawai‘i receives an overall grade of C–.

Blue Planet developed the report card in response to the need for an objective examination of Hawai‘i’s progress to a clean energy future. The grades were determined as a reflection of the state’s progress toward the benchmark of energy independence by 2030.
 
Some highlights:

Positive performance in energy efficiency stands out as a bright spot, with per capita electricity generation dropping steadily below the target trend since 2008.

 
The report card also shows that transportation, which accounts for two-thirds of Hawai‘i’s fossil fuel consumption, remains an area that demands improvement. Land transportation offers the most immediate opportunities for reducing fuel consumption. Greater fuel efficiency, alternative fuels, lowering mileage, and electric vehicles all have roles to play. The key challenge is identifying substitutes for aviation fuels, highlighting the need to focus on local biofuels for transportation rather than electricity generation.

Blue Planet plans to update the Energy Report Card annually to keep progress toward energy independence on track and focus solutions in areas that need it most. We welcome your input to help make next year's report card even better. Questions and comments can be addressed to reportcard@blueplanetfoundation.org.

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).