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Feb 05
2013

Remember how hard we pushed together to pass on-bill financing two legislative sessions ago? We're pleased to announce that the PUC has determined it to be a viable program and initiated the process to make it a reality. Here's the press release we sent out today:

Public Utilities Commission sets landmark on-bill financing program for Hawai‘i in motion

The Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has issued an order that lays out the framework for an on-bill financing program for Hawai‘i residents and small businesses. On-bill financing will enable customers—including renters—to pay for energy efficiency devices and solar energy directly through their electricity bill using the cost savings over time. Blue Planet Foundation successfully advocated for the on-bill financing act at the legislature in 2011 that initiated the investigative proceeding at the PUC later that year. Since then, Blue Planet has been a vocal champion of the policy, serving as an active intervening party throughout the PUC's proceeding.
 
“On-bill financing opens the door for residents statewide to participate in Hawaii's clean energy future," said Jeff Mikulina, executive director of Blue Planet Foundation. "By eliminating the hurdle of unaffordable upfront costs, on-bill financing makes the benefits of clean energy accessible to those who stand to gain the most—those who can least afford it.”

The PUC's order determined that on-bill financing is a viable program for the state and specified key components to be included in the program’s design. The Commission also ordered the creation of a working group to finalize the details of the program and its implementation.
 
Decision highlights:
 
·      Solar photovoltaic, solar thermal water heating and all permanently installed energy efficiency improvements are eligible for financing.
·      Participants will be enrolled in the utility’s demand response programs to help enforce grid stability.
·      An energy audit should be required for participants. This will help prescribe efficiency measures that should be taken before installation of solar PV, and it will determine the size of the PV system that qualifies for financing.
·      The Public Benefits Fee Administrator, currently Hawaii Energy, will administer the program.
·      The working group will offer recommendations to select a financing administrator that has the flexibility of obtaining and distributing low-cost capital from various sources.
·      The financing is attached to the meter so that those making the payments will receive the benefits, and these benefits can be passed between successive occupants of a property.
·      Kaua‘i’s utility cooperative, KIUC, has been directed to create an on-bill financing program for its customers.

Blue Planet advocated for an expansive on-bill program that included energy-efficient appliances and all customer classes. Unfortunately, the PUC took a more narrow position, limiting the types of devices that would qualify for the program and restricting the program to residential and small business customers only.

“We’re disappointed that the Commission didn’t see the value in including all businesses and other commercial customers who face the same challenges to accessing clean energy,” Mikulina continued, emphasizing the need to create a scalable program that can have an even greater overall impact.

He added, “On-bill financing is the kind of smart, innovative solution we need to simultaneously bring economic relief to ratepayers and accelerate our transition to a fossil-free future.”

***

Residents and small businesses will be able to finance solar directly on their utility bills? Sunny and Flare do the dance of joy!


 

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In other news...

 

Jan 11
2013

Stay tuned! We're compiling the appendices for our renewable tax credit study, peer-reviewed and updated from last spring with comprehensive analysis and demographic information on PV adopters. Meaty stuff.

Nov 07
2012

Here's a ranking of Hawaii's largest carbon polluters. Note that the top 3 sources pollute as much as the next 21!

Nov 05
2012

A photo journal of the eviction of the Riverdale mobile home park residents in north-central Pennsylvania. From the most excellent website "BURN":

The Riverdale mobile home park used to sit on the banks of the Susquehanna River in north-central Pennsylvania. It housed working families with modest incomes. Earlier this year, all the Riverdale trailer families were evicted to make room for a pump station and pipeline that would move Susquehanna water to fracking sites elsewhere in the state.

Some from Riverdale went willingly. Some did not. Some stayed to fight the evictions. Everyone shared in the hardships. The disruption unsettled families and undermined their support networks as they wondered what to do and where to go.

BURN host Alex Chadwick visits the stories of Riverdale with free lance photographer and Pennsylvania resident Lynn Johnson, who works on assignment for National Geographic.

Check it out here.

Oct 08
2012

Let’s call LNG what it is. LNG is a fossil fuel, just like oil and coal. It’s 90-percent methane (CH4), a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Hawai‘i Gas likes to call methane a “cleaner-burning fuel.” But that handy phrase hides the fact that methane leaks out of the ground during drilling (hello, fracking) and that fossil fuels are consumed to ship it across the sea. LNG is liquefied methane. It’s not clean. It’s not renewable. It’s not local. It’s not sustainable.

Read the rest of our commentary posted at Civil Beat.

Aug 15
2012

Thanks to all the inspiring (and scary) superheroes who came to the rescue of Hawaii nonprofits at the Yelp Helps! event at the Hawaii Food Bank. Without the generous support from our volunteers, we wouldn't be able to reach as many communities with our programs.

Jul 31
2012

On Aug. 11, Yelp Helps is throwing an "Everyday Heroes" bash to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism in Honolulu. The event takes place at the Hawaii Food Bank. Registered participants will be able to sample tasty eats, mini cocktails, and spa treats as they walk around and learn about the good work of 20 local nonprofits that rely heavily on the service and generosity of volunteers. The party is free if you RSVP. Here are the details:

Feel like you could save the world but haven't quite been able to take the leap? Well, you don't have to be able to fly like a rocket or walk through walls in order to do a heroic deed! Volunteering in the community makes a huge impact on the lives of those in need and Yelp is making the call to anyone who wants to take action and be transformed into an everyday hero through Yelp Helps!

You're invited to join us for the YELP HELPS "EVERYDAY HEROES" KICK-OFF PARTY which brings YOU together with stellar Honolulu non-profits in need of support and volunteers! Dress up in yelpy super hero attire and enjoy tasty bites from local restaurants, imbibe on delicious beverages, chillax with spa treats, experience musical entertainment, live performances and more! Enter our yelpiest super hero contest and visit our charitable friends for your chance to win roundtrip airfare courtesy of Alaska Air!

What's even better? This party is FREE (w/ confirmed RSVP) and a canned goods or $5 suggested donation to the Hawaii Foodbank!

YELP HELPS "EVERYDAY HEROES" KICK-OFF PARTY @ THE HAWAII FOODBANK
Location: Hawaii Foodbank (2611 Kilihau Street)
Date: Saturday August 11, 2012
Time: 7:00 pm-9:00 pm
Attire: Super hero themed costumes or yelpy party attire
Parking: Street parking or valet (More info to come)
Cost: Free w/ confirmed RSVP & a canned goods or $5 suggested donation to the Hawaii Foodbank

SORRY KIDS, THIS EVENT IS STRICTLY 21+! No ID, no entry.

***YELP ELITES - Please RSVP via the Yelp Elite calendar at http://www.yelp.com/elite or you will not be on the early entry list.
_________________________ _________________________ ______________________

NO DAY OF AT THE DOOR ENTRY, you must RSVP in advance and received an EMAIL CONFIRMATION. We'll begin sending out email confirmations on Wednesday August 1st.
_________________________ _________________________ ______________________

HOST VENUE  & CHARITABLE PARTNER:
The Hawaii Foodbank (http://www.hawaiifoodban…)

PROMOTIONAL PARTNERS:
Alaska Air (http://www.alaskaair.com/)
Star 101.9 (http://www.star1019.com/)

INCR-EDIBLES & BEVVIES:
Aloha Beer http://www.alohabeer.com/
Aloha Pops & Aloha Ice Cream Tricycle http://www.yelp.com/biz/…
bambuTwo Cafe + Martini Lounge http://www.yelp.com/biz/…
Hawaii Bitters http://www.hawaiibitters…
Hard Rock Cafe http://www.yelp.com/biz/…
Hawaiian Cheesecakes http://www.yelp.com/biz/…
Hokulani Bake Shop http://www.yelp.com/biz/…
ING Direct Café http://www.yelp.com/biz/…
Jamba Hawaii http://www.jambahawaii.c…
Kai Vodka http://www.kaivodka.com
Mac 24/7 http://www.yelp.com/biz/…
Otto Cake http://www.yelp.com/biz/…
Paul's Poppers http://www.yelp.com/biz/…
Tiki's Grill & Bar http://www.yelp.com/biz/…
Uncle Bo's Pupu Bar & Grill http://www.yelp.com/biz/…
Via Gelato http://www.yelp.com/biz/…

INSPIRING SPA TREATS:
Face Art Beauty http://www.yelp.com/biz/…
Lena's Fab Brow's http://www.yelp.com/biz/…
Bliss Mobile Spa http://www.yelp.com/biz/…

STUPENDOUS ENTERTAINMENT:
RAW Artists Honolulu http://www.rawartists.or…
Photo Ops Hawaii http://www.yelp.com/biz/…
Mobile Gamer Guys http://www.yelp.com/biz/…

The restaurant and beverage sponsors taking part in the soiree are sampling *bites and sips*, and most definitely not supplying a full-on feast. Please don't be "that guy" with the full plate while someone else walks away without even a nibble. It's tacky, yo.

Here's all the amazing non-profits you'll get to meet:
Aloha United Way & Society of Young Leaders
American Lung Association
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu
Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii
Blue Planet Foundation
Family Programs Hawaii
Family Promise of Hawaii
Hale Kipa, Inc.
Hawaii Foodbank
Hawaiian Humane Society
Honolulu Habitat for Humanity
HUGS
IHS, The Institute for Human Services, Inc.
Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services
Lanakila Pacific
Life Foundation
PATCH
Paepae o He`eia
RAW Artists Honolulu
Waikiki Aquarium

Jul 23
2012

DBEDT recently updated their "Top 40" list of renewable energy projects that are currently underway or online. The largest is Kawailoa Wind, a 69 MW wind farm on the North Shore of O‘ahu that will produce enough energy to power 14,500 homes. On the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative website, you can also find Hawai‘i renewable energy projects mapped by island.

Jul 09
2012
Four panels discussed hot topics at this year's Hawaii Clean Energy Day at the YWCA. The issues?

-- Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) – Transitional fuel or replacement to oil?
-- Undersea Cable - Will it work? Is it worth it?
-- Is locally sourced biofuels a reality?
-- Hawaii’s Energy Efficiency & Solar Industries: Rising or setting?

The event was hosted by the Hawaii Energy Policy Forum with support from Blue Planet Foundation, Hawaii Energy, Hawaiian Electric Company, DBEDT and Think Tech Hawaii. Thanks to all the speakers and attendees!

Photos of the event are posted here .
Jun 12
2012
Ivory's editorial piece on the benefits of smart meters was published in Kaua‘i's The Garden Island newspaper on Monday. Explaining how the smart grid works can turn into a pretty in-depth conversation, but that doesn't mean it's hard to understand or that it's conspiratorial. For those who prefer simplicity, here's the 5-7-5 version.

Let them do their job

Smart meters do what?
Measure electricity?
Oh, that’s what they’re for.

Burning down the house

Smart meters cause fires?
No, poor wiring causes fires.
Power 101.

Why baseload is so big

It’s frickin’ hot out!
Everyone cranks the A/C.
Gotta have power.

Demand response, part one

Someone needs extra
Borrow from ova’ dea
No need burn more oil.

Demand response, part two

Clouds wen’ block the sun?
Then unplug things for a sec.
No need burn more oil.

Time-of-use rates: You choose

Cheap nights and weekends?
Rollover power minutes?
Plug-all-you-can-plug?