During each legislative session, Blue Planet Foundation works to set the clean energy agenda with our allies in key decision making positions.
As measures move quickly through the legislative process, we'll keep you posted on what's happening and why it matters. Sign up to receive updates on important energy legislation and opportunities to testify on key bills that will help Hawaii get to 100% clean energy faster.
While four Hawaii counties have signed a proclamation supporting 100% renewably-powered transportation by 2045, the path to achieve this goal is far from clear. This year, Blue Planet Foundation is advocating for clean transportation on two fronts: We are supporting policies that will phase out the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles in an equitable way. And we are promoting bills that will help build smart charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in multi-unit residential buildings and workplaces.
Solar water heating is recognized as a hugely efficient—and cost-saving—strategy for most homes. Since 2010, the state has
required solar water heating in all new homes. But this law has a variance process for rare exceptions where solar just doesn’t work. Unfortunately, this variance has been abused by developers, who continue to install inefficient and expensive fossil-fuel-powered water heaters in new homes, even in sunny locations. Blue Planet is advocating for policies that will close the fossil fuel loophole and protect consumers, while promoting the state's energy security and sustainability.
Energy efficiency is a cornerstone of the state’s clean energy transformation. Blue Planet is seeking two policy changes that will help overcome barriers to saving energy. First, we're seeking lighting and appliance efficiency standards (similar to California's) that will protect consumers from energy-wasting appliances. At the moment, many consumers in Hawaii inadvertently end up buying inefficient and more expensive lights and appliances due to a lack of such standards. Second, we're supporting policies that will require landlords to disclose monthly utility bills to potential tenants, so renters have a more complete picture of energy use and costs.
Blue Planet is calling for an official expiration date on coal power in Hawaii—the dirtiest and most polluting of all fossil fuels. We want to ensure that coal doesn’t have a place in Hawaii’s clean energy future and that Hawaii is truly “coal free” by 2023 (the last coal plant on Oahu is slated to be retired at the end of 2022). Although some might view this measure as merely symbolic, by putting a stake in the ground on coal, Hawaii can demonstrate national and global leadership on clean energy and climate action.
The latest IPCC report suggests that the true "cost of carbon" requires a carbon tax of upwards of $27,000 per ton by the end of the century. Hawaii currently has a barrel tax that equates to about a $2.40 per ton tax—clearly inadequate to capture the cost of carbon or to influence behavior. It's time for the state of Hawaii to pursue a carbon-pricing
strategy to accelerate our progress to 100% renewable energy. British Columbia currently has a broadly supported carbon tax ($32/ton), as do other places. Hawaii's strategy should include ample mechanisms to ensure that the new tax does not disproportionately impact low- to moderate-income residents.
We are advocating for a fix to the way our progress toward 100% renewable electricity is measured. At the moment, our metrics are distorted by not accounting for customer-sited clean energy generation that feeds the grid, by ignoring energy losses along the wires, and by giving fossil fuel gas generation a free pass. These distortions can be corrected—we believe 100% needs to really be 100%!