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Thursday, October 29, 2009
Clean Energy: Undersea power cable plans move forward
By News Release @ 6:52 PM :: 7059 Views :: Energy, Environment


Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative One-Year Progress Report

HONOLULU – The State of Hawai‘i today issued a request for proposal (RFP) from companies and other interested organizations to conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS) for an undersea power cable connecting the islands of Lāna‘i, Moloka‘i, O‘ahu, and Maui. 

The undersea cable, which would connect the islands into one electrical grid to allow the integration of renewable wind power generated in Maui County for transmission to O‘ahu is part of a comprehensive energy agreement signed one year ago between the State of Hawai‘i and Hawaiian Electric companies to move the state away from its dependence on fossil fuels for electricity and ground transportation. Partners in the agreement include the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), the Hawaiian Electric companies, the State Consumer Advocate and the U.S. Department of Energy. 

The State-Hawaiian Electric energy agreement is a critical component of the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), an unprecedented partnership formed in January 2008 between the State of Hawai‘i and the U.S. Department of Energy to work toward having 70 percent of Hawai‘i’s energy come from clean energy sources by 2030.

HCEI is focused on transforming the regulatory environment to facilitate clean energy development, collaborating with island utility companies to increase renewable energy generation and integrating renewable energy into utility grids.

“It has been a remarkable year and we need to continue to build upon HCEI’s success,” said Governor Lingle.  “As the most oil-dependent state in the nation, a clean energy future is no longer simply a desire, it is an absolute necessity.  The State-Hawaiian Electric energy agreement represents a bold step towards achieving energy security, and the progress made over the past year demonstrates that Hawai‘i can serve as a clean energy role model for the rest of the nation.”

“This one-year mark is a time for us to recommit to these critical clean energy goals.  This achievement – and achievements yet to come – depend on an unprecedented unity of purpose and willingness to cooperate among individuals, businesses, institutions and government in Hawaii,” said Hawaiian Electric Executive Vice President Robbie Alm.  “Whether oil prices go up or down, we must stay focused on making the long-term investments to get to a clean energy future.”

Steady Progress Toward Clean Energy Future

Over the past year, the partnership between the State and Hawaiian Electric has enabled Hawai‘i to take critical first steps in reforming the regulatory framework governing the existing electricity system. 

Several key reforms agreed to in the energy agreement have become active Public Utilities Commission (PUC) dockets, including feed-in tariffs and decoupling.

In September, the PUC issued its decision and order on the feed-in tariff principles, which provides a price guarantee for electricity produced by sun, wind and hydroelectric sources that Hawaiian Electric companies will pay for renewable energy fed into the electricity grid.  The set rate under the feed-in tariff provides an incentive for renewable energy developers to invest in Hawai‘i by creating certainty and transparency. 

In addition, Clean Energy Scenario Planning and Advanced Meter Infrastructure or “Smart-Grid” (planning ahead to enable more distribution of renewable energy on the grid) are among the other PUC proceedings underway.

Progress has been made on more wind-generated renewable energy such as First Wind’s Kaheawa wind farm on Maui that generates 30 megawatts of power on conservation land.  It became the first operating wind farm in the United States to have a habitat conservation plan.

Interisland Power Cable

As part of the HCEI, Governor Lingle also announced that DBEDT is moving forward with the request for proposals process for an EIS for the interisland power cable project. 

The EIS will consider the impacts from the installation, operation, maintenance, possible repair, and potential long term development envisioned for the interisland power cable, mitigation strategies, and alternatives.  It is a structured public process enabling the communities and other stakeholders to understand the impact of the undersea cable.  Contract award is expected by the end of the calendar year.

“The interisland cable project is an important piece of infrastructure needed to achieve the goal of the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative of 70 percent clean energy by 2030,” said Governor Lingle.  “We are committed to making sure all environmental, economic, cultural and community issues are fully addressed.”

For more information on the RFP go to:  

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HONOLULU—Governor Lingle announced today that the Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) and Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) will conduct energy efficiency and renewable projects funded by more than $6 million in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funds from the U.S. Department of Energy.  This is part of the economic stimulus American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) passed by Congress earlier this year.

The DHHL will utilize $3 million through its Ho‘omaluo Energy Policy program, which outlines five key objectives to achieving healthy, self-sufficient and thriving communities.  DHHL plans to upgrade the energy efficiency of about 400 homestead homes with solar water heaters and compact fluorescent lamps.

“This will help reduce household electricity bills for our homesteaders by about 30 percent per year, or five barrels of oil per year per household,” said Kaulana Park, DHHL chairman.  “In August, DHHL signed a formal energy partnership charter with Hawaiian Electric companies that will benefit native Hawaiian homesteaders and support Hawai‘i’s clean energy goals through the development of affordable, energy self-sufficient and sustainable communities.”

In addition, $3 million will go to DAGS to install photovoltaics on state buildings as part of its statewide energy savings performance contract. 

“We estimate that each 100 kW photovoltaic system will generate about 167,446 kWh of electricity, and a cumulative reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of at least 320,120 pounds in carbon dioxide equivalents per year,” said Comptroller Russ Saito. “This will enhance our already aggressive solar energy commitment and our ongoing work to make state buildings more energy efficient.”

Earlier this month, DAGS awarded a contract for the State Capital District, Energy Savings Performance Contracting project to Noresco, LLC an energy services company.  The project includes energy efficiency improvements to 10 State office buildings within the State Capital District, including the State Capitol, that comprise over 1.3 million square feet of building space.  The State Capital District project is expected to save over 6.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, reducing utility bills by 30 percent, which equals approximately $3.2 million per year in operational savings.

The planned energy projects are part of the State’s continuing efforts to make State office buildings and facilities more energy efficient in order to reduce electricity costs and decrease Hawai‘i’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.

“The effort is an important component of the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative, which aims to have 70 percent of Hawai‘i’s energy come from clean sources by the year 2030, including 40 percent from renewable energy and 30 percent through energy efficient measures,” said DBEDT Director Theodore E. Liu. “We are engaged in both energy conservation and energy conversion efforts to make our state truly ‘Hawai‘i Powered’.”

“The Departments of Hawaiian Home Lands, Accounting and General Services and Business, Economic Development and Tourism are continuing to lead by example in the State’s pursuit of increasing energy security and independence for Hawai‘i,” said Governor Lingle. “These clean energy projects further support our five-point plan to stimulate Hawai‘i’s economy and create jobs by attracting investments in renewable energy and maximizing federal funding and partnerships for clean energy initiatives.”

Using DBEDT's latest job multiplier, the total energy and conservation block grant for Hawai‘i will generate about 124 direct and indirect local construction jobs, and add $5.7 million in direct and indirect income to Hawai‘i's economy.

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