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Hawaii sets bigger renewable energy goals, new initiatives  

Credit:  Duane Shimogawa, Reporter- Pacific Business News | Apr 2, 2015 | www.bizjournals.com ~~

The first version of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which was created seven years ago with the goal of achieving 70 percent renewable energy by 2030, and has officially ended, is being replaced by bigger goals and new initiatives.

Mark Glick, administrator for the Hawaii State Energy Office, told PBN Thursday that the new goal is the state achieving 30 percent renewable energy by 2020 and 60 percent by 2030, although a Senate committee has amended this benchmark to 40 percent.

“We had major policy shifts, including that it’s inappropriate to have [an] industrial-sized wind [energy project] on Molokai,” he said, noting that this was part of the original HCEI. “Because of [the major policy shifts], we said, effectively, that the agreement is moot because we have gone beyond that.”

Glick pointed out that it became clear that the state wasn’t pursuing a number of initiatives that it has gone beyond.

“We didn’t want to give anybody the impression that it affected the progress we continue to make at HCEI,” he said. “It has been a continuous process that has spanned three gubernatorial administrations.”

HCEI, which set the goal of the state achieving 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources and 30 percent from efficiency measures, makes way for the next set of initiatives, effectively being called HCEI 2.0 and beyond.

“This year, with the transportation [initiatives, among other things], we feel that we are beyond [HCEI] 2.0,” Glick said. “We really do believe that we are now in another stratosphere, in terms of grid management and working with [Hawaiian Electric].”

Hawaiian Electric, through a spokeswoman, told PBN that the goals its companies are committed to today far exceed those in the original 2008 agreement.

“By 2030, we expect to achieve 65 percent renewable energy (much greater than HCEI’s 40 percent), triple distributed solar like rooftop solar and reduce our customers’ electric bills by 20 percent,” Lynne Unemori, spokeswoman for Hawaiian Electric, told PBN in an email. “As just one example, the agreement included an estimate of 23-megawatts of solar on Oahu under the net energy metering program by 2015.”

When comparing that to what it actually achieved as a community, that figure pales in comparison to the actual amount.

As of the end of 2014, on Oahu it had 214 megawatts of solar under the net energy metering program.

“Today, we’re more committed than ever to a clean energy future that provides lower costs, reliable service and more choices and services that our customers expect and deserve,” Unemori said. “At the time it was signed in 2008, the HCEI Energy Agreement provided a groundbreaking impetus to accelerate our state’s move to clean energy. It approached the goal in a holistic way with a broad range of energy policies and programs that have now have largely been carried out, incorporated into law and/or superseded by new regulatory policies, new technology and changing conditions.”

Source:  Duane Shimogawa, Reporter- Pacific Business News | Apr 2, 2015 | www.bizjournals.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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