According to the Rocky Mountain
Institute, a Colorado-based energy conservation organization,
of Hawai‘i pays more for energy than any other state. Since
2002, with a steady increase in oil prices, Hawai‘i has
spent more than $1 billion on increasing energy prices, an
average of $1,850 per household.
In 2004, RMI released a study, entitled Winning the Oil Endgame,
which described a business strategy for ending U.S. dependence
on oil. The study included a detailed list of policy actions
that would assist society’s adoption of renewable energy
resources. Lingle incorporated many of RMI’s strategies
in the Energy for Tomorrow policy in order to encourage and support
the development of cost-effective, self-reliant renewable energy
technology in Hawai‘i.
Five major elements of Lingle’s energy plan are:
· Savings through Efficiency encourages homes and businesses design
standards to use energy efficiently
· Independence through Renewable Energy emphasizes the long-term
benefits of reducing the use of fossil fuels, by using local
renewable energy sources.
Fuels through Farming encourages the production of alternative “renewable” transportation
fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, and hydrogen.
· Security through Technology encourages residents and businesses
to seek ways to incorporate renewable energy into their homes
Empowering Hawai‘i’s Consumers details the long-term
cost benefits of using renewable energy and being a self-sufficient
On June 26, on Kaua‘i, Lingle signed Senate Bill
a law that emphasizes energy self-sufficiency by:
· Increasing the income tax credit for renewable energy technologies
for some solar-thermal, wind-powered and photovoltaic energy
systems. For single-family residential solar systems the dollar
cap is now $2,250, a 30 percent increase. Homeowners and businesses
that install photovoltaic systems can now claim up to $5,000,
a 240 percent increase. Developers of commercial wind-powered
and photovoltaic systems can claim up to $500,000, a 100 percent
Establishing a “pay-as-you-save” project for more
affordable residential solar hot water systems.
· Establishing a new statewide alternate fuel standard of 10 percent
of highway fuel in use by 2010, 15 percent by 2015, and 20
percent by 2020.
· Establishing a renewable hydrogen program by providing seed and
venture capital for investments in the research, development
and testing of hydrogen power.
· Providing funding to assist the farmers interested in producing
biomass energy such as bio-diesel and ethanol from agricultural
On June 28, in Hilo, Lingle signed Senate Bill 3185 into law;
as part of the Energy for Tomorrow vision, it emphasizes eneregy
savings and efficiency by:
· Authorizing the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to establish
and fund conservation programs that benefit the public support
of energy efficiency.
Authorizing the PUC to fairly distribute the cost of energy between
the public utility and its customers. Currently, with the rising
cost of oil, customers are absorbing the impact and the utility
is not. On Maui, homeowners have seen a 50 percent increase,
while residents of the Big Island and O‘ahu have experienced
an increase of more than 30 percent.
· Authorizing the PUC to establish penalties for failure to meet
Lingle said she would like to see Hawai‘i lead the country
in renewable technologies. Hawai‘i has numerous
renewable energy resources. The Puna Geothermal Venture
on the Big
Island and the Keheawa Wind Farm on the Island of Maui
are a examples
of successful renewable energy ventures, and Kalamalama
will look at these, and other sources.
Sources: www.heco.com; www.hawaii.gov; and www.gradingandexcavation.com.