Hawaii Governor Promotes Renewable Energy Transition with New Laws

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Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed into law a package of bills that advance the governor’s priorities to fight climate change and transition to a clean energy economy as soon as possible. The bills signed into law are HB1800 (Act 238) – Relating to Climate Mitigation, HB1801 (Act 239) – Relating to Energy Efficiency, HB2089 (Act 240) – Relating to Renewable Portfolio Standards, and SB2570 (Act 241) – Relating to Zero Emission Vehicle Fueling Rebates.

“Last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting the federal government’s ability to fight climate change underscores why it’s so important for states to act and lead by example,” says Gov. Ige. “That’s why I’m proud to sign these four bills, as they ensure that Hawaii continues to move forward as a national and global leader in creating the strategies necessary to achieve a clean energy economy, being more energy efficient in state government, clarifying how we measure progress on renewable energy, and creating incentives for emerging technologies like hydrogen.”

By setting an interim target for 2030 to be at least 50% below 2005 emissions with House Bill 1800, Hawaii continues to set targets based on the science and in alignment with the U.S. and global commitments to act. The bill also requires and appropriates funds for the Hawaii state energy office to conduct a study to determine Hawaii’s pathway to decarbonization and identify challenges, opportunities and actions that will be needed to achieve those goals.

House Bill 1801 moves state government forward to lead by example on reducing energy costs by being more efficient. At a time when oil prices are going up, taking action to reduce electricity use in government saves everyone more money.

House Bill 2089 changes the way the state calculates its progress on switching to renewable energy. Up until now, it was based on sales, but with HB 2089, the state will focus on actual generation so that 100% means 100%. The purpose of this act is to amend the definition of “renewable portfolio standard” to more accurately reflect the percentage of renewable electrical energy generated in the state. It expands the events or circumstances that are beyond an electric utility company’s reasonable control to include non-renewable energy generated by electric generation facilities where the electric utility does not have direct control or ownership. It also requires electric utility companies to track and annually report data and trends on customer retention and attrition to further inform the calculation of the renewable portfolio standards.

Senate Bill 2570 provides incentives to further hydrogen vehicles on the road. This is especially important for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and semis and other emerging innovative transportation technologies. The public utilities commission, in consultation with zero-emission vehicle stakeholders and the Hawaii state energy office, shall administer a zero-emission vehicle fueling system rebate program that incentivizes the installation or upgrade of a zero-emission vehicle fueling system, as provided in this section, and may contract with a third-party administrator to operate and manage the rebate program. An applicant may be eligible for a rebate under the rebate program if the applicant installs a hydrogen fueling system; provided that it stores or dispenses only renewable hydrogen.

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