Blue Planet Foundation-Legislative Advocacy

May 1, 2009 at 3:47 am Leave a comment

BLUE PLANET FOUNDATION:
Legislative advocacy

 
 
Blue Planet works to create systemic change in Hawaii’s energy system to build a clean energy future by shaping state laws and policies. Their website offers political participation in Hawai’i policy making to everyone. You can be at the table when critical decisions are being made through Legislative Advocacy, a perfect method to affect lasting change.

 
Measures to reduce Hawaii’s dependence on imported oil are moving forward at the state legislature after passing a key floor vote yesterday. Bills to prohibit future fossil fuel-burning facilities, create funding for clean energy projects from a small per-barrel surcharge, provide incentives for electric vehicle infrastructure—among other clean energy measures—will now likely go to a legislative conference committee where the details of the bills will be finalized. Those details are critical because the current forms of some bills fail to achieve their intent in fostering Hawaii’s clean energy future.

Significantly reducing Hawaii’s dependency on foreign oil will not happen this session unless legislators make significant amendments to measures before The policy choices before the legislature could not be clearer. They are either choosing to rapidly transition to local clean energy sources or they are choosing to continue our dependence on imported oil.

BLUE PLANET 12 PRIORITY MEASURES

• CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENT FUND
This measure provides for a surcharge on each barrel of oil imported into Hawaii to be used for energy security and other uses.  Blue Planet supports a $5 per barrel surcharge to provide significant funding for energy efficiency and clean energy investment. (HB 1271)

• NO NEW FOSSIL PLANTS
Prohibits the approval of any new or significantly expanded fossil fuel-fired powerplants in Hawaii. Fossil fuels are simply not part of Hawaii’s clean energy future.   (SB 1671; HB 1464)

• ON-BILL FINANCING FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Requires the public utilities commission to approve a program to allow for on-bill financing of energy efficiency and clean energy investments. Such a program would overcome the biggest barrier to such investments—the upfront cost—by allowing the costs to be paid off through the energy savings over time. (SB 1173)

• CLEAN ENERGY STANDARDS
Increases the required percentage of clean energy-produced electricity sold by utilities in the state. Clarifies that the clean energy standards can be met with mostly clean, indigenous, and renewable sources of energy. Blue Planet supports standards of 20% of net electricity sales by 2015, •    30% by 2020, 40% by 2025, and 50% by 2030. (SB 1258; HB 1464)

• STATEWIDE ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS
This measure directs the public utilities commission (PUC) to establish energy efficiency portfolio standards equivalent to 30% of the anticipated statewide electricity demand in 2030. (SB 1173; HB 1464)

• SOLAR ROOFS ACT AMENDMENTS
These measures amend last year’s landmark Solar Roofs Act—which requires that most new homes in Hawaii come equipped with energy- and electricity-saving solar water heaters—by clarifying that the tax credit for existing home retrofits remains and making other housekeeping amendments.  (SB 390; HB 1464)

• CLEAN ENERGY COST CAP
Removes a potential barrier to investment in new clean energy sources by allowing the public utilities commission to approve the purchase of renewable electricity that may be more expensive than the cost of fossil fuel-produced electricity. With the highly volatile price of petroleum, the “avoided cost” of fossil-produced electricity is difficult to calculate and makes long term energy planning difficult. (SB 461; HB 1270)

• ELECTRIC VEHICLE INCENTIVES
This measure originally provided various tax credit and rebate incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles or electric vehicle charge spots. Electric vehicles (EV) will play a major role in Hawaii’s energy independence by making use of clean, indigenous sources of electricity and serving as energy storage devices when they are plugged into the grid. Incentives are needed to overcome the “chicken and the egg” problem of customer EV adoption; if residents know that infrastructure is coming, they will feel more comfortable about investing in a vehicle. (SB 1202)

• RIGHT TO DRY
Ensures that Hawai‘i homeowners have the choice to save money and save energy by using a clothesline to dry their clothes. Disallows homeowner association codes and covenants that prevent the use of a clothesline. (SB 1338; HB 1273)

• OPENING UP THE GRID
Earlier versions of this measure expanded the successful net energy metering law to allow more clean energy customers to plug in to the grid. Under net metering, customers can run their power meter backwards as they send clean power to the grid (up to the amount of power they purchase over a one year time period). (SB 1675)

• INCREASING PRIVATE CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENT
This measure expands the class of investors who can use the renewable energy tax credit, thereby attracting much more investment capital to renewable energy in Hawai‘i. (SB 464)

• CLOSING THE FOSSIL FUEL LOOPHOLE
This measure closes a loophole in Hawaii’s existing Clean Air Act that allows large polluters to pay less per ton of air emissions they create as compared with smaller polluters. In establishing clean energy policies, one of the first places to fix is laws that provide a perverse incentive to do the wrong thing. (SB 1260)

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Entry filed under: Political Action, Recycling & Conservation, Renewable Energy, Solar Electric.

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