Ige Signs Renewable Energy Bills

Governor David Ige has signed  four energy bills,  including one that could make Hawaii the first state in the Union to require utilities to generate 100 percent of their electricity sales from renewable energy resources. That bill, HB623, will phase in the use of renewable electricity sources until 100 percent of electrical utilities’ power output is generated from such sources by the end of 2045. Other bills would require the University of Hawaii to use renewable energy, would make it easier for consumers to purchase solar-generated power from sites away from their homes, and would create the post of state administrator to promote hydrogen-based energy technologies. The bills now become law.
“As the most oil dependent state in the nation, Hawai’i spends roughly $5 billion a year on foreign oil to meet its energy needs. Making the transition to renewable, indigenous resources for power generation will allow us to keep more of that money at home, thereby improving our economy, environment and energy security,” Ige said.
“Setting a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard will help drive investment in Hawai’i’s growing clean energy sector,” Luis Salaveria, Hawai’i’s director of the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, who noted “Our commitment to clean energy has already attracted entrepreneurs and businesses from around the world.”
“Renewable energy projects are already producing cheaper power than new fossil fuel projects in Hawai’i, and it’s only going to get cheaper as renewable technology advances, unlike fossil fuels which will only grow more expensive as they become more difficult to extract from a shrinking supply,” said Representative Chris Lee, Chair of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee. “The faster we move toward renewable energy, the faster we can stop exporting billions from our local economy to import expensive fossil fuels.”
Ige also signed bill SB1050, which will set up a framework to allow renters, condominium owners, and others to purchase electricity generated at an off-site energy facility, such as a large-scale solar farm. The new law will also provide relief to homeowners and businesses located on highly saturated circuits that cannot accommodate additional photovoltaic installations.
“As of March 2015, there are about 56,000 PV/Solar systems on rooftops. These folks are saving tremendously on their electricity bills. That’s great, but what about the 44 percent of Hawai’i residents who don’t own their homes? And those without roof space? SB1050 allows people to form a hui, find a piece of land, and purchase or lease however many PV panels they want and then get a credit on their electricity bill for the energy they produce. We spend $3-5 billion annually buying fossil fuels; this is an awesome concept that will keep some of the money here to help our economy,” commented Senator Mike Gabbard, who chaired the Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy when bill SB1050 was created.

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