Hawaii Passes New Energy Policy

Posted: 06/27/2013  browse the blog archive
Hawaii Passes New Energy Policy

Hawaii’s governor Neil Abercrombie signed a progressive new energy policy into law today, reported the Honolulu Civil Beat website.  The new law, Senate Bill 1087, provides a financing plan geared towards renewable energy projects. 

The new bill authorizes Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission and the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to provide low-cost loans for green infrastructure equipment.  The new plan, called the Green Energy Market Securitization, will create a fund from which utility customers will be able to borrow to finance solar photovoltaic systems, energy-efficient lighting systems, and other environmental projects, as elaborated on the Honolulu Star Advertiser website.  The state will also issue bonds to help provide funding for the financing plan. 

The bill has many supporters, including Richard Lim, the head of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, who stressed the importance of democratizing green energy.  Lim was joined by Public Utilities Commission Chair Mina Morita, who emphasized the significance of the bill for thousands of people in Hawaii who struggle to pay the highest electric rates in the nation and thus can’t afford to implement renewable energy projects for their homes.  Although many renewable energy products such as solar panels would ultimately lower utility bills, the start-up cost bars many low-income Hawaiians from installing such products.

One of the ultimate goals of the new energy law is to reduce the state’s reliance on oil for electricity generation.  The governor hopes that many low-income homeowners, renters, and nonprofits will take advantage of this opportunity.  Although a few logistical details still need to be worked out before the program can be implemented, the Public Utilities Commission hopes to have the financing plan running by next year.

The Chanler Group is actively engaged in the review and analysis of incentive-based renewable energy programs to determine potential benefits to our clients.  Global energy consumption continues to increase each year and, with this increase, the demand for safe, clean, and unlimited energy is on the rise.  The Federal and State governments promote this interest through a variety of financially-beneficial incentives.  Our understanding of these laws allows us to guide homeowners, businesses, and/or developers through the various ways to take advantage of these incentive-based benefits.  With the appreciation that renewable energy laws and regulations are constantly changing, The Chanler Group is committed to investing in its understanding and practice of this area of law.