POSTED: 29 JANUARY 2008- 8:30am HST

HB 2863: A DBEDT Power Grab

image above: Bush/Lingle energy plan for Hawaii - "as green as a chartreuse Hummer"

[Editor's Note: Hawaii is now getting suckered by the Bush/Lingle team into a costly and disasterous energy policy through the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT).

The excerpts below are from the proposed HB2863 and indicate the heavy handed techniques of the Bush/Lingle Administration favoring their corporate darlings. Please read it and send your own terstimony on this issue.

Following that is testimony from Henry Curis on the bill that, like the Superferry special session legislation, is designed for the advantage of a specific private corporation.]

by Henry Curtis on 29 January 2008


Rep. Hermina M. Morita, Chair
Rep. Mele Carroll, Vice Chair
Email Testimony:

Rep. Ken Ito, Chair
Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu, Vice Chair
Email Testimony:

DATE: Thursday, January 31, 2008
TIME: 10:00 am
PLACE: Conference Room 312

HB 2863 is a bill that covers one and only one entity. Passing such a bill violates the state constitution. But the bill is written in such a way as to make it appear as a general purpose bill. [Click here for bill status HB2863 Status]

HB 2863 covers only renewable energy facilities that are 200MW or larger and their associated transmission lines. Only one such entity exists in the State. The proposed Castle and Cooke 300 MW wind farm on Lanai with an undersea cable to O`ahu.

DBEDT shall meet with the applicant before the applicant files for a permit, shall approve all state and county permits in one consolidated streamlined permit, will only hold a public hearing if mandated by federal law, will process the application concurrent to accepting the EIS. Contested cases are not permitted. PUC retains one right which is not relevant for this proposal.

This statewide grab for power and squashing of public involvement is arrogant, top-heavy, and mean-spirited. Renewable energy projects do not need to be exempted from all sane laws, rules and regulations. DBEDT should not be permitted to acquire such power. It is a conflict of interest for DBEDT to both be the permit issuer and a party in the PUC docket that is establishing conditions for selling the power generated. It violates the due process of the other dozen parties, including Life of the Land. It subverts the PUC wheeling docket. It is just plain wrong.

Henry Curtis: Executive Director Life of the Land
76 N. King Street, Suite 203
Honolulu, HI 96817
phone: 808-533-3454
cell: 808-927-0709



HB2863 Excerpts

"Renewable energy facility" or "facility" means a facility located in the State that is planned to have the capacity to produce from renewable energy at least two hundred megawatts of electricity. The term includes any ... energy transmission line from the facility to a public utility's electricity distribution system ...

The [DBEDT] coordinator shall: ... Accept a consolidated application ... for the approval of the siting, development, construction, and operation of a renewable energy facility ... Identify all state and county permits necessary for approval of the renewable energy facility ...

The coordinator shall establish a consolidated application ... the coordinator ... shall determine the terms and conditions to be imposed on the state permits to protect the public health and safety and promote the general welfare ... The coordinator shall make the determination for all county permits ...

The coordinator shall have ten days after receipt of the notification from the county agency to determine whether to accept or reject the amended terms and conditions of the county permit. ... If the coordinator rejects all or some of the amended terms and conditions, the coordinator shall approve the county permit with terms and conditions that exclude the rejected amendments ... state or county agency shall not be required to hold the public hearing unless required to do so by federal law ... all necessary state and county permits for which have been approved under this chapter, shall be deemed a permitted principal use on the land parcel upon which it is situated. The land use commission, department of land and natural resources, and the relevant county shall revise any state land use district map and county zoning map appropriately to reflect this status ...

Nothing in this chapter or chapter 343 shall prohibit the review and processing by the coordinator of applications for permits for a renewable energy facility concurrently with the preparation and processing by the applicant of an environmental impact statement for the facility ... Any person aggrieved by the approval of a state or county permit or term or condition of any approved permit may file an action for relief in the circuit court ...

The inapplicability of the use of contested case procedures pursuant to chapter 91 in the approval of any state or county permit pursuant to this chapter shall not be grounds for any judicial appeal ... The provisions of this chapter shall supersede any conflicting state or county law ... Contested case does not apply to the review, processing, or approval of state or county permits for any renewable energy facility under chapter .

image above: The real green Hummer from



POSTED: 30 JANUARY 2008- 7:30am HST

Plan to stampede Hawaii on bad policy

by Henry Curtis on 28 January 2008

This morning six people from the US Department of Energy (including the former chief of staff for the Heritage Foundation (right-wing think tank) met with Jennifer Goto Sabas (US Sen Inouye's Honolulu Chief of Staff) at the Moana Surfrider Hotel for breakfast (7-8 am)

Them at 10 am there was a US DOE - Hawai`i Press Conference. Speaking was the Gov, Senators Menor, Hemmings; Representatives Thielen, Morita. Hawai`i will be 70 percent renewable in 2030. No roadmap or plan laid out.

From 2-3 pm energy advocates and bureaucrats met.

HECO's Robbie Alm led off (the event was held in the HECO conference room in HEI's American Savings Bank Building).

Then Mike Hamnett (Hawaii Energy Policy Forum; Research Corp of UH) went: ''Its another chance to gather together energy advocates and find out whats going on''

Then US Dept of Energy's Alexander Karsner (DOE Asst Sec for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy) spoke: He stated that its a ''methodological system approach with measureable milestones and metrics'' a system built ''to scale, an intregrated closed loop system with a wormhole thru to the transportation sector'' that we need to be ''getting the rules set right, that is what catalizes the technology''.

California CAFE standards is "gaming the system rather than the nation moving as a whole'' and that the new national CAFE standards ''should alleviate the need to talk about efficiency stats at the local level because the [new standards] that's a big deal''. He noted that the MEM talks were ''setting forth an international accord that succeeds the Kyoto Protocol and implements the Bali Road Map.'' yada yada yada.

But for those who want to read the Memorandum Of Understanding at the website
Note the caveats in the appendix.

This evening President Bush in his state of the state called for more renewables: clean coal, nukes, advanced batteries, new fuels (biofuels).


Gather from 5-7 pm in front of the Capitol.
Gov Mansion reception for delegates

Henry Curtis: Executive Director Life of the Land
76 N. King Street, Suite 203
Honolulu, HI 96817
phone: 808-533-3454
cell: 808-927-0709



POSTED: 28 JANUARY 2008- 8:30am HST

Plan to make Hawaii energy-independent

image above: cartoon of Bush parting the sea by

An Unholy Alliance
by Joan Conrow on 27 January 2008 in

The wind is still blowing briskly, making it a great day for laundry, which is currently hanging on the line. As I waited for it to wash at the Laundromat, I sat and watched the sailboarders having a good old time in the wild, choppy eastside surf.

It seems like all that energy could be harnessed to serve up some electrical power to us insatiable humans, although the downside with wind farms is their ugliness and the toll they take on birds.

Still, those and other alternative energy projects are reportedly going to be heavily plugged here in the Islands under a new energy initiative between the state and federal government.

Gee, it sounds great at first blush, the thought of federal money pouring in to wean Hawaii from the fossil fuel feed trough, while showcasing models of alternative energy in the Islands.

So why am I suspicious?
For starters, it’s an initiative between the feds — you know, the same guys who still haven’t signed on to the Kyoto protocol and aren’t convinced of global warming and America’s need to help curb it — and our guv, who cannot by any stretch of the wildest imagination be considered a friend of the environment.

That’s why I was rather alarmed when I read this paragraph in a Star-Bulletin article on the initiative: The Energy Department has already begun requesting information. The agency says it wants to hear from financiers, developers and other stakeholders about what would be needed to "create an environment conducive to streamlined, cost-effective development and financing of clean energy supply, delivery and end-use projects in Hawaii."

In other words, what's needed to push these projects through without those costly, time-consuming, bothersome environmental reviews? We’ve already seen the Lingle Administration jam an “alternative transportation system” through without an EIS. Surely she could find political support for the same “streamlined” process by dangling the prize of federally subsidized “alternative energy” before the cowardly lawmakers who caved once, and a populace that pays more for energy than anyplace in the USA.

Why else would the feds be coming here? The Kansas City Star (see article below) offers this explanation: “It [Energy Dept.] also wants to find ways to tap into Hawaii’s unique resources to develop renewable sources of energy. These include harnessing the power of ocean waves, creating new biofuels based on algae or palm oil, and increasing the use of underground heat generated beneath the island state’s volcanoes.”

Now special as Hawaii is, there’s at least one other state with these same “unique resources,” including geothermal, which it gets from tapping geysers, and that’s California. That energy-sucking state has perhaps even more incentive than Hawaii to become energy self-sufficient, and indeed, Guv Arnold has taken more steps than Linda Lingle to get there.

So if this is such a great deal, why isn’t that Republican guv signing up his state? Could it be because California has much more stringent environmental regs than Hawaii — and lawmakers willing to ensure they're followed?

The Kansas City Star offers another motivation for the deal: “The Energy Department picked Hawaii for the initiative because of its … strategic location for national security….”

OK, now we’re getting somewhere. After all, the Pentagon’s plans to ramp up military operations in the Islands are going to use an awful lot of energy. Consider the high energy laser weapon they want to test at PMRF. It needs 30 megawatts of power, compared to the entire island of Kauai ‘s total energy requirement of approximately 70 megawatts.

Before we line up to accept the fed's money and expertise, which most surely will come with a price attached, we need to ensure that Hawaii’s environment and public health won’t be sacrificed along the way.

We also need to think about where all that energy will go. If it’s going to be used to subsidize more growth in inherently unsustainable industries like the military, tourism and luxury second-home construction, what’s the point?

When I talked to my neighbor Andy about this initiative while walking this morning, he recalled that when he was serving on the county planning commission, a developer came in seeking approval to build a hydroelectric plant on the Wailua River, promising to provide 10 percent of the island’s energy.

In voting against it, Andy recalls saying (and I paraphrase here): If it’s going to provide 10 percent of the island’s total energy needs, fine. But if the island just keeps growing and using more energy, soon that 10 percent will shrink to some meaningless percentage and we'll be right back where we started.

Except the Wailua River would be dammed, with all the associated environmental, cultural and aesthetic issues.

Sooner or later, we’re going to have to bite the bullet and deal with our over-consumption instead of desperately seeking new ways to keep on living the same old selfish, greedy, unsustainable way.

And in the meantime, let’s keep a close eye on this new unholy alliance between Lingle and the Dept. of Energy. Remember, it was her buddy John Lehman who predicted the Superferry would effect a paradigm shift in the way business is conducted in Hawaii.

Why would we possibly believe that Lingle would be any more sensitive to environmental concerns in pushing new energy projects that serve the very same military-industrial complex?

Plan aims at making Hawaii
nearly energy-independent

by Bob Keefe on 27 January 2008 in The Kansas City Star

Federal and state energy officials are planning a major investment in new technologies in an attempt to make Hawaii the nation’s first state to get the vast majority of its energy from renewable sources.

U.S. Department of Energy officials are expected to announce the unprecedented plan Monday, just before the opening of a U.S.-sponsored international summit on climate change in Hawaii.

If Hawaii and the Energy Department are successful in making the state mostly energy-independent in coming decades, it could serve as a model for the rest of the nation, which President Bush has described as “addicted to oil.”
To accomplish the ambitious goal, the Energy Department plans to solicit proposals from researchers, companies and others to dramatically expand Hawaii’s use of solar and wind power.

But it also wants to find ways to tap into Hawaii’s unique resources to develop renewable sources of energy. These include harnessing the power of ocean waves, creating new biofuels based on algae or palm oil, and increasing the use of underground heat generated beneath the island state’s volcanoes.

Under the program, federal agencies and the state of Hawaii could invest billions of dollars in the development of new energy technologies over the next several decades, government officials say. The Energy Department picked Hawaii for the initiative because of its unique resources, its strategic location for national security, and the state’s recent emphasis on developing more renewable energy.

Andy Karsner, the Energy Department’s assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, is expected to announce details of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative along with Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle on Monday, before leaders of the major world economies convene Wednesday in Honolulu.

This week, Lingle hinted about the program in her annual “state of the state” speech.?The initiative, Lingle said, could position Hawaii “to be a model for the world” when it comes to renewable energy.

Energy Department officials “think that we can be the first economy in the world totally based on clean renewable energy, and we can do it in one generation,” Ted Liu, director of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin newspaper.

The goal is ambitious, to say the least.

Hawaii today gets about 90 percent of its energy from imported oil. Because of its isolation, its gasoline prices are typically the highest in the nation.

In recent years, the state has pushed hard to decrease its dependence on oil.
Lingle and the state legislature previously mandated that Hawaiian electricity companies get 10 percent of their fuel from renewable sources by 2010, 15 percent by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020.

The adoption of this “renewable energy portfolio” — similar to ones in other states — has spurred development of innovative projects in Hawaii, including a garbage-to-electricity plant near Honolulu, a research project for wave power elsewhere on Oahu, and a dramatic surge in wind power projects throughout the islands.

The federal government’s new initiative should generate more ideas, including some that could make their way to mainland states as well.

“The idea is to make Hawaii a model,” said an Energy Department official who did not want to be named. “If you can do it in Hawaii, you can figure out ways to do it all over the country.”

see also:
Island Breath: WSJ & Time on Peak Oil 11/22/07