Sunday, June 21st, was not only Father's Day and the Summer Solstice, it was the start of Solar Heating Week - June 21 - 27, 2009. Last week, Rep. Hermina Morita, chair of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, joined Lt. Governor Aiona and representatives from Hawaiian Electric Co. in the Executive Chambers for the signing of the proclamation.
This legislative session, Rep. Morita introduced HB1464, a comprehensive bill to align the state's energy laws with the state's renewable energy policies and goals. The bill is currently before the Governor awaiting signature. If enacted, the bill takes effect on July 1, 2009. Here are some of the major points:
*Electric utility companies will be required to establish a renewable portfolio standard of their net electricity sales - 10% by December 31, 2010, 15% by December 31, 2015, 25% by December 31, 2020, and 40% by December 31, 2030.
*After December 31, 2014, the entirety of the renewable portfolio standard shall be met by electrical generation using renewable energy sources.
*Directs the Energy Resource Coordinator to identify geographical areas within the state that contain energy resources and designate energy resource zones. Develop incentive programs to encourage projects.
*Appropriates $1 million for each year of the biennium, FY10-11, for the Renewable Energy Facility Siting Special Fund.
*By December 2010, require state buildings more than 5,000 s.f. or that use more than 8,000 kilowatts annually to be benchmarked and used as a basis to determine the State's investment in improving the energy efficiency of public buildings.
*Require public buildings to be retro-commissioned at least once every 5 years.
*Establishes the Building Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund to provide low to no-interest loans to public, private and non-profit borrowers for energy efficiency improvements and projects.
*Clarifies the solar water heater requirement for new homes.