Showing posts with label Energy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Energy. Show all posts

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Geothermal Energy Informational Briefing

Innovations Development Group (IDG), a Hawaii-based company already in joint venture partnerships with groups in New Zealand to develop geothermal resources, presented information on geothermal development, opined on needed state energy policy changes, and provided a proposal to House and Senate lawmakers.

Who is Innovations Development Group? They have a website here and a copy of their Powerpoint presentation to state lawmakers is here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Legislature in the News: From Barrel tax to Budget to Karen's Law

HB1552 - Kahana Valley Bill
Bill to allow Kahana leases could win Legislature's OK - Honolulu Advertiser

HB1713 - Hazard Mitigation Bill
Negligent property owners targeted - Honolulu Advertiser

HB200 - State Budget
Lawmakers hope to balance the budget as the end of session nears – KHON2
Lawmakers will work overtime for budget – Star Bulletin
No deal for state, OHA on lands - Honolulu Advertiser
Hawaii lawmakers agree on budget – Honolulu Advertiser
Legislature's Budget Includes $800 Million In Cuts – KITV4
Budget showdown ramps up over tax hikes – KHON2
Battle over Balancing the State Budget – KGMB9
State lawmakers turn in costly bills – KITV4
State Lawmakers Reject Gas Tax, Fee Hike – KITV4

HB1271 - Barrel Tax
Barrel Tax Bill Could Net State $31 Million – KGMB9
New Hawaii petroleum tax hike likely to raise gas prices: Increase could generate $31M annually for clean energy, food programs - Honolulu Advertiser

HB1744 - County Hotel Room Tax
Counties will continue to get TAT funds – Maui News

SB1673 - Hawaii Health Systems Corporation
CEO Lo: It’s new day for hospital – Maui News

HB819 - Karen's Law
Karen's Law fails for 2nd straight year – Honolulu Advertiser
'Karen's Law' Doesn't Pass; Pine Blames Oshiro – KGMB9
Karen's Law Killed – KFVE

Lawmakers Extend Legislative Session – KITV4

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kanu Hawaii Comes to the Capitol

Check out this announcement from Kanu Hawaii:

On Monday, April 27th from 7:00am to 12:00noon, members of the nonprofit group Kanu Hawaii will be providing two FREE services to everyone in the Capitol:

1) Bring incandescent bulbs from home and they will exchange them for a FREE energy-efficient compact fluorescent one (limit 2 bulbs per person).

2) They will check the tire pressure of every car in the Capitol parking lot and leave a note telling you which tire(s) are low.

These two services will help us all conserve energy and cut our climate-warming emissions. CFL bulbs burn less than one-fifth the energy of regular bulbs. And, poorly inflated tires make your car burn 3% more gas every year. If we change just 100 bulbs and properly inflate 100 cars’ tires, we’ll keep about 40 tons of carbon-dioxide out of the atmosphere each year. We’ll save money on electricity and gas, too.

So, remember to bring your bulbs to work and trade them in on the 27th. Kanu will visit each office for the bulb exchange. If you’d rather not have your tire pressure checked, just email Kamaile Kekahuna at with your License Plate #.

The mission of Kanu Hawaii is to unleash a social movement that uses island values and personal commitments to build local communities that are more sustainable, compassionate, and self reliant. For more information about Kanu Hawaii, you can visit them online at

Friday, December 26, 2008

Revolving Doors

Revolving doors are no stranger to politics, but this time we're talking about revolving doors as a source of energy. Saw this intriguing concept on the 13th Floor blog, and wondered if it could catch on in Hawaii.

A company in the Netherlands has developed a product using the rotation of a busy revolving door as an energy generator. The prototype is a heavily trafficked door at the Driebergen-Zeist train station in the Netherlands. About 8500 commuters use the train through this station every day. The motion of the revolving door is expected to generate 6400 kwh of energy per year, which could cover the needs of one average household.

As it turns out, others have thought of it before, including a company called Fluxlab which developed the Revolution Door. In this prototype, adding a generator to the resistance of the revolution may be more of a "drag" than most people care to encounter.

Do we have any revolving doors in Hawaii that have enough usage to generate a significant amount of energy? If the doors are there anyway, why not optimize their activity? Are there other revolving motions or actions that could also generate energy? Food for thought.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tax by the Mile

In a previous post, "Top Ten States Issues", the National Conference of Legislatures mentions several states that are considering replacing the gas tax with a per mile vehicle fee rather than raising taxes to pay for roads and transit. Basically, instead of paying the 51-cents-per-gallon fuel tax you pay at the pump here in Hawaii, you would pay around one cent per mile traveled.

Several states, including Oregon, North Carolina, and Idaho, are considering new road revenue systems primarily because of the entrance of more fuel-efficient cars into the marketplace. The basic idea behind the gas tax was that if you use the roads, you should pay for them. So if you drove more, you paid more taxes at the pump. However, with more people driving fuel-efficient cars, the collection of gas tax has been – and will become even more – disproportionate to how often a vehicle uses roads and highways. They're great for the environment, energy efficiency and a number of residents' bank accounts, but not for sustaining state transportation and infrastructure needs. In short, state gas tax hasn't been fair for awhile.

With that known, in 2001, Oregon's Legislature began studying alternatives to the fuel charge. A task force determined that switching to a pay-by-the-mile system would be the most logical and natural replacement. Taxpayers pay for what they use. The VMT would be a fairer tax collection mechanism and would not erode revenue collection due to increases in fuel-efficient cars on the road.

The state recently concluded a pilot program which implemented a vehicle miles traveled tax (VMT). The program used three control groups: drivers who pay VMT tax, drivers who pay state fuel tax, and rush hour drivers who paid more for driving in congestion zones but much less for regular travel. Volunteers drove vehicles installed with simplified GPS devices and odometers to track miles traveled in state. (Device sensors turn off when traveling out of state). At the pump, a mileage reader would scan the vehicle device and charge drivers 1.2 cents per mile used since the last fill up; they did not pay the 24-cents-a-gallon state gas tax.

The Oregon project concluded that a mileage fee:
raises substantial revenue, easy to collect, easy to administer, easy to pay, minimal evasion potential, protects privacy, minimal burden on business, directly connected to highway use, no revenue erosion for fuel efficiency
Would you prefer to pay taxes by the mile than at the pump in Hawaii? Would it work? Let us know what you're thinking.

*Every gallon of gas includes a Federal and State excise tax. In Hawaii, we pay a 4 percent sales tax, county tax and a 0.1 environmental response tax, which totals 51 cpg on gasoline and 71 cpg on diesel when combined with the Federal gas tax (18.4 cpg on gas; 24.4 cpg on diesel). These funds have been the primary source of money for highway projects and other transportation and infrastructure needs.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Al Gore's Climate for Change

Former VP Al Gore wrote this op-ed for the New York Times which appeared this morning, Sunday, Nov. 9th.  It's his five-part plan for America to achieve energy independence.  It's worth reading.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Utah state workers go to 4-day work week to conserve energy

Starting in August, most Utah state workers will go on a 4-day, 10-hr. per day, work week. Governor Jon Huntsman issued the order yesterday in an effort to conserve energy in state buildings. About 17,000 employees will be affected. Click here for AP story.

The state offices would be closed on Fridays, and most offices would be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays. That allows the public to access services before and after work. Governor Huntsman's staff says they expect a 20% reduction in energy costs. Oklahoma and West Virginia are looking into the feasibility of a 4-day work week as well.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Right to Dry

Jeff Mikulina of the Sierra Club started off his testimony on the Right to Dry bill by saying, "I can already hear the chuckles." That's the reaction that most folks have when they see the bill's title, Relating to Clotheslines. It's a serious issue, really.

Clothes dryers account for 6% of total electricity consumed by U.S. households, third behind refridgerators and lighting, according to the Wall St. Journal. The Right To Dry movement was built around the concept that people in America should have the right to dry their clothes outside on clothes lines if that is their desire, particularly since it helps our efforts for energy conservation. There are certain communities and subdivisions governed by associations, however, that prohibit the use of clotheslines, citing aesthetic reasons and decreasing property values.

HB3211, HD1, introduced by Rep. Hermina Morita, is part of the movement. It allows for the use of clotheslines on any privately owned single family residence, including townhomes. The bill was heard in the Finance Committee this evening. Rep. Sharon Har said she supported the intent of the bill, but that lawmakers need to be careful with the language since some of it could be interpreted in many different ways, e.g. the bill allows for clotheslines, "provided that rules that prohibit the placement of clotheslines shall not be unduly or unreasonably restrictive."

Testifiers agreed that a balance can be reached. Mikulina closed by quoting Benjamin Franklin, "We have to hang together, or we will hang separately."