Burning Torch

Subject: Public Testimony; HB 550 – Just how does Hawaii get to a clean energy economy by 2045?

Renewable Portfolio Standard; Gas; Electricity; Study; Appropriation
Description:Requires the Public Utilities Commission to study the feasibility of implementing renewable portfolio standards to encourage the use of renewable energy by gas utility companies. Amends the renewable portfolio standard interim goals for 2030 and 2040 to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy. Appropriates funds. (HB550 HD1)

Subject: Public Testimony; HB 550

Submission Date: Thursday, February 21, 2019

To whom it may concern,

It is easy to understand and support the opening premise of this bill (HB550), until the reader reaches SECTION 2, Chapter 269, and the details of how HB550 will amend the current law governing the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards.

First, the entire premise of the bill is flawed, for it is impossible for Hawaii Gas in its mission to sell fossil fuels to be an effective partner in Hawaii’s RPS goals and transition to a clean energy economy, designed to eliminate fossil fuels from the state’s energy mix.

Second, Section 2 Chapter 269 (3) seeks to use taxpayer and ratepayer funding through so-called “public utilities special fund” and to apply monies toward an ill-conceived objective that somehow Hawaii’s Gas utility will be somehow shoehorned into the current RPS compliance goals, while continuing to sell and distribute natural gas and other fossil fuels products in Hawaii.

Third, Section 2 Chapter 269 (3)(C)(i) calls for the identification of renewable alternatives, such as the procurement and importation of biogas. This mandate fails on several fronts, specifically, the importation of biogas, which runs contrary to the state’s RPS transition to locally produced clean energy independence, or that biogas qualifies as a clean energy (zero emissions) energy substitute.

Fourth, Section 2 Chapter 269 (3)(D) Unregulated gas sales and what requirements are needed for the transition of gas that is unregulated to a renewable energy source   Once again, and throughout the false of premise of this HB 550, is the idea that a fossil fuel with the greenhouse gas emissions half that of burning the dirtiest fuel available today, coal, can somehow be considered a clean or renewable energy fuel source, regardless of its application within Hawaii’s energy mix.

Fifth, HB 550 goes onto state… “The legislature is concerned that requiring electric utilities but not gas utilities to increase their reliance on renewable energy creates an unfair playing field that may unintentionally harm consumers by promoting suboptimal long-lived investments in fossil fuels through gas-fired distributed electrical generation.”

HB550 is designed to address one thing; above all, that is the preservation of Hawaii Gas and its fossil fueled business model.

A much more effective means of addressing the state’s current 2045 RPS goals, and needed reform that addresses all energy stakeholders: First, vote NO on HB 550, and then propose and put forward for full legislative consideration a statewide carbon tax which rewards “zero emissions” energy production and its public consumption.

Burning Torch