Saturday, May 9, 2009

Energy ascendant at Legislature

The Hawai'i Legislature appears to have made significant progress on energy and environmental issues during the current session.

With Gov. Linda Lingle's commitment to the Hawai'i Clean Energy Initiative, they seem to indicate a new and significant shift in the state's approach and position on these issues. (Thanks to Jeff Mikulina at Blue Planet Foundation for a summary.)

(Windmill image credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration)

One measure will help fund new clean energy work as well as to support local food production. It's a $1 per barrel (these are 42-gallon barrels) tax on petroleum. It's House Bill 1271 and it's expected to raise as much as $40 million a year.

“If we truly want to rapidly transition Hawaii away from imported oil, we have to be prepared to invest in that preferred future today. This small surcharge will pay handsome dividends over time in helping to create our clean energy future,” said Jeff Mikulina of Blue Planet Foundation.

Another bill, Senate Bill 1202, requires that by the end of 2011, one percent of parking stalls in many parking lots be set aside for electric cars. A little incentive for the early adopters of electric vehicles. It also supports the building of infrastructure to support (read charge up) electric cars.

Here's a no-brainer. Senate Bill 1338 says it's state policy that you can air-dry your clothes if you want. Some condo associations and subdivision homeowners associations find clotheslines unsightly and now ban them.

The Clean Energy Omnibus bill, House Bill 1464, would require utility firms to get to 25 percent renewable energy by 2020 and 40 percent by 2030, which is the level called for by the Clean Energy Initiative. The omnibus would also push energy efficiency, and calls on the state Public Utilities Commission to establish a series of incentives and penalties to see that efficiency happens. One of the bill's interesting features would be a requirement that home sellers in Hawai'i reveal to buyers that last three months of electric bills—the idea being that sellers may make efficiency upgrades to cut power costs, and make their homes more attractive.

You can find more in these bills and their status at the Blue Planet Foundation site:

Or check on bill status by number at

© Jan TenBruggencate 2009

1 comment:

zzzzzz said...

My experience with homeowner associations suggest that the CC&Rs were, for the most part, created by the developer for the purpose of maximizing their profit. In their initial stages, the associations are controlled by the developer, who only gives up control once all units are sold.

Rules like the ones against clotheslines are there because the developer thought they would have an easier time selling homes, and at a higher price, without clotheslines.

Those rules are still there because the original CC&Rs were typically written to make it very hard to change, e.g., requiring approval of 75% of all homeowners, many of whom don't care enough to vote.