Friday, February 13, 2009


SB1196 (Feed-in Tariff; Renewable Electricity) languishing without a hearing

by Larry Geller

SB1196 is a bill that Hawaiian Electric Company certainly hates. And they have many pals at the Legislature, where they used to send people as “embedded lobbyists,” that is, as “interns” to work side-by-side with legislators in their offices.

This bill sets up a tariff to sell power back to the system by producers of alternative energy.

The good parts include:

Each electric utility shall develop a standard renewable electricity purchase agreement, the form of which shall be approved by the commission, and shall offer the renewable electricity purchase agreement to any renewable electricity producer that requests interconnection of a new renewable electricity system to the utility's electric system under section 269-B.

The bad parts are that it passes the costs of interconnection on to the producer, and also that it leaves the utilities in control of the grid.

HECO makes its profit burning imported fuel. I don’t believe Hawaii can have a bright alternative energy future unless the power grid is made independent of the utilities, which is not in this bill, but perhaps could be amended into it.

I guess that’s still too radical a thought for a legislature that has been so close to the power company in the past.

Should this bill be supported? I think so, if we are ever to pull the plug on those carbon-guzzling generators, at least some of them. It has to be profitable for alternative energy proponents to build up their plants. It’s in the interests of our pocketbooks and of the environment that we replace HECO with other power suppliers.

If you read the bill and feel it should be supported, please try and get it heard. It has been referred to ENE and CPN. The chair of the Energy and Environment Committee is Senator Mike Gabbard, email His phone number is 586-6830. The chair of the Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee is Senator Rosalyn Baker, email, phone 586-6070.
(thanks to Kevin for pointing out this bill to me)



Has this been voted on yet?

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