Hawaii's New Energy Laws to Boost Efficiency, Renewable Energy

On June 26, 2006, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle signed into law SB 2957 to encourage renewable energy and renewable fuels. This law raises the income tax credit for certain renewable energy technologies, makes this tax credit permanent, and establishes a pilot financing mechanism for the purchase of residential solar hot water heater systems. SB 2957 also provides incentives to support the production of biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol. Additionally, the legislation establishes the Hawaii Renewable Hydrogen Program to move the state toward a renewable hydrogen economy. SB 2957 is part of the governor's "Energy for Tomorrow" package, which includes three other new energy laws HB 2175 appropriates $5 million for solar power systems in public schools and instructs state agencies to maximize energy efficiency. This bill also encourages new green buildings by giving them priority when they apply for construction permits and sets green building standards for state buildings. Additionally, this legislation requires 20 percent of the state's new vehicles to be hybrids or alternative fuel vehicles, with the percentage increasing in subsequent years. SB 3185 establishes a public benefits fund for energy efficiency programs and authorizes the state's Public Utility Commission (PUC) to set penalties for failing to meet the state Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Finally, HB 2848 appropriates $200,000 to reconvene the Hawaii Energy Policy Forum to develop an action plan, timeline, recommendations, and benchmarks to meet the state's energy self-sufficiency goals.

Press Release
HB 2175
SB 3185
HB 2848