In Print

  • Solar rebates face dim future

    Hawaii incentives might cease, in light of a NextEra subsidiary's push to end a program in Florida
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - December 28, 2014

    Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy Industries, which plans to buy Hawaiian Electric Industries for $4.3 billion, does not favor tax rebates for renewable energy projects.

    Renewable energy incentives should be phased out over time, said NextEra Energy CEO Jim Robo in an interview after the Dec. 3 announcement.

  • Everybody Must Get Hemp

    In many ways, hemp is like a miracle crop and yet we can't grow it because it is related to marijuana. That needs to change.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - December 19, 2014

    What crop can be grown without pesticides and has over 25,000 uses — from textiles, cosmetics, paper and food to medicine, biofuel and smoothies?

    If you said hemp, you got it. My wife, Carol, knows the excellent nutritional value of hemp seeds and luckily for me, has been putting them in my smoothies for years!

    Not to be confused with marijuana, hemp contains less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive component THC, while marijuana contains between 5 and 20 percent. In other words, you can’t get high from hemp!

  • Weathering HEI’s transition

    NextEra Energy vows to keep the utility’s workforce intact for now, but the company’s history of layoffs leaves long-term prospects cloudy
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - December 14, 2014

    NextEra Energy Industries, the Florida company that plans to buy Hawaiian Electric Industries for $4.3 billion, has a history of laying off workers to cut costs.

    When announcing the purchase on Dec. 3, NextEra Energy executives said they will not lay off any of HEI's 2,800 utility workers for two years but declined to say what would happen beyond that.

  • Nanakuli recycling facility is a big step for isle energy and economy, officials say

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - November 20, 2014

    PVT Land Co. introduced its recycling system to state and city officials at a blessing ceremony Wednesday at the company's Nanakuli facility.

    State Sen. Mike Gabbard and former state Rep. Karen Awana praised the project after PVT Land introduced a machine that can create fuel to help power Oahu homes.

    PVT Land provides another resource Hawaii can use to lower the price of energy, Gabbard said.

  • Celebrating solar

    KIUC dedicates state’s largest PV facility
    Garden Island News - September 26, 2014

    KOLOA — Kauai Island Utility Cooperative is now using the sun to generate as much as half of the island’s daytime energy needs, thanks to a new solar array in Koloa — the largest in the state.

    A dedication ceremony was held Thursday at the $40 million, 12-megawatt facility. The event was attended by U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard led by Kumu Sabra Kauka of Island School.

  • Big Ideas, Plenty of Uncertainty at Hawaii Environmental Council

    Annual strategic planning meeting focuses on invasive species, climate change and the struggle to combat them.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - August 22, 2014

    The Hawaii Environmental Council’s annual strategic planning meeting on Thursday started with weighty discussions of two major problems confronting the state: climate change and invasive species.
    Scientists are warning that climate change may result in rising seas and drought across the Hawaiian islands, and fallen albizia trees in Puna last weekend illustrated the unintended consequences of invasive plants.

  • Mokulele launches Kalaeloa service

    Community members praise the flights as a convenience and an economic boon
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - July 2, 2014

    Mokulele Airlines Chief Executive Officer Ron Hansen has been familiar with Kalaeloa Airport for more than 50 years because as an Air Force pilot at Hickam Air Force Base, he used to do touch-and-gos at the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station.

    On Tuesday, Hansen was back at Kalaeloa with Moku­lele, a local commuter carrier, for the first-ever commercial service from the West Oahu airport, which could mark a change in how some Leeward residents fly between the islands.

  • Wooley OK'd as environmental chief

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - April 30, 2014

    The state Senate voted Tuesday to confirm state Rep. Jessica Wooley as director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control, finding the attorney and environmental advocate qualified and capable for the post.

    The 17-8 vote was validation for Wooley after several senators had questioned her honesty and ability to lead a state agency. Five senators voted for Wooley with reservations, however — a signal of the doubts surrounding her nomination.

    Wooley will resign from the House for an OEQC term that runs through June 2015.

  • Two Hawaii Gov Appointments Suddenly in Trouble in the Senate

    Honolulu Civil Beat - April 29, 2014

    Two important gubernatorial appointments face opposition from key legislators in the Hawaii state Senate.

    Ironically, one nominee is for an environmental watchdog post — protecting the aina — while the other has been nominated to the development agency for Kakaako — building the aina.

    Both nominees sailed through confirmation hearings and have wide support from important people and organizations; a defeat for either nominee would be an embarrassment not only for Gov. Neil Abercrombie but also for the committee chairmen that have led the advise-and-consent process.

  • Panel chairman questions criticism of Wooley's nomination

    Give her a chance at the environmental agency, Gabbard says
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - April 29, 2014

    State Sen. Mike Gabbard on Monday strongly defended Rep. Jessica Wooley's nomination as director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control, challenging senators critical of her to explain why she is not qualified to lead the state agency.

    The Senate is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to confirm Wooley. Sources said after a private Senate caucus Monday that Wooley might have the votes to prevail.

  • Bill to expand solar power shelved

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - April 29, 2014

    Supporters of a bill that would have allowed condominium owners and others to power their homes with electricity generated at community-based solar facilities said Monday they were disappointed the bill was scuttled by lawmakers in the rush to meet procedural deadlines at the Legislature last week.

    A conference committee made up of members of the Senate and House energy committees failed to reach agreement on the bill (SB 2934) aimed at opening up the solar market to a wider group of Hawaii residents.

  • Opposition imperils nomination of Wooley

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - April 27, 2014

    State Rep. Jessica Wooley's nomination as director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control could get derailed after several senators objected to her confirmation.

    Senate leaders agreed on Friday evening to delay a vote on Wooley's confirmation until Tuesday.

    Sources said privately that Gov. Neil Abercrombie's office has been informed that Wooley's nomination might be at risk.

    Sen. Clarence Nishihara, who opposes Wooley's confirmation, said there is enough concern that "may­be the governor should reconsider his appointment."

  • Legislators hold hope for hemp bill

    The measure would allow research into industrial hemp's use as a biofuel and more
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - April 20, 2014

    Imagine a crop that can be used to purify soil and make food, clothing, rope, paper, plastic, pest-resistant building material, oil, fuel, animal bedding and tens of thousands of other products. The Declaration of Independence was written on it; George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew it; Betsy Ross made the American flag out of it; and Henry Ford built and ran cars with it.

    But it's been illegal to grow in the United States for more than 50 years.

  • UH could lead charge on hemp research

    Ka Leo - March 31, 2014

    The marijuana plant’s less-potent cousin and its industrial uses could become the focus for researchers at the University of Hawai‘i if one state legislator has his way.

    The proposal would charge the dean of UH’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources with creating a research program that would spend two years looking at the possible uses of industrial hemp in Hawai‘i and report its findings to the legislature.
    It would also legally disassociate the plant, which has leaves that look similar to those of marijuana, from its relative.

  • No rush to end state tax credit for new solar systems

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - March 10, 2014

    Whether to reduce the state's 35 percent tax credit for solar systems was a hotly discussed topic among legislators a year ago but has been pushed to the back burner this year.

    The state tax credit has contributed to Hawaii becoming the leading state in the nation for solar on a per capita basis. Fully 10 percent of electric utility customers on Oahu now have solar photovoltaic systems, compared with just 1.4 percent in Cali­for­nia, the next-highest state.

  • Navy still working on finding the cause of Red Hill fuel leak

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - March 8, 2014

    The Navy hasn't yet gotten to the bottom of a leak at the Red Hill fuel farm that is believed to have dumped up to 27,000 gallons of JP-8 aviation fuel into concrete containment surrounding the leaky steel liner.

    Tank 5 had just been repaired and refilled when the leak was detected Jan. 13.

    Capt. Mike Williamson, commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii, told state lawmakers Friday that preparations are underway to make the giant tank "gas-free" so personnel can enter it and determine the cause of the leak.

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