By Henry Curtis
For the past six years I have delved into the mysteries and mythologies associated with the founding on the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI).
The two key documents are the Memorandum of Understanding (January 2008) and the Energy Agreement (October 2008).
They key players were two Republican leaders: pro oil U.S. President George Bush and Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle; the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), the Consumer Advocate (CA) and Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO).
But that only tells the story of the nominal powers.
Who actually was responsible for initiating, shaping and drafting the agreement?
The recently released Hawai’i Clean Energy Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) appears, at least superficially, to respond to this issue by adding a new wrinkle – The Energy Policy Act of 2005.
The first page of the PEIS Executive Summary states,
“In furtherance of the provisions of Section 355 of EPAct 2005, DOE and the State of Hawai‘i entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in January 2008. This MOU established a long-term partnership known as the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) to transform the way in which energy efficiency and renewable energy resources are planned and used in the State.”
H.R. 6 was introduced on Apr 18, 2005 by Texas Republican Joe Barton and co-sponsored by two California Republicans, Richard Pombo and William Thomas.
The bill raced through Congress, supported by Hawaii Senators Inouye and Akaka and Representative Abercrombie, but opposed by Representative Case, and was signed by the President on August 8, 2005.
Section 355 required the Department of Energy to write a Report on the “Assessment of dependence of State of Hawaii on oil.”
The Report was to include including “island-by-island” solutions, liquefied natural gas and hydrogen.
The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy was required to release the report in June 2006.
Instead the Report was released on January 13, 2009, the year after the HCEI agreements were signed.
I have been unable to locate the document.
In the meantime more revelations have surfaced on the formation of HCEI.
On April 16, 2014 Rep. Schatz held a Senate Subcommittee on Energy and Water hearing at the East West Center. Dawn Lippert was an invited speaker.
She asserted, “Seven years ago I was fortunate enough to join in drafting the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.”
A graduate of Yale University, Dawn Lippert had worked as a senior consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton (2007-09) and then became the Director of the Pacific International Center for High Tech Research (PICHTR) Energy Excelerator (2009- ).
She is the founder and president of Hawai’i’s Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE).
She is one of several key Hawai’i energy players who previously worked for Booz Allen Hamilton and/or graduated from Yale University.
EPA Act 2005, SEC. 355. ASSESSMENT OF DEPENDENCE OF STATE OF HAWAII ON OIL.
(a) ASSESSMENT.—The Secretary of Energy shall assess the economic implications of the dependence of the State of Hawaii on oil as the principal source of energy for the State, including—
(1) the short- and long-term prospects for crude oil supply disruption and price volatility and potential impacts on the economy of Hawaii;
(2) the economic relationship between oil-fired generation of electricity from residual fuel and refined petroleum products consumed for ground, marine, and air transportation;
(3) the technical and economic feasibility of increasing the contribution of renewable energy resources for generation of electricity, on an island-by-island basis, including— (A) siting and facility configuration; (B) environmental, operational, and safety considerations; (C) the availability of technology; (D) the effects on the utility system, including reliability; (E) infrastructure and transport requirements; (F) community support; and (G) other factors affecting the economic impact of such an increase and any effect on the economic relationship described in paragraph (2);
(4) the technical and economic feasibility of using liquefied natural gas to displace residual fuel oil for electric generation, including neighbor island opportunities, and the effect of the displacement on the economic relationship described in paragraph (2), including— (A) the availability of supply; (B) siting and facility configuration for onshore and offshore liquefied natural gas receiving terminals; (C) the factors described in subparagraphs (B) through (F) of paragraph (3); and (D) other economic factors;
(5) the technical and economic feasibility of using renewable energy sources (including hydrogen) for ground, marine, and air transportation energy applications to displace the use of refined petroleum products, on an island-by-island basis, and the economic impact of the displacement on the relationship described in paragraph (2); and
(6) an island-by-island approach to— (A) the development of hydrogen from renewable resources; and (B) the application of hydrogen to the energy needs of Hawaii.
(b) CONTRACTING AUTHORITY.—The Secretary of Energy may carry out the assessment under subsection (a) directly or, in whole or in part, through 1 or more contracts with qualified public or private entities.
(c) REPORT.—Not later than 300 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Energy shall prepare (in consultation with agencies of the State of Hawaii and other stakeholders, as appropriate), and submit to Congress, a report describing the findings, conclusions, and recommendations resulting from the assessment.
(d) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this section.
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