For Immediate Release: November 13, 2008

HONOLULU — Governor Linda Lingle announced today that the State of Hawaii has been selected by the National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices to participate in its Policy Academy on Advanced Energy Strategies for Buildings.

The Policy Academy will assist the state to develop an action plan and implementation strategy around energy use in the state’s public and private buildings.

“This project comes at the perfect time for Hawaii as we continue to maximize our federal and private partnerships to increase Hawaii’s energy independence,” said Governor Lingle, who serves on the NGA’s eight-member energy task force. “The NGA Policy Academy will support our Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative and provide Hawaii with additional national assistance in reviewing both legislative and regulatory proposals for advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in our building sector.”

“The Policy Academy will provide technical assistance from NGA Center staff, expert faculty, and national consultants,” said Theodore E. Liu, director, Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), whose department will lead Hawaii’s participation in the Policy Academy. “We have a robust team of public and private sector building and visitor industry professionals who are prepared to identify innovative solutions to making buildings in Hawaii more energy efficient.”

As part of the Advanced Energy Strategies for Buildings Policy Academy, Hawai‘i’s energy team will work with national experts to develop action plans that include:

  • Identifying cost-effective strategies for reducing energy use from buildings, such as improving building codes and encouraging participation in voluntary certification programs;
  • Designing new policies, programs and measures that promote the adoption of smart energy use, such as increasing consumption from renewable sources; and
  • Developing innovative funding and financing options to support implementation, such as low-interest loans, utility rate restructuring, or public benefit funds.

The Lingle-Aiona Administration currently is implementing several initiatives to improve energy efficiency in state government buildings. Eleven state buildings on four islands have been targeted as priorities for “retrocommissioning.” This process involves identifying opportunities to save energy in state buildings and reduce operating costs, such as installing new or upgraded energy-efficient products, materials, systems and equipment. The state also is moving forward on installing photovoltaic systems at airports and other transportation facilities around the state.

In September, DBEDT officials, State Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert, along with the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, began discussions with the large hotels in Waikiki on a collective approach to conserving energy and developing new energy sources. This most recent assistance by NGA will enhance the state’s and the private sector’s efforts to increase energy efficiency in the hotels.

Hawaii’s central challenge is its high dependence on imported fossil fuel for its energy needs. Ninety-six percent of the crude oil refined and consumed in Hawaii is from non-U.S. sources, leaving Hawaii especially vulnerable to supply disruptions. Seventy-eight percent of Hawaii’s electricity generation is from petroleum (diesel) and 13 percent is from coal, resulting in the highest energy costs in the nation.

“Hawaii has abundant renewable resources, including solar, wind, biomass and geothermal, and emerging technologies such as ocean and wave energy. We need to implement a strategy to increase access to these clean energy technologies to reduce our buildings’ energy use and overall energy costs,” Liu said. “This project will assist us in meeting that goal. Working towards solutions in increasing our use of indigenous sources of energy and achieving greater energy efficiency will save a portion of more than $5 billion exported annually to purchase foreign oil. This will mean additional money circulating at home to create economic opportunities at all levels of our economy.”

Hawaii was one of seven states selected to participate in the NGA Policy Academy on Advanced Energy Strategies for Buildings. The others were Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Utah, and Wisconsin.

The Opening Meeting of the Policy Academy will be held January 14-16, 2009, in Washington, D.C. This project is supported through funds provided by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

This is the second time this year the NGA has supported the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. In June, the NGA Center for Best Practices awarded Hawaii a $50,000 grant to analyze the costs and benefits of electric vehicles as well as the infrastructure needed to support their large-scale use in Hawaii.


For more information, contact:

Ted Liu
Director, DBEDT
Phone: (808) 586-2355

Lenny Klompus
Senior Advisor – Communications
Phone: (808) 586-7708

Russell Pang
Chief of Media Relations
Phone: (808) 586-0043