FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 23, 2020
HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Energy Office was awarded a $425,070 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) to pursue several strategic projects that advance Hawaii’s clean economy goals and support the state’s economic recovery, including job training for energy sector workers and an upgrade of web-based tools to assist in the permitting and appropriate siting of renewable energy projects.
Other HSEO initiatives that will be supported by the grant include programs addressing energy assurance — which is essential to keep Hawai‘i’s economy moving forward — energy education and community outreach, as well as analyses of carbon policy in Hawaii and the potential conversion of the state fleet to alternative fuel vehicles. The funds were awarded under the USDOE State Energy Program (SEP) Formula Grants for Program Year 2020. When combined with existing USDOE awards, funding for these projects totals $1.13 million.
“This federal funding for our clean energy and decarbonization programs comes at a critical time when state revenue growth is under pressure from the impact of COVID-19,” said Scott Glenn, chief energy officer for the State of Hawaii. “This grant provides key support that will help the Energy Office implement a range of initiatives over the short-, medium-, and long-term that will generate economic activity in Hawaii and help get people back to work,” Glenn said.
The USDOE awards SEP Formula Grants to states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia annually based on a formula that takes into account local factors such as population size and energy consumption. “We commend Hawaii for its strategic use of SEP funds, including leveraging with outside stakeholders to maximize program impacts and pursuing a comprehensive set of programs tailored to community goals,” said Kelsie Bell, the SEP program officer working with HSEO to implement projects.
The HSEO will use the funding to:
- To collaboratively identify, develop and coordinate workforce training and apprenticeship opportunities to support energy efficiency, renewable energy deployment, energy resilience and clean transportation employment in Hawaii. Building a skilled Hawaii-based clean energy workforce will help diversify the local economy and provide opportunities for local workers.
- Upgrade HSEO’s online renewable energy project siting tools such as Renewable EnerGIS and the Renewable Energy Permitting Wizard to improve facilitation of appropriate siting of renewable energy projects that will bring the benefits of clean energy to a broader group of Hawaii residents and businesses.
- Undertake an expanded mission-driven clean energy education, community outreach and stakeholder engagement program to more effectively and consistently communicate Hawaii’s collective energy vision. Expanded outreach and input from stakeholders and the community at-large will improve energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean transportation project development outcomes that contribute to the quality of life for everyone in Hawaii. The effort also includes website upgrades and support for clean energy public school education and professional development opportunities.
- Conduct workshops supporting discussion-based exercises to increase energy assurance capabilities and resilience for Hawaii. Project goals include developing an energy security, resiliency, and emergency preparedness exercise strategy and work plan to strengthen energy system resiliency in response to a natural disaster, such as a hurricane.
- Launch a pilot project using HSEO’s “engage” model for holistic planning and analysis of energy and carbon policy in Hawaii. The pilot will be used to demonstrate the versatility and applicability of the model to address pressing energy policy needs. It also will also serve as an education and training opportunity for stakeholders including the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission and Division of Consumer Advocacy who can leverage engage to conduct their own energy sector analysis. Better planning can increase energy system efficiency and lower costs for both utilities and customers.
- Develop a centralized “telematics” program for State of Hawaii fleet vehicles to collect data and perform analysis for the development of a fleet transition plan to renewable or carbon neutral fueled vehicles. HSEO will work with a contractor to install devices in 100 fleet vehicles and develop a centralized program to track vehicle miles traveled, fuel consumption and expenditures to help determine which vehicle are best suited for conversion to renewable or carbon neutral vehicles. Using the State of Hawaii fleet to demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits of alternative fuel vehicles could inspire greater consumer demand for the vehicles.
- Participate in a contract with other agencies to procure an electric vehicle and charging equipment for the HSEO. The electric vehicle will be a shared mode of transportation used daily to transport employees and equipment to various destinations in order to perform official business. The goal of the project is to demonstrate a cost-effective means to transition fleet vehicles to electric vehicles.
About the Hawaii State Energy Office
The Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO) is an attached agency of the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. The HSEO’s mission is to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean transportation to help achieve a resilient, clean energy, decarbonized economy. Toward this end, the HSEO is developing policies and programs to achieve our energy and climate change goals while identifying strategies that create jobs, lower costs, and improve quality of life in Hawaii. For more information, visit energy.hawaii.gov.
Alan Yonan Jr.
Hawaii State Energy Office