S.B. NO.














relating to agriculture.





     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that while the agriculture industry was once the State's main economic force during Hawaii's plantation era, the strength of the industry has dwindled and suffered, in part, due to rising overhead production costs and increased energy prices.  However, the agriculture industry remains a vital part of the economy and incentives are necessary to promote sustainability and food security.

     The legislature further finds that Act 209, Session Laws of Hawaii 2008, established a program to help full-time farmers, ranchers, and aquaculturalists reduce their dependence on fossil fuel by providing low cost loans to fund construction for renewable energy production through photovoltaic, hydroelectric, wind, methane, biodiesel, and ethanol.  Today, Hawaii farmers and ranchers still face a need for alternative energy infrastructure to reduce their dependence on expensive and burdensome costs associated with fuel and electricity.

     The newly created green energy market securitization program, established by Act 211, Session Laws of Hawaii 2013, may also provide a benefit to the struggling agricultural industry.  The sustainable green infrastructure financing initiative headed by the Hawaii state energy office provides loans for photovoltaic systems at affordable rates to a wide market of underserved consumers.  The Hawaii green infrastructure authority administers the program to allow those who once could not afford initial alternative infrastructure costs the ability to take advantage of a private capital and investment program supporting clean energy systems.  A bond issuance was approved by the public utilities commission last year for $150,000,000 to fund consumer loans to pay for system installations.

     The legislature also finds that the green energy market securitization program was created to assist the underserved, and this this goal can be highlighted with a concentrated effort to address green energy initiatives in the State's agricultural industry.

     The purpose of this Act is to authorize the Hawaii green infrastructure authority to set aside bond funding from the green energy market securitization program to enable Hawaii's farmers and ranchers to invest in alternative energy infrastructure.

     SECTION 2.  Section 196-64, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

     "(a)  In the performance of, and with respect to the functions, powers, and duties vested in the authority by this part, the authority, as directed by the director and in accordance with a green infrastructure loan program order or orders under section 269-171 or an annual plan submitted by the authority pursuant to this section, as approved by the public utilities commission, may:

     (1)  Make loans and expend funds to finance the purchase or installation of green infrastructure equipment for clean energy technology, demand response technology, and energy use reduction and demand side management infrastructure, programs, and services;

     (2)  Hold and invest moneys in the green infrastructure special fund in investments as permitted by law and in accordance with approved investment guidelines established in one or more orders issued by the public utilities commission pursuant to section 269-171;

     (3)  Encumber up to $           of funds in the Hawaii green infrastructure special fund, established pursuant to section 196-65, to be used exclusively for the issuance of bonds to qualified agricultural enterprises;

    [(3)] (4)  Hire employees necessary to perform its duties, including an executive director.  The executive director shall be appointed by the authority, and the employees' positions, including the executive director's position, shall be exempt from chapter 76;

    [(4)] (5)  Enter into contracts for the service of consultants for rendering professional and technical assistance and advice, and any other contracts that are necessary and proper for the implementation of the loan program;

    [(5)] (6)  Enter into contracts for the administration of the loan program, without the necessity of complying with chapter 103D;

    [(6)] (7)  Establish loan program guidelines to be approved in one or more orders issued by the public utilities commission pursuant to section 269-171 to carry out the purposes of this part;

    [(7)] (8)  Be audited at least annually by a firm of independent certified public accountants selected by the authority, and provide the results of this audit to the department and the public utilities commission; and

    [(8)] (9)  Perform all functions necessary to effectuate the purposes of this part."

     SECTION 3.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken.  New statutory material is underscored.

     SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.








Report Title:

Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority; Hawaii Green Infrastructure Fund; Bonds; Agricultural Enterprises



Authorizes the Hawaii green infrastructure authority to reserve a portion of the Hawaii green infrastructure fund to be used exclusively for the issuance of bonds to qualified agricultural enterprises.




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