HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2018
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO RENEWABLE ENERGY.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that Hawaii's energy sector is undergoing a transition to renewable energy that is strengthening the State's economy, environment, and security. To complete this transition successfully, it is also important that all relevant entities are aligned. Along these lines, the legislature is concerned that requiring electric utilities, but not gas utilities, to increase their reliance on renewable energy creates an unfair playing field that may unintentionally harm consumers by promoting suboptimal long-lived investments in fossil fuels through gas-fired distributed electrical generation. These effects may also have near- and long-term impacts on the viability of the State's electric utilities, and near- and long-term impacts on the viability of the State's gas utilities.
The legislature believes that the simplest, fairest, and most effective solution to this concern is to implement renewable portfolio standard targets for gas utilities that mirror those being achieved by electric utilities. However, the legislature is unsure about the feasibility of implementing such targets for gas utilities.
The purpose of this Act is to:
(1) Require the public utilities commission to contract with the Hawaii natural energy institute of the University of Hawaii to study the feasibility of establishing renewable portfolio standards for gas utility companies in Hawaii; and
(2) Appropriate funds to the public utilities commission for the study.
SECTION 2. Section 269-95, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§269-95 Renewable portfolio standards study. The public utilities commission shall:
(1) By December 31, 2007, develop and implement a utility ratemaking structure, which may include performance-based ratemaking, to provide incentives that encourage Hawaii's electric utility companies to use cost-effective renewable energy resources found in Hawaii to meet the renewable portfolio standards established in section 269-92, while allowing for deviation from the standards in the event that the standards cannot be met in a cost-effective manner or as a result of events or circumstances, such as described in section 269-92(d), beyond the control of the electric utility company that could not have been reasonably anticipated or ameliorated;
(2) Gather, review, and analyze empirical data to:
(A) Determine the extent to which any proposed utility ratemaking structure would impact electric utility companies' profit margins; and
(B) Ensure that the electric utility companies' opportunity to earn a fair rate of return is not diminished;
(3) Use funds from the public utilities special fund to contract with the Hawaii natural energy institute of the University of Hawaii to conduct independent studies to be reviewed by a panel of experts from entities such as the United States Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Electric Power Research Institute, Hawaii electric utility companies, environmental groups, and other similar institutions with the required expertise. These studies shall include findings and recommendations regarding:
(A) The capability of Hawaii's electric utility companies to achieve renewable portfolio standards in a cost-effective manner and shall assess factors such as:
(i) The impact on consumer rates;
(ii) Utility system reliability and stability;
(iii) Costs and availability of appropriate renewable energy resources and technologies, including the impact of renewable portfolio standards, if any, on the energy prices offered by renewable energy developers;
(iv) Permitting approvals;
(v) Effects on the economy;
(vi) Balance of trade, culture, community, environment, land, and water;
(vii) Climate change policies;
(ix) Cost of fossil fuel volatility; and
(x) Other factors deemed appropriate by the commission; [
(B) Projected renewable portfolio standards to be set five and ten years beyond the then current standards; and
(C) The technical feasibility of establishing renewable portfolio standards for gas utility companies in Hawaii, including:
(i) Identifying renewable alternatives, such as the procurement and importation of biogas; and
(ii) Recommendations for interim renewable targets before one hundred per cent renewable gas is achieved by December 31, 2045;
(4) Evaluate the renewable portfolio standards every five years, beginning in 2013, and may revise the standards based on the best information available at the time to determine if the standards established by section 269‑92 remain effective and achievable; and
(5) Report its findings and revisions to the renewable portfolio standards, based on its own studies and other information, to the legislature no later than twenty days before the convening of the regular session of 2014, and every five years thereafter."
SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2018-2019 for the public utilities commission to contract with the Hawaii natural energy institute of the University of Hawaii to conduct a study on the technical feasibility of establishing renewable portfolio standards for gas utility companies in Hawaii.
The sum appropriated shall be expended by the public utilities commission for the purposes of this Act.
SECTION 4. The public utilities commission shall submit a preliminary study of the technical feasibility of establishing renewable portfolio standards for gas utilities in Hawaii, as required pursuant to section 269-95(3)(C), Hawaii Revised Statutes, to the legislature no later than twenty days before the convening of the regular session of 2019. The public utilities commission shall submit a final study of the technical feasibility of establishing renewable portfolio standards for gas utilities in Hawaii, as required pursuant to section 269‑95(3)(C), Hawaii Revised Statutes, to the legislature no later than twenty days before the convening of the regular session of 2020.
SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect on January 28, 2045.
Public Utilities Commission; Renewable Portfolio Standard; Gas Utilities; Study; Appropriation
Requires the public utilities commission to study the technical feasibility of establishing renewable portfolio standards for gas utility companies in Hawaii. Requires reports to the legislature. Appropriates funds. Takes effect on 1/28/2045. (SD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.