STAND. COM. REP. NO. 349
RE: S.B. No. 929
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism, to which was referred S.B. No. 929 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO RENEWABLE ENERGY,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Provide timely review by the Public Utilities Commission in its decision-making process regarding proposed renewable energy projects; and
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawaii Clean Power Alliance. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from Hawaiian Electric Company. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Hawaii State Energy Office, Public Utilities Commission, and Ulupono Initiative.
Your Committee finds that it is necessary for the State to aggressively pursue the goal of carbon negativity to mitigate the potentially catastrophic results of such things as sea level rise caused by continued greenhouse gas emissions. Your Committee further finds that in order for the State to move closer to its carbon negative target as soon as possible, continual progress, timely approval, commencement of construction, and competition of renewable energy project is of paramount importance. In particular, the timely review by the Public Utilities Commission in its decision-making process regarding proposed renewable energy projects and the timely completion of the interconnection process by electric public utilities is critical.
Your Committee further finds that there are instances where the timely completion of the interconnection process may not be feasible and the interconnection process should have a certain degree of flexibility to adjust for changes due to permitting requirements, financing restrictions, community feedback, or other issues that could impact the fundamental design of an interconnection and change the scope and timing of the interconnection process.
Your Committee also finds that when these situations occur and the electric public utility and developer are in agreement, the completion timeline should be lifted to allow for additional completion time.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Amending section 2 to allow for the extension of the timeline for completion of the interconnection process between an electric public utility and developers, when both parties agree to the extension;
(2) Specifying that any agreement between the electric public utility and developers to extend the timelines does not apply to or modify the timeline for completion of the interconnection process between the Public Utilities Commission and any other project of the utility; and
(3) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 929, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 929, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committees on Commerce and Consumer Protection and Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism,
GLENN WAKAI, Chair