Energy adviser joins state initiative
A federal adviser on energy policy and planning is joining the effort to develop a statewide energy strategy for the islands, Gov. Linda Lingle's office announced.
Meanwhile, two energy policy planning meetings are set for later this month.
The second of four planned public meetings to discuss the state's long-term energy strategy is scheduled for Oct. 24, while a workshop set for Oct. 27 plans to discuss opportunities for local production of ethanol, biodiesel and other forms of energy derived from agricultural products. Both are open to the public.
All of the steps are aimed at implementing the bipartisan package of legislation passed by lawmakers and approved by Lingle earlier this year. The bills are aimed at lessening the state's dependence on imported fossil fuels through conservation and development of alternative energy technology.
Experts say the state relies on imported fossil fuels for about 90 percent of its energy needs.
Under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy, the state's planning effort will be assisted by William Parks, deputy director of research and development in the agency's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
His role will be to encourage collaboration between the federal agency and Hawaii by organizing partnerships with the energy industry and public- and private-sector organizations, Lingle's office said.
The public meetings will expand on topics discussed at events earlier this year.
About 100 people from various public- and private-sector organizations, all related to energy fields, attended the first strategic planning meeting on July 6.
Topics to be discussed at the Oct. 24 meeting include a review of the statewide biofuels summit held in August.
Creating incentives for the production of biofuels in Hawaii and streamlining the permitting process for facilities that would manufacture such fuels were two priorities identified by the conference of top private-sector and government leaders.
Biofuels are products like ethanol and biodiesel that can be made from agricultural crops such as corn, soybeans, sugar and their byproducts to displace traditional fossil fuels.
The Oct. 27 Hawaii Agriculture Bioenergy Workshop also will focus on "bridging the gap between policy and implementation," organizers said in a news release.
"It will inform the agricultural community on the opportunities of biofuels production," said Ted Liu, director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
The public meetings are organized by Liu's agency and the Rocky Mountain Institute, a Snowmass, Colo.-based nonprofit energy policy analysis group.
The Oct. 24 meeting is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon in the state Capitol auditorium. The Oct. 27 workshop is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.