Rep. Thielen addresses SB 2438 – Public Utilities Commission

The purpose of this bill is to support renewable energy development by requiring director of Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, upon request of PUC, to provide analysis of technology readiness of renewable energy projects. Version HD2 of this bill does not specify (leaves blank) technology readiness level: • At or below which PUC is prohibited from approving proposal or contract; • Above which PUC authorized to consider proposal or contract; provided positive external factors — including consumer cost, job creation, capital attraction, extra tax revenues — found in final determination. Draft HD2 would make wave energy projects at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base and other renewable energy projects below readiness Level 7 eligible for PUC analysis. Earlier version would have excluded such projects. Draft HD1: • Adds purpose section; • Creates new section in chapter 296, part V, specifying technology readiness levels for PUC’s renewable energy projects criteria; • Requires director of Hawaii Natural Energy Institute to provide assessment of technology readiness for proposed renewable energy project upon request of PUC; • Requires all proposed renewable energy projects of PUC be of technology readiness Level 7 or higher; • Excludes proposals, contracts or demonstration projects of less than three years from requirements of measure. Rep. Thielen voted “No” on HD1 in EEP because bill likely would have impeded pilot programs for promising renewable energy technologies such as wave power. Wave energy technology is at Level 6, meaning engineering-scale models or prototypes have been tested in environment closely resembling actual operating environment.

Contact:  Excerpt from Capitol TV

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