Monday, August 24, 2015
Aloha and welcome to the Hawaiian Islands. The overnight storms bring the topic of resilience top of mind for many. At lease one of our communities, Waimanalo, will be prepared. In June, the community group Hoomakaukau O Waimanalo – which means Get Ready Waimanalo – received recognition as a disaster resilient community through the Hawaii Hazards Awareness and Resilience Program.
Across the state, officials are assessing the impacts of the rain and working to ensure operational capacity.
Hawaii, and specifically the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, have been hosting this event for 7 years. Many of you have been coming regularly, and I deeply appreciate the thought leadership that you have provided over the years.
I also want to acknowledge how deeply we appreciate the amount of financial investment in Hawaii that has already taken place. Firms like Hitachi, Eurus Energy, SolarCity, SunEdison, and Lockheed Martin, among others, are already making a difference.
We also want to give special thanks to the U.S. military for their commitment to renewable energy in Hawai‘i. Their leadership has been consistent and remarkable. They understand more than anyone why our fuel vulnerability is a major concern. As we move to 100% renewables, they will be great partners.
We will not be able to reach our 100% goal without substantial outside capital, and we urge you all to join us. We welcome investment that works with our goal of 100%.
With both great outside investment and the partnership of our military neighbors, we offer Hawai‘i as a test bed for what the utility of the future will look like. We welcome your ideas, your technology, and your investment. And we know that what you prove viable here will one day change the world. So please do come, you are most welcome.
We know that the road to 100% will be very difficult. We will be tested on our will to accept the changes needed. The effort will require great capital, financial and political resources, and I am committed to bringing all the resources I have to bear on it. And we have no time for other agendas.
Which brings me to Liquid Natural Gas, or LNG. When it was first proposed, I was willing to support it as a “transitional fuel” because it had some clear advantages for Hawai‘i. Those advantages were that it would result in considerable cost savings to us a ratepayers and because it would mean that we did not have to make huge investments in our current fossil fuel plants to meet national environmental rules. “Transitional” also required that there be very limited capital investment to make it work as we need those dollars for our renewable work.
Much has changed since then. LNG will no longer save us any money. Meeting EPA rules, even assuming the rules do go into effect, can be handled in other ways without huge cost. And the capital plans of those wishing to import LNG are anything but small.
LNG is a fossil fuel. LNG is imported. And any time or money spent on LNG is time and money not spent on renewable energy.
And very importantly, we will not put the neighborhoods of Pearl City, Waipahu, Iroquois Point, Ewa, Kapolei, Makakilo, Honokohai Hale and Ko Olina through years of permitting and siting battles for a fossil fuel plant.
So I have reached the conclusion that Hawaii does not need or want LNG in our future. It is time to focus all of our efforts on renewable energy and my administration will actively oppose the building of LNG facilities in Hawai‘i.
I do recognize that if oil prices rise dramatically in the coming years, some will say why didn’t we invest in LNG, why did Governor Ige oppose it? I am willing to take that chance to leave Hawai‘i on the great path it has ahead of it.
And I do recognize that Hawaii Gas will need a supply of gas. It has one today and the long term prospects for it have improved. Still, so long as the gas is used only for its purposes and not to supply Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Gas can obtain it without great infrastructure.
I want to thank you again for being here and for all of your support for renewable energy over the years, and I ask all of us here today to make a personal commitment to the 100% goal and then live it.
It’s an honor and privilege to host you in the Aloha State…so, on behalf of our people…I wish all of you…my sincere mahalo and deepest aloha.