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City streamlines permitting for EV charger stations

May 30, 2011

A variety of electric vehicles were displayed around the Sky Gate sculpture at Honolulu Hale.

Honolulu, May 27, 2011–The city held a press event timed to synchronize with today’s Lahaina Noon.  With the sun exactly overhead, and Isamu Noguchi’s Sky Gate casting a perfectly centered round shadow, Mayor Carlise announced new electric car initiatives.

Permits for the installation of electrical vehicle charging stations will be made easier with online permitting processes.  The announcement was made in conjunctioin with the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association, the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and Hawaiian Electric Company.

The electric vehicles, many of which were on display, have begun arriving in Hawaii from a variety of manufacturers.  Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and plug-in Hybrids from Toyota are among the earliest arrivals.  Mitsubishi is also taking reservations for its new MiEV all-electric vehicle which is expected to be delivered later this year.

Mitsubishi's futuristic looking, four-seater, the MiEV

DBEDT’s Electric Vehicle Rebate Program, supported by federal stimulus funding, will provide rebates of up to $4,500 toward the purchase of new electric vehicles, with rebates of up to $5oo for installation of the chargers.

“We’re making it easier for people to start using electric vehicles and help decrease our dependence on fossil fuels that harm our environment,” said Mayor Carlise before quietly speeding off in one of the demo cars.

Hawaii Ranked 16th Among States For Green Energy

May 23, 2011

On May 18th, Clean Edge released its second annual U.S. Clean Energy Leadership Index, ranking Hawaii number 16 among the 50 states. The Clean Energy Leadership Index provides the industry’s most comprehensive and objective analysis and ranking of how all 50 states, and the individuals, businesses, and organizations that operate there, compare across the clean-energy spectrum. The top rated states were California, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York and Colorado.

Key market indicators tracked by Clean Edge include total electricity produced by clean-energy sources, hybrid and electric vehicles on the road, clean-energy venture and patent activity, and policy regulations and incentives. The 2011 Leadership Index paints an important and insightful picture of the U.S. clean-energy landscape.

This year’s Leadership index shows that clean-energy activity is dispersed across the nation, with leaders on both coasts and in between,” says Clean Edge managing director Ron Pernick. “While the industry faces many challenges, including strong national-level commitments in China and Germany against the backdrop of uncertain federal leadership here, the U.S. is still a relevant clean-energy innovator as exhibited by the state-level movements tracked in this year’s Leadership index.”

Click for a summary of the Clean Energy Index Report

About the U.S. Clean Energy Leadership Index

Clean Edge’s U.S. Clean Energy Leadership Index tracks and analyzes the clean-energy economies of all 50 states. The detailed information (data from more than 70 indicators) covers technology, policy, and capital infrastructures for the clean-energy ecosystem. The subscription product is geared toward corporations, economic development agencies, investors, policy makers, technology innovators, foundations, and other stakeholders actively involved in the clean-tech marketplace.

Clean Edge leverages public and private data to generate each state’s leadership scores. Private data partners include Cleantech Group, R.L. Polk & Co., and Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C. Public data sources include the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE), Energy Star, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Energy Information Administration, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Are CFL’s Already Obsolete?

May 16, 2011

The ultimate light bulb?

Royal Philips Electronics (AEX: PHI, NYSE: PHG), the industry leader in LED lighting solutions, will unveil the Philips EnduraLED A21 17-watt light bulb tomorrow at the LIGHTFAIR® International tradeshow, May 17-19, 2011. Designed to replace a 75-watt incandescent bulb, while reducing energy consumption by 80% and lasting 25 times longer, the Philips EnduraLED A21 17-watt marks another important milestone in LED lighting technology for everyday use.

“We continue to test the boundaries of LED innovation with exciting products that provide energy efficiency, ambiance and extraordinary reliability,” said Ed Crawford, General Manager of Lamps for Philips Lighting North America.  “Once again we have demonstrated that consumers do not have to wait for quality alternatives to the incandescent or to sacrifice the soft white light they have become accustomed to because LED can deliver all the benefits without compromising quality.”

The EnduraLED A21 17-watt is the latest addition to Philips’ comprehensive portfolio of light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that can efficiently replace traditional incandescents. These include 25W and 40W equivalents, as well as the ENERGY STAR-qualified Philips EnduraLED 12.5-watt bulb, the world’s first commercially-available 60-watt replacement.

The EnduraLED A21 17-watt, which uses the company’s high-power, next-generation LUXEON LEDs, has also been developed to meet or exceed ENERGY STAR qualifications for an LED-based replacement for the 75-watt incandescent light bulb. Those specifications call for delivering 1100 lumens with just 17-watts of electricity, a color temperature of 2700k, a color rendering index (CRI) of 80, and a rated life of 25,000 hours.  The new bulb will be submitted to ENERGY STAR in the coming months for qualification testing.

Philips estimates that about 90 million 75-watt incandescent light bulbs are sold annually in the United States.  Switching to this LED replacement has the potential to reduce energy use by 5,220 megawatts of electricity, a cost savings of approximately $630,000,000 annually.  According to Philips estimates, switching to the EnduraLED 21 17-watt could also eliminate 3,255,205 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually, or the equivalent of removing nearly one million cars from the road.

Honolulu Make’s Ford’s List of Most EV-Ready Cities

April 15, 2011

Ford put Honolulu on its EV targeted city list

While Ford is gearing up to launch the all-new Focus Electric later this year and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in 2012, cities around the country also are preparing for the arrival of new electric vehicles. Some of the key actions Ford has identified in working with cities and utility partners include:

  • Utility rate structure that encourages “off-peak” or nighttime EV charging to minimize demand on the existing electric grid
  • Streamlined permitting and inspection process to support customer and commercial EV infrastructure installation
  • Integrated advisory committees that include participation from electric utilities, vehicle manufacturers and dealers, municipalities, EV customers and local coalitions
  • Urban planning approach to optimize public/commercial EV charge locations
  • Infrastructure incentives to offset a portion of customer costs for hardware/installation

“As more and more electric vehicles come to market, it’s incredibly important that cities develop action plans including infrastructure development and permitting solutions to ensure these vehicles are a viable solution for citizens,” said Mike Tinskey, Ford’s manager of Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure. “Ford continues outreach with cities across the country to spread best practices and work with multiple partners including local utilities, auto manufacturers, technology companies and others to support a successful integration of electric vehicles.”

Ford is also encouraged by specialized approaches some cities are taking to support electric vehicles. For example, Boston, New York City and Philadelphia are looking into opportunities to promote travel between the cities by electric vehicle. Additionally, each city is hiring an electric vehicle policy coordinator to help improve efficiency of the permitting processes.

Online pub Huffington Green sited Honolulu among five cities with specific EV related incentives, “Honolulu: All public, private and government parking facilities with at least 100 parking spaces must designate at least 1 percent for electric vehicles by Dec. 31, 2011.”

All Aboard! City Awards Two More Big Rail Contracts.

March 22, 2011

A view of Honolulu from Ansaldo Honolulu's rapid transit vehicle

Mayor Carlisle announced yesterday that rail transit contracts valued at close to $1 billion were awarded to Ansaldo Honolulu and Kiewit Infrastructure West. Ansaldo won the contract for building the rail cars and control systems ($574 million), while Kiewit will construct the elevated fixed guidway for the second phase, from Pearl Highlands to Aloha Stadium ($372 million). This brings the total of the four contracts now awarded to $1.6 billion.

Ansaldo's state-of-the-art rail car decked out with bus-like graphics

In spite of continued criticism from anti-rail advocates, the Mayor has pointed out that securing contracts now, during a slow economy, is saving the taxpayers millions.

“Not only are we creating much-needed jobs with these and other rail contracts, but we are also saving taxpayers’ money by making the most of the competitive bids coming in for the project,” said Mayor Carlisle. “This process reinforces the City’s commitment to ensure the rail project comes in on time and on budget.”

All but one of the first four contracts has come in well under the estimated budget, saving the $5.5 billion rail project approximately $315 million so far.

Estimate                 Contract Amount             Savings

Core Systems                 $792 million          $574 million                      $218 million

Second Phase Work    $319 million          $372 million                      ($53 million)

First Phase Work          $572 million          $482 million                      $90 million

Maintenance Facility  $255 million          $195 million                      $60 million

Total                                $1.938 billion        $1.623 billion                   $315 million

Anti-rail stallwart Cliff Slater complained that these contracts are premature and meant only to ensure the project is harder to obstruct, but the strategy of locking in contracts during an economically depressed period is proving successful. Both labor costs and building material costs are down, and major contractors are short of work. The economic downturn is international in scope so that rail car manufacturers from throughout the globe are also more competitive.

“We are pleased that three of the four major contracts have resulted in a net savings of more than $300 million. This contributes significantly to the confidence and stability of the financial plan,” Mayor Carlisle said.

Train service for the first leg of the transit route from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium is scheduled to begin in 2015, with full service along the entire 20-mile route from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center in 2019.

Guy Kawasaki’s New Book Enchants

March 18, 2011

Guy Kawasaki’s new book Enchantment is his most detailed revelation to date about the art of marketing elevated to spiritual experience. Kawasaki was a lead evangelist with Apple during its break-out years and was one of the main spark plugs that fired up Apple’s legendary brand loyalty.

Kawasaki’s recounts the evolution of persuasion as it applies to his Apple experience. Guy really, really believed Apple was the best computer, and he made a lot of other people really, really believe it too. But, the power of harnessing Enchantment can be applied to any deeply held belief the reader has a burning desire to share.

Kawasaki refined his skills as a post-Apple venture capitalist, and founder of Alltop, the ubiquitous online content directory. His new book is his best because he’s still engaged and learning. And, in our brave new world of the internet, ten second attention spans and social media you either learn or retire.

In Enchantment, Kawasaki takes us into the inner algorithm of his methodology. This is a “how to” book for a subject that is viewed as almost mystical by many. It is not just a compelling read on how to apply good old fashioned enthusiasm and communication skills to create curiosity, buy-in, and loyalty (in that order) for your product or service. It goes well beyond the ordinary. Kawasaki shares his creative insights into how advocacy can transcend its normal boundaries and become an infectious, life-altering intervention.

Enchantment is a primer on how to make any good idea contagious.

Enchantment is the best, and most revealing, book yet by Guy Kawasaki. After a amazingly successful career where he has perfected the art of persuasion and motivation. It is generous of Kawaski to share some of the magical secrets of his unique abilities.




Geothermal Poised for Growth

March 15, 2011

Geologically heated ground water is a virtually "limitless" energy resource present in Hawaii. Credit: Geothermall Energy Association

One of the many ramifications of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan was the stark reminder of the vulnerability of nuclear power plants. As a direct result seven older nuclear plants are being shut down in Germany and the potential for catasrophic disaster has renewed the emphasis on other safer methods of energy production.  One such beneficiary is geothermal.

A recent report by Pike Research forcasted a doubling of geothermal power by 2020. That was before the current bad publicity surrounding nuclear power.

Geothermal energy is defined as heat from the Earth. It is a clean, renewable resource that provides energy in the U.S. and around the world in a variety of applications and resources. Although areas with telltale signs like hot springs are more obvious and are often the first places geothermal resources are used, the heat of the earth is available everywhere, and we are learning to use it in a broader diversity of circumstances. It is considered a renewable resource because the heat emanating from the interior of the Earth is essentially limitless. The heat continuously flowing from the Earth’s interior, which travels primarily by conduction, is estimated to be equivalent to 42 million megawatts (MW) of power, and is expected to remain so for billions of years to come, ensuring an inexhaustible supply of energy.

Both private capital and public support are coming into the geothermal market. Private loans backed by Department of Energy loan guarantees are bringing geothermal plants online in Oregon and Nevada, and in the past year the Department of Energy (DOE) has funded geothermal research, development, and demonstration projects in 39 states worth $400 million.

The growth in finance comes as transmission networks and policies are congealing to support new geothermal development. Initiatives such as $25 million in DOE funding granted to The Western Electricity Coordinating Council and the Western Governors’ Association have allowed plans to come together to ensure geothermal power can go from where it is made to where it is needed.

As 2011 unfolds there will be a new surge in geothermal power projects. Around 500 to 700 MW of power projects are expected to enter their final construction phase, adding approximately 3,000 construction jobs this summer.

The industry, which has been providing clean, renewable baseload power in America for over 50 years, is expanding into new regions with the support of increased funding and technological advancements.


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