“Solar on every roof” has been my message to the people of Hawaii for the past eight years.
Going forward, it may be “solar on every roof — and storage batteries under every house.”
Earlier this year, I compared Hawaii’s electrical grid to an old-fashioned mainframe computer system — a system that has not kept up with the development of stand-alone personal computers and devices. Our state continues to rely on a centralized power plant to distribute power across the electrical grid. In the meantime, we continue to waste the sun for the sake of an outdated paradigm focusing on the producer rather than the end-user.
This “micro-grid” paradigm is evolving as the new reality even as Hawaiian Electric Co. continues to drag its feet for advancement of larger quantities of renewable energy from rooftop solar that has been vastly improved and more cost-effective.
Dramatic advances in battery storage technology, which allows consumers to store the energy they’ve generated for later use, will make going off the grid possible sooner than we think. I suspect there are a growing number of homes already planning to do this, and this should be a wake-up call for HECO to keep them in the family.
But for HECO’s solar policies to remain credible, it needs to rely less on its mantra of “stability and reliability” and turn to one that allows hook-ups more quickly, and incentives and assurances to put as much solar on our roofs as possible, especially while the federal 30 percent tax credit remains alive. That expires Dec. 31, 2016. Right now, there are enough financial incentives for most homeowners with rooftop PV systems to enter into net energy metering (NEM) agreements with HECO, whereby they sell the excess electricity their systems produce back to the utility.
But this incentive could become outdated at the present pace and by disincentives planned by HECO. Even though the company recently announced it will address its backlog of 4,800 applications for PV interconnection from customers seeking to supply electricity to the grid by April 2015, those customers hoping to purchase and install a PV system with a NEM agreement will be at the proverbial “back of the line.”
This delay in the approval process, combined with HECO wanting to start paying its NEM customers a less favorable rate for the electricity they feed into the grid (part of a proposal yet to be approved by the Public Utilities Commission), may make this arrangement less attractive. And again, this would force people to consider getting off the grid as a viable option.
For all these reasons, more and more people will be compelled to move over to the “non-export model” — that is, not feeding power back into the grid under a net energy metering agreement, but feeding it into their own homes through their own batteries into their own independently generating micro-grid. What could be more American than this?
Hawaii News Now
September 26th 2014
By: Chelsea Davis
East Oahu lawmakers are outraged following a report of a homeless man flashing a child at a neighborhood park on Friday.
Representative Gene Ward has a stern warning for the offender.
“Don’t come around our neighborhood if you expect to get away with this stuff,” he said.
The Kamiloiki Elementary School principal immediately sent out a letter to parents warning them of the incident.
The letter said the school received a call before the start of school Friday morning from someone who witnessed a “homeless” person expose himself to a child wearing a Kamiloiki School shirt at the adjoining park. The caller said she saw the man yelling at the kid. She said she intervened and called 911.
“Certainly we want to have compassion for the homeless and try to find a solution. But our first concern is the safety of our residents and particularly our children,” said Senator Sam Slom.
Both Slom and Ward say homelessness is a growing problem, even in Hawaii Kai.
“It shows that the numbers in Waikiki have expanded to the point where they’re exporting these individuals to various parts in our community,” said Ward.
Ward says he is upset because this isn’t the first time an incident like this has happened in their backyard.
In November 2013, Kaiser High School sent out an alert to parents after one of its students was groped as she was walking home from school.
“I don’t think it’s the same person, but if this is the same person, there should be some really swift action so this doesn’t happen again,” Ward said.
The homeless man described to Kamiloiki Elementary School officials couldn’t be found. The school beefed up security on campus for the day.
Sept. 16th 2014
By: Rep. Gene Ward
One of the easiest and most doable things to lower our cost of living in Hawaii is an esoteric act passed by Congress almost 100 years ago and is called by an innocuous name that makes people’s eyes glaze over when they hear it, i.e. “The Jones Act.” This 1920 law makes the cost of shipping 4 to 5 times more expensive than it has to be because it eliminates any competition in our shipping industry between here and the mainland.
Exempting Hawaii from the Jones Act could lower our cost of living by 25%-35% by not requiring that ships delivering goods to Hawaii from the mainland to use ships built, owned, crewed, and flagged by Americans. In other words, let the thousands of ships that dump their cargo on the West Coast and then bypass Hawaii empty, carry their goods to Hawaii on their way back to Asia at a fraction of the cost we now pay for this service – and we must import over 85% of everything we consume.
Lowering the cost of living in Hawaii is really that simple. Instead the people of Hawaii are paying thousands of dollars more per family to subsidize this act. We need what the Congress gave to American Samoa, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands, who were given exemptions, but we have to ask for it first.
Opponents cite national defense and play the fear card on how this act protects us from not having to rely on foreign ships during a time of war. What they fail to mention is that taking Hawaii out of the shipping equation will not weaken America’s defense poster and the biggest threat to Hawaii’s supply chain has always been shipping strikes, not wars.
The reality is that America is pretty much out of the maritime business with over 90% of our ship building facilities having been closed and the only new ships we produce are military vessels. The bottom line is that the Jones Act still exists unmodified because of a quintessential lack of political will. Our leaders know its downsides but have gotten away with not asking for an exemption because they know few people have heard of the act and even fewer understand what it is doing to them. But times are changing and every time we pay $5 for a gallon of milk or gas, and then read our electrical bill, we know something has to be done.
As citizens awaken to how anti-Hawaii and damaging this law is, the cries of national defense will weaken and be seen as a disguise for the invisible hand that keeps taking an increasingly large portion of the food off the table of our poor and our senior citizens.
URL LINK: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/hawaiis-out-of-control-living-costs-can-be-beat/123
Rep. Ward Unveils Legislation For Greater Acces to Investional Drugs For Terminally Ill: “Right To Try
WARD UNVEILS LEGISLATION FOR GREATER ACCESS TO INVESTIGATIONAL DRUGS FOR TERMINALLY ILL: “RIGHT TO TRY”
Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) plans to introduce legislation that will make it legal for a terminally ill patient to access investigational drugs. The bill, modeled after a Colorado law that allows terminally ill patients to use experimental drugs without getting federal approval, addresses issues that may arise when terminally ill patients seek to use a medication whose safety and effectiveness is still being tested in clinical trials. Such “right to try” laws have also been passed in Louisiana and Missouri, and will be put to Arizona voters this November as a ballot proposition.
“The bottom line is that, whether it be through speeding up valuable research, or by encouraging the FDA to support expanded access to experimental treatments, this bill is all about saving lives,” Ward said.
According to the Goldwater Institute, fewer than three percent of the sickest patients are able to access investigational drugs through clinical trials, and more than one million Americans die from a terminal illness each year.
This legislation does not require manufacturers to make investigational products available to terminally ill patients, but gives them the “Right to Try” to access potentially life-saving investigational drugs. “The terminally ill patient must assume ultimate responsibility for any consequences resulting from taking the investigational medicine, good or bad, but people should have that choice, and giving them that option is the hallmark of a compassionate society,” Ward said.
SUBJECT: HURRICANES COMING FOR SURE – SO LET’S BE PREPARED!
WINDS AND RAINS IMMINENT:
To date, Hurricane Iselle has not deviated from its course and will hit the Big Island this afternoon – with PLENTY OF RAIN (7-12 inches) AND WINDS (70+ MPH). FOR US IN HAWAII KAI THIS MEANS WE HAVE TO BE PREPARED FOR RAINS AND WINDS OF LESS INTENSITY BUT ARE CLEARLY IN DANGER OF FLOODING AND WIND DAMAGE!
If Hurricane Iselle were not enough, within hours, a strengthened HURRICANE JULIO will follow, though suspected at this point to veer to the north of the islands. Nonetheless we have to be prepared for a doubleheader hurricane weekend.
Yes, hurricane paths and speeds are predictable and can be charted out by the hour, but hurricanes by their nature are unpredictable. They can turn to the left or the right as much as 90 degrees without notice (as I have experienced in East Timor). Below are a few reminders and phone numbers you might want to keep handy over the next few days:
EMERGENCY SHELTER AVAILABLE IN HAWAII KAI: Kaiser High School has been designated as Hawaii Kai’s place of shelter. If you don’t feel safe at home, come to Kaiser HS located at 511 Lunalilo Home Road, just next to the Fire Station. It opens at 10 PM tonight, Thursday, August 7, 2014. According to the DOE announcement however, pets will not be allowed in the shelter area.
EMERGENCY SUPPLIES STILL AVAILABLE IN HAWAII KAI: My office has checked with our stores and gas stations in case you have not stocked up on a safe supply of goods (7 days recommended). Inventories below reflect supplies as of Thursday morning and could vary throughout the day, so best to call numbers below if you want certainty:
- Safeway 396-6337 NO water, AAA & AA batteries only
- Costco 396-5538 NO water, NO batteries, NO propane
- Walgreens 395-9023 YES water, AAA & AA & D batteries only
- Longs 395-9491 NO Water, AAA & AA batteries only
- City Mill 396-5151 NO Water, AAA & AA & D batteries only, YES propane, NO sandbag
GASOLINE STILL AVAILABLE IN HAWAII KAI:
All of Hawaii Kai’s stations report they have gas but again, call if you want to be sure:
- Union 76 Station at Koko Marina- 395-2133
- Chevron Hawaii Kai at Koko Marina- 396-1110
- Aloha Station at the 7-11 in Hawaii Kai – 395-7111
- Tesoro Station on Keahole Street- 397-1569
SCHOOLS/UH: all public schools and the University of Hawaii will be closed on Friday, August 8th.
THE BUS/HANDIVAN: There is no Bus or Handivan service available starting 10pm Thursday night, August 7, 2014.
VOTING IN SATURDAY’S PRIMARY ELECTION: The Office of Elections says “business as usual” unless otherwise noted. NO contingency plans have been announced and they will announce any changes through the media. EMERGENCY NUMBERS: (assuming phone services working)
- Electrical outage: call 548-7311 or 855-304-1212
- Water issues: call 748-5000
The surf is expected to be an additional few feet, so be wary of big waves and damage they can cause to persons and property. If uncertain about your location, check your phone book for the inundation zone for your area. FYI, residents living on the makai side of Kalanianaole Hwy, the inundation zone is up to Koko Marina Shopping Center.
EMERGENCY BROADCASTS: Listen to KSSK for updated emergency information as 92.3 FM, or 590 AM. All of the major TV stations will also be providing updates and storm videos between regular broadcasting.
OTHER HOUSEHOLD PRECAUTIONS:
-AIRBORNE OBJECTS: 50-60 MPH winds can make projectiles out of anything not tied down outside your home. Tie it down or weight it down, or bring it inside if it fits.
-DRIVING: we are all advised to stay off the roads as much as possible; but if need be, be brief, and watch out for flashfloods/flooding on some parts of the road. Check your brakes after driving through deep water.
-GUTTERS: Water kills a house and should be directed as far away as possible as quickly as possible. Check your rain gutters to make sure they are clean enough for large amounts of heavy rains to flow through them and away from your house.
-FLOODING AROUND YOUR HOUSE: if you expect flooding on any side of your house, wood, bricks, and sand are good barricades. (Unfortunately City Mill has no sand bags left in stock.) The best solution may be to dig a small trench for the water to flow away from your house.
-THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HURRICANES AND STORMS: Yes, storms and especially hurricanes are powerful and scary, but with adequate preparations we can minimize the downside. Recall with less than adequate lead time on Kauai, Hurricane Iniki in 1992 resulted in a minimal loss of life (6) but extensive property damage of $1.8 billion. Now it’s our turn to fight this 22 year old battle again.
-I’M AVAILABLE: call 911 for an emergencies, but if you can’t reach them or if your family is in danger, or if a senior citizen is in need of assistance, etc., call me for assistance. My cell 781-9931 (but texting is the best).
Aloha, Representative Gene Ward
Representative Gene Ward speaks with Alexandra Avery, President of The Outdoor Circle and Representative Tom Brower Chair, House Committee on Tourism, on Aerial Advertisements.
For Immediate Release
Friday, June 20, 2014
WARD CAUTIONS DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION TO NOT REPEAT HISTORY ON KALANIANOLE HIGHWAY
“REPAVING TO TAKE ALMOST TWO YEARS……..”
Representative Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) has sent a letter to the Department of Transportation questioning the repaving plan slated to begin on Monday, June 23.
Ward questioned the lane closures plan as well as the length of the project. “It took 4 years to add 2 lanes to the old 4-lane Kalanianaole Highway while at the same time paving 6 lanes, acquiring land, moving and relocating underground utilities, and other related electrical, telephone, and sewer problems. This same 5-mile stretch of road is now said to take almost 2 years (20 months) to just resurface. Is this an accurate calculation,” Ward questioned.
Ward also noted that the outrage among his constituents during the Kalanianaole Highway Widening Project of the early 1990’s was resolved by the formation of a Kalanianaole Highway Task Force. The task force was comprised of East Oahu elected officials, the DOT, and paving contractors and resolved such issues as implementing a hotline, the first-ever contraflow in East Honolulu, and placement of irrigated trees in the middle of the medial strip rather than rocks and cement proposed by the DOT.
“If we’ve learned anything from what my community went through in the last paving project, it’s for the DOT to be receptive and not defensive, and just listen to the community and history will never be repeated.” Ward concluded by proposing the reactivation of such a task force.
Click below to download letter