Wed, Jul 6, 2022 2:13 PM
By Merrilee Gasser, The Center Square
A bill that taxes petroleum distributors and pays rebates to people for installing zero-emission vehicle fueling systems is among several Gov. David Ige signed into law.
Ige’s office said the package of bills is meant to advance his priority of transitioning Hawaii toward a clean energy economy “as soon as possible.” The plan is to have a fully decarbonized economy by 2045.
Senate Bill 2570 imposes a $1.05 tax on each barrel or fractional part of a barrel of petroleum sold by a distributor to any retail dealer or end user other than a refiner. Aviation fuel was not included in the tax, according to the bill. The bill also creates a zero-emission vehicle fueling system rebate program by paying $200,000 for the installation of a hydrogen fueling system that dispenses only renewable hydrogen and $200,000 for the upgrade of fuel capacity for a hydrogen fueling system, according to the bill.
Also included is the creation of a special fund to be used by the Public Utilities Commission, the Division of Consumer Advocacy of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
The governor also signed House Bill 1801, which requires state facilities to implement “cost-effective energy efficiency measures” and the Hawaii State Energy Office to collect all state-owned facilities’ utility bills and energy usage data and make it public. It also calls for all new state building construction after July 1, 2023, to be designed to maximize energy and water efficiency and energy generation potential.
House Bill 1800 establishes the state’s goal to be 50% below 2005 emissions by 2030 and appropriate funds for the Hawaii State Energy Office to conduct a study to “determine Hawaii’s pathway to decarbonization.” The office will then make recommendations for regulations, including transitioning the state workforce to “meet the needs of a decarbonized economy,” according to the bill.
The governor also signed House Bill 2089, which changes the way the state calculates its progress in switching to renewable energy by basing the progress on generation instead of sales.
“Last week’s US Supreme Court decision limiting the federal government’s ability to fight climate change underscores why it’s so important for states to act and lead by example,” said Ige. That’s why I’m proud to sign these four bills today, as they ensure that Hawaii continues to move forward as a national and global leader in creating the strategies necessary to achieve a clean energy economy, being more energy efficient in state government, clarifying how we measure progress on renewable energy, and creating incentives for emerging technologies hydrogen.”