Hawaii News

New laws signed by Gov. Green to promote clean energy in Hawaiʻi

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To combat climate change and work toward the state’s zero-emission goal of 100% clean energy by 2045, Hawaiʻi Gov. Josh Green on Wednesday signed seven bills into law.

SB691 (Act 224) authorizes the State Energy Officer to adopt rules to enforce or amend minimum efficiency standards for certain products, resulting in greater energy and water savings. Product suppliers will have to bring more energy-efficient products to market by 2025.

HB192 (Act 225) prohibits the sale of certain fluorescent lamps to reduce energy waste and quantities of mercury from such lamps to avoid polluting Hawaiʻi’s environment. Ten other states have already adopted similar laws. 

SB1024 (Act 226) establishes long-term goals and implements strategies that help to reduce and ultimately eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from Hawaiʻi’s ground and inter-island transportation sectors. It also establishes a clean ground transportation working group and inter-island transportation working group comprising of Hawaiʻi state agency heads and other stakeholders.

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“Transportation produces the majority of Hawaiʻi’s emissions,” said Sen. Chris Lee, chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Culture and the Arts and author of SB1024. “This bill will move Hawaiʻi toward zero emissions from land, sea and air transportation, catalyzing investment in new local jobs, reducing future transportation costs, and building a cleaner Hawaiʻi economy for our next generation.”

Big Island Rep. Nicole Lowen, chair of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, said: “These bills will provide direct savings to Hawaiʻi’s families and businesses by lowering energy costs, will benefit the electric grid by reducing demand, will reduce toxic waste in the environment, and will avoid hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon emissions.”:

SB1534 (Act 222): Creates a mileage-based road usage charge to replace state motor fuel taxes beginning on July 1, 2025, for electric vehicles. Eliminates the $50 annual state vehicle registration surcharge for electric vehicles. Allows electric vehicle owners to pay a registration surcharge or a per-mile road usage fee until June 30, 2028. Requires certificates of inspection to state the odometer reading of vehicles. Requires motor vehicle registration applications to specify whether the type of fuel for which the vehicle is adapted is battery electricity. Requires the Department of Transportation to plan for the deployment of a state mileage-based road user charge program by 2033 and submit a report to the Legislature. Appropriates funds.

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SB1173 (Act 223): Prohibits a person from causing a diesel- or gas-powered vehicle to discharge clearly visible smoke, soot or other exhaust emissions onto another person or motor vehicle. Establishes a minimum $500 fine for violators.

SB1417 (Act 221): Requires the Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority to consider the impacts of climate change, sea level rise and climate-resilient development in the design and siting of buildings in the Kakaʻako and Kalaeloa community development districts.

Blue Planet Foundation Executive Director Melissa Miyashiro said in a press release: “Hawaiʻi is recognized as a global leader on ambitious climate policy, and the bills signed into law today move us closer to making our climate goals a reality.

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“We can’t overlook the importance of affordability as we transition to cleaner energy sources. The energy efficiency bills enacted today will play a foundational role in helping Hawaiʻi lower its carbon footprint, while also lowering utility bills for residents and businesses. These are the win-win climate policies we need.”

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