In June, 2006, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle signed three bills in an ambitious renewable energy package. Combined, the three pieces of legislation make up her “Energy for Tomorrow” vision. SB 2957 emphasizes energy self-sufficiency by increasing the income tax credit for certain renewable energy technologies, such as solar-thermal, wind-powered and photovoltaic energy systems. It also removes the 2008 sunset date for these credits. The bill also establishes a “pay-as-you-save” pilot project to provide a financing mechanism to make purchases of residential solar water heater systems.

SB 3185 and HB 2848 emphasize savings, efficiency and renewable-energy independence. Among other things, they authorize the state’s Public Utilities Commission to establish a public benefits fund to support energy efficiency and conservation programs.    EC