The House Committee on Energy, Ecology and Environmental Protection and the Senate Committee on Economic Development have had hearings on several matters in which the League is interested but has taken no position this year. Here is a summary of the activities:
- Committees have favored allocation of funds to Dept. of Planning & Economic Development (DPED) for research and development on hydrogen for fuel. Royalties paid to the State by geothermal companies may be waived by the Board of Land and Natural Resources for ten years, or these royalties may be reduced, as an incentive to production. Special purpose revenue bonds may be available for an ethanol plant, and tax credits may be increased to 15% to extend to buildings other than homes. There may be a loan fund for purchase of heat pumps for people who don't earn enough to take advantage of tax credits.
- Still unresolved is the adoption of the State Energy Plan, to say nothing of the budget for DPED, the HNEI and the NELH.
- Also awaiting action is the matter of special revenue bonds for the "Son of H-Power" whose site will be designated by the winner of the bid competition. There will be a greater effort to educate the public on this project as well.
- There has been a resolution calling for a review of geothermal energy development and its socioeconomic and other impacts There is also a bill which proposes to permit exploration and mining leases in conservation lands - as an allowed use - with a very possible break in royalty payments for the developer (see above).
- An undersea cable to carry needed power between Molokai, Maui and Lanai has been proposed.