News & Views‎ > ‎

Newsletter: Feb 2015

HIPL news

The HIPL steering committee has been busy working toward setting our organization up as an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit.

We are also working toward a half-day strategic planning retreat, tentatively scheduled for February 28. All our HIPL supporters are welcome to join us on that day. Email us for more info.

HIPL events

February 06, 09, 20: Climate Change and Action, part of the Pacific Peace Forum Series and sponsored by the Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center. This is a series of presentations and panel discussions about how climate change will affect Hawaii and other Pacific Island nations and people, including the role of theology and faith in responding to climate change. See the flyer or visit

February 12-14: "Preach-In for the Planet", use Valentine's Day weekend to promote love for Creation and taking action on climate change. Visit to see where celebrations are being held in Hawaii.

February 13-14: Global Divestment Day. That same weekend, is promoting divestment from fossil fuels for people and institutions. That Friday, join us at the Hawaii State Capitol Building to deliver Valentines to legislators urging them to love the earth by supporting divestment at the state level.

Local news

UH Board of Regents to Explore Fossil Fuel Divestment. The University of Hawaii Board of Regents has created a committee to explore the "feasibility and desirability" of divesting from fossil fuel production and to revisit its policies and goals for sustainability. This is a victory for DivestUH, part of the larger fossil fuel divestment movement.
Jet Fuel Spill Threatens Keehi Lagoon. A faulty weld in a fuel storage tank on Sand Island appears to be to blame for spilling 42,000 gallons of jet fuel into the ocean, coming within 150 feet of Keehi Lagoon. Although HIPL focuses on the global warming effects of fossil fuel use, let us not forget the many other toxic and harmful effects of fossil fuel use, including oil, fuel, and fracking wastewater spills, smog, mountaintop removal, mercury poisoning, and others. These disproportionately harm the environment, children and the elderly, the sick and poor communities, i.e.  the "least of these" to which we are called to serve.
HEI Sale Spurs Talk of Big Island Co-Op. The planned sale of Hawaiian Electric to NextEra Energy has spurred a discussion on Hawaii Island of the possibility of converting HELCO into a public cooperative utility, much like Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, which has been progressive in promoting energy efficiency, renewables and smart-grid technologies.
Randy Iwase picked as next PUC chair. Veteran legislator and PUC advisor Randy Iwase has been chosen by Gov. David Ige to replace outgoing Public Utilities Commission chair Hermina Morita. He has lots of experience and will have a lot of challenging issues to confront, assuming he is confirmed by the Senate.

Global news

Solar Investment Beats Stock Market. A new study shows that homeowners who finance a residential photovoltaic system get better returns than investing in the stock market. Rather than paying for it up front, it actually makes sense to take out a loan. The electricity cost savings more than cover the loan payments, generating signficant returns that beat stock market index funds. Now, if we could only get HECO to speed up residential PV approvals...

Solar Industry Creates More Jobs than Oil and Gas. Supporters of the oil and gas production boom in the US tout all those new jobs. But the Solar Foundation determined that the solar industry created about 50% more jobs than the oil and gas pipeline and extraction industries in 2014. Imagine instead of the Keystone XL pipeline running from Canada to Louisiana if we had solar panels and wind turbines along that route!

Ocean Warming "Off the Charts". You may have read that 2014 was the hottest year on record. But what you may not know is that ocean warming has been accelerated to such a degree that it literally goes off the standard charts that scientists use to present historical and current data. That is because 90% of global warming is actually occurring in the ocean rather than the atmosphere. And these effects are just as important as heating of the atmosphere, especially for Hawaii and other Pacific islands. Learn more about these effects at the upcoming Climate Change and Action events.
off the charts of NOAA

Energy Assistance for Community Solar. A Minnesota non-profit (Rural Renewable Energy Alliance) is working to allow low-income families to use their federal energy assistance funds to support a community solar project. Instead of the funds going directly to a utility for unpaid electricity bills, the families would be able to use those funds to support electricity generated by the nearby community solar project. The group's existing project uses energy assitance funds to install solar heating for these families, reducing their energy needs and thus electricity or heating bills.

Has your faith community considered installing a photovoltaic system or even been approached by a solar installer about pursuing a power purchase agreement to finance such a system? Then you should probably read this finance guide from the California IPL chapter before proceeding. While a PPA can be a good deal for congregations, it is by no means the only way to finance such a system. Contact HIPL if you have questions, want guidance from industry professionals or wish to talk with other congregations that have gone through the process.

The reflective Chistian season of Lent starts on February 18. Once again, the Massachussetts conference of the United Church of Christ is promoting the Ecumenical Carbon Fast. This is a daily program of reflection, action, and sharing within faith communities. The Washington, DC IPL chapter has created a convenient Lenten Carbon Fast calendar, as well. We will be adapting this for Hawaii and sharing it via email and our Facebook page soon.

The legislative session in Hawaii has started, and there are several energy-related bills to keep track of. Senate Bill 715 and the related House Bill 623 will required 100% renewable energy by 2040, up from 70% in 2035. House Bill 484 will help make community solar projects more available for everyone. Other relevant measures include HB1512, requiring the Public Utilities Commission to establish performance criteria for electric utilities, and HB1504, requiring the legislative reference bureau to study different public utility models as an alternative to our current for-profit model. As of February 3, SB715, HB623, and HB484 were recommended for passage by the respective committees, but more hearings are in store. Hearings for HB1512 and HB1504 are scheduled for Feb. 5. You can do your part by submitting testimony in writing or in person. Stay up to date by clicking on the "Measure Tracking" button at the Hawaii State Legislature website or visit the state's Public Access Room

Attend one of the Hawaii Preach-In on Global Warming celebrations on February 14-15, Valentine's Day weekend.

Support us!
The best way to support HIPL is to get your congregation involved as a partner in our efforts. The voices of people of faith are needed on the overarching issue of global warming because of the foundational moral dimensions of this issue and the kinds of fundamental changes that are needed to address it effectively and with justice and equity for all people and the environment.

However, we also appreciate your financial support. The Interfaith Alliance-Hawaii continues to serve as our fiscal sponsor. Your donation to HIPL should be made out to them and sent to our mailing address for the time being.

PO Box 37266
Honolulu, HI 96837

As always, send us your news and stories to share in the newsletter at