Gov. David Ige held a press conference this afternoon at Central Middle School to sign three bills into law expanding the use of electric vehicles in the state to help meet Hawaii’s clean energy goals.
The bills, according to the governor’s office, complement ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in ground transportation.
Ige said he chose to hold the conference at Central Middle School to showcase an electric school bus, along with several other electric vehicles on the campus. Also, he said, because he wanted to lead by example, and it was walkable from the state Capitol. Ige said he did, indeed, walk over from the state Capitol.
“Ground transportation here in Hawaii accounts for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ige at the conference. “It is a large contributor to our dependence on imported fossil fuel. Coupled with our renewable energy goals, electric vehicles support the transition away from coal and fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.”
Hawaii has been and will continue to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Ige said, and in transforming its energy systems to be clean and renewable. Hawaii was the first state to commit to 100% renewables, he said, as well as the first to commit to the Paris Agreement.
Hawaii is the example for others to follow, he said, but still, there is more work to be done.
Ige signed the following three bills:
>> House Bill 424, will require all state agencies to “adopt a preference for renting electric vehicles or hybrid vehicles” for state employees, “provided that such a vehicle is suited for the specific travel requirements and available when needed.”
>> HB552 establishes clean ground transportation goals for state agencies to achieve — to transition 100% of light-duty motor vehicles to a zero-emission fleet by Dec. 31, 2035. It also authorizes the Department of Accounting and General Services to approve state fleet acquisitions, including zero-emission vehicle requirements.
>> HB1142 allocates three cents of the barrel tax to funding for the installation of EV charging systems via a newly established subaccount in the Public Utilities Commission’s special fund for a rebate program. It also establishes penalties for parking any vehicle in a parking space equipped with an EV charging system while not actively charging, and requires new EV charging systems to be at least Level 2 and network-capable, starting in 2022, among other requirements.
Ige, surrounded by supporters and those who worked hard to make the bills become a reality, signed HB424 , HB552, and HB1142 into law as Acts 73, 74 and 75.
Ige was joined in the signing ceremony by state Rep. Nicole Lowen, state Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, state Comptroller Curt Otaguro and Hawaii Energy executive director Brian Kealoha, among others.
Watch the press conference via the video above, or go to Gov. Ige’s Facebook page.