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Those who were looking for major pronouncements on clean energy in Gov. Neil Abercrombie‘s first State of the State address probably left the Hawaii Capitol a bit disappointed.
Chad Blair has already broken down the major takeaways in the speech, but a quick glance at the word cloud visualization attached to both his and this story show that economics trumped energy.
The word “energy” was used just nine times in his nine-page prepared remarks, more than half of which came in the one paragraph that was truly devoted to energy policy:
We will also move to ensure energy and food security for Hawaii. I have spoken of and sustained my interest in an independent Hawaii Energy Authority to move the clean energy agenda. However, I am encouraged by the ideas put forward by legislators and the energy community that propose a significant restructuring of the Public Utilities Commission to move energy projects and better connect our islands with the information and transportation infrastructure that is needed to make us more self-sufficient. I look forward to working with the legislature to come up with a solution so we can move on these matters with dispatch.
The section makes clear Abercrombie is no longer insisting upon the independent energy authority he made the cornerstone of his campaign platform on energy. Perhaps he’s just playing nice and striking a tone of collaboration as the legislative session starts, but it sounds like he’s ready to deal.
Jeff Mikulina of Blue Planet Foundation said he continues to believe an independent authority would accelerate the state’s move to a clean energy future, but said he would support efforts to instead “radically reform” the existing PUC paradigm. And while Mikulina would have liked energy to be more of a focus of the speech, he remains optimistic about Abercrombie’s “new day” in Hawaii.
“He’s been there for less than a couple months, it’s been a long road, and we’ll be there working with him,” he said. “We’re just encouraged that the governor has made it a priority. He made it a priority in the campaign and we’re going to hold him to that.”
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