Cynthia Thielen

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hawaii Is Ready for Wave Energy

The state should harness its wave energy now

By Rep. Cynthia Thielen

In the greasy wake of BP's catastrophic Gulf oil spill, colleagues of mine at the state Legislature (Rep. Chris Lee and Sen. Gary Hooser) and the Sierra Club (Director Robert Harris) have called for an energy awakening at both the local and national levels.

They have done this with good reason: America's unacceptable dependence on oil must change, and Hawaii is uniquely positioned to lead the charge.

It's time to act, and here's how we can begin:

The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative established the framework for reaching 70 percent clean energy in Hawaii by 2030 (40 percent of which will come from renewable sources).

Neighbor island wind farms and an interisland transmission cable are projected to play a major role.

Undoubtedly, this is a step in the right direction, but wind can only provide a portion of Hawaii's energy needs. Furthermore, large wind farms consume valuable and finite real estate on neighbor islands to meet Oahu's energy needs, affecting how that land is able to be used for other purposes.

For true revolution to occur, Hawaii's energy intelligentsia -- its lawmakers, academics, energy executives and administrators -- must lead the way with bold, decisive actions that bring renewable technologies online now.

It is for precisely this reason that I have been a tenacious advocate for wave energy conversion in Hawaiian waters.

Hawaii's wave energy resources are among the best on the planet, and wave energy converters situated offshore leave Hawaii's finite land resources free for other uses. Due to the fact that ocean waves contain tremendous amounts of extractable energy, wave energy converters as a source of electricity have far more upside than older renewable energy technologies. In other words, while solar and wind have hit technological plateaus in terms of the amount of energy they are able to extract from the resources, wave energy systems will only become more powerful and efficient.

In January, nine countries -- Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden and Ireland and the UK -- announced plans to build a "supergrid." The project relies upon considerable wave energy resources in the North Sea to realize its goals. The UK also has established a "wave hub" which is situated on the sea floor. Wave energy companies pay to plug their converters into the hub, where converted electricity is then transmitted to the electric grid.

These are exactly the kind of actions that policymakers across the nation need to take, and we in Hawaii should be the first to recognize that.

To start, the state should develop a wave hub in an appropriate area offshore of Oahu. The Energy Division of the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) has staff and initial seed money. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo. is preparing Hawaii's wave resource assessment and concurrently completing its wave energy technology roadmap.

The U.S. Department of Energy recently funded an independent environmental analysis of wave energy technologies.

Furthermore, the DOE has $40 million in funding to test full-scale prototypes in Hawaii or Oregon.

We snooze, we lose out to the West Coast.

Wave energy technology has advanced to the point where companies in Europe are actively testing and fine-tuning their systems in advance of full-scale commercial operation. Exhaustive environmental, economic and technological analyses have been conducted, and data supports the conclusion that wave energy systems can be a major source of clean, reliable energy as the world moves away from fossil fuels for electricity generation.

Even a test facility following the UK's Wave Hub model would represent major progress for Hawaii as it strives to move away from its dependence on oil and toward a sustainable future. A wave hub operated by DBEDT or the University of Hawaii could support multiple commercial scale systems, providing clean energy to thousands of homes and creating hundreds of jobs in support of the operations.

Ultimately, this potent, yet undeveloped energy resource can reliably provide the lion's share of Hawaii's clean energy mandate.

Gov. Linda Lingle and the Legislature have laid the groundwork by ratifying the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative and planning for Hawaii's future. I am calling on our next administration to be even bolder, by making wave energy -- and the transition from overdependence on oil -- a top priority. It can do this by approaching wave energy conversion with the same zeal that's been devoted to wind and the interisland cable.

Wake up and harness our ocean's energy.

State Rep. Cynthia Thielen, R-50th, represents Kailua and Kaneohe Bay.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rep. Cynthia Thielen at White House on Energy Issues

Contact: Representative Thielen's Office
Phone:(808) 586-6480 Fax(808) 586-6481


Honolulu- Representative Cynthia Thielen is one of a dozen state legislators from across the country chosen to meet on renewable energy issues at the White House with top advisors to President Obama the week of January 25th. The “environmental dozen” are members of the Coalition of Legislators for Energy Action Now (CLEAN). CLEAN is comprised of over 1,200 state legislators from capitols nationwide. Thielen, a Republican, is a long-time champion of renewable energy, advocating tirelessly for wave energy in particular.

CLEAN is urging Congress to adopt legislation that promotes innovative energy development with its associated job creation, which will position the United States to be an international leader in the field of clean energy.

“I also want to make sure President Obama knows that Hawaii’s robust wave climate, which he has experienced first-hand, is not just for bodysurfing,” said Thielen. “We have two cutting-edge wave projects underway in Hawaii. On Maui, Australian company Oceanlinx is planning to install two wave energy converters. And I know that the President saw Ocean Power Technologies’ demonstrator buoy up close, because he bodysurfed at Pyramid Rock Beach, where the buoy is located.”

Members of the CLEAN team will also meet with Congressional delegates. Rep. Thielen will be returning to Hawaii on January 28th to resume her legislative duties.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wave Energy Ready for Prime Time

By Cynthia Thielen
Dateline: Uppsala, Sweden —
The 8th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference demonstrates that wave energy is maturing into its commercially viable stage. Co-sponsored by three global utilities, EWTEC 2009 has more than 400 attendees and presenters from all over the world, including China, Japan, Australia, Europe, Ireland, United Kingdom and Hawai'i. In the initial meeting, I encouraged wave energy developers to select Hawai'i to deploy and test their devices. The Hawai'i Clean Energy Initiative sets a 70 percent clean energy goal by 2030, and we cannot meet that goal without wave energy.
Global corporate giants such as Vattenfall have established in-house ocean energy programs, aiming for a fast breakthrough.
Statkraft, Europe's largest generator of renewable energy, is advertising for 30 scientific positions in wave energy. It sees a huge potential: "Worldwide the recoverable resources are estimated to around 6,000 TWh/year for wave power."
The third corporate sponsor, Fortum Energy company, is working on a full-scale demonstration wave power plant. When finalized in 2011, it will be the biggest wave power plant in the world. These corporate leaders are stepping up with money and employees, as they see wave energy is the most concentrated form of clean renewable energy readily available.
Even more impressive is the leadership of universities in Europe, Ireland and the U.K. At the University of Uppsala in Sweden, there are more than ten doctoral students who specialize in wave energy. Three wave energy converters are deployed at its Lysekil research site. With experienced and dedicated faculty, these students and Uppsala University are worldwide leaders.
Due in part to the recommendation of a Hawai'i utility executive at the last EWTEC in 2007, this year's session included a number of presentations on grid connection challenges. This is another sign of nearing commercialization phase, as connection issues become resolved. In response to my question, a scientific presenter from University College Cork, Ireland, concurred that wave power is essentially a "firm power" in Hawai'i, due to its reliability and advanced NOAA forecasts of ocean conditions. This gives wave power the advantage over wind, he noted.
Of particular interest and applicability to Hawai'i was the presentation on the Mutriku Wave Power Plant in the Basque region. With a start-up date of December 2009, this is the world's first commercial project to be installed in a breakwater. It uses an oscillating water column developed by WaveGen (now Voith Hydro). Parts were manufactured on site, creating a job/economic boost. The estimated annual energy output is 600,000 kWh. Hawai'i, with its existing breakwaters or future ones, is an excellent location for this technology. At my urging, WaveGen came to Hawai'i for meetings and soon will return.
Wave energy test sites are multiplying. WaveHub in England will be letting wave-energy converter companies "plug in" in 2010. Power from its 20 MW capacity will be fed into the electric grid. Not to be left behind, France soon will have its SEM-REV test site in generation in the ocean near the Loire Valley.
The University of Hawai'i has already been designated as one of two National Marine Renewable Energy Test Centers. Located at UH's Hawai'i Natural Energy Institute, the five-year designation comes with $1 million per year funding.
So how does Hawai'i catch up with Ireland, the U.K. and Europe? First, the University of Hawai'i at Manoa needs support and encouragement to establish a wave energy graduate program, with subject-matter experienced faculty. With Hawai'i's robust wave climate and the Hawai'i Clean Energy Initiative in place, we need this wave energy graduate program to attract future leaders in this field.
Second, HNEI should aggressively designate wave renewable energy zones in conjunction with the renewable energy facilitator, a position created by the Legislature. HNEI should direct preparation of the environmental reviews for these zones without delay.
Third, our congressional delegation should work for wave energy designated funding in its energy legislation. These funds can supplement the HNEI annual allocation to assist WEC companies with start-up and installation costs.
Fourth, the Legislature should enact an amended Act 221, to incentivize wave energy investors.
The ocean contains far more energy per square meter, significantly surpassing wind or solar power. We simply cannot reach the Clean Energy Initiative's goal without tapping this constant, clean energy. We must act now to light up our Islands and our future with Hawai'i's energy-dense ocean power.
Rep. Cynthia Thielen R-50th (Kailua, Kane'ohe Bay) wrote this commentary for The Advertiser.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

High Tech and Wave Energy

Rep. Cynthia Thielen and Jay Fidell Discuss Wave Energy Part 1

Rep. Cynthia Thielen and Jay Fidell Discuss Wave Energy Part 2

Rep. Cynthia Thielen and Jay Fidell Discuss Wave Energy Part 3

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wave Energy Beats Oil for Hawaii

Representative Cynthia Thielen’s
Keynote Address to International OMAE Conference
June 1, 2009

Aloha to all of you, and particularly to my friends from overseas: Professors Antonio Falcao, Teresa Pontes, Cameron Johnstone, and George Smith.

I represent the coastal communities of Kailua, Mokapu and Kaneohe Bay in the Hawaii Legislature. I’m an outspoken advocate for wave energy systems in our island waters.

Those of you who are engineers know the trick is to find the best solution to each problem. In Hawaii, it’s not oil; just as in Colorado, it’s not waves.

As we sit here, with the sun shining and breezes blowing, it’s hard to imagine that Hawaii is 93% dependent on imported fossil fuel for our energy needs. Each year we export 7 billion dollars to pay for imported oil. This has been calculated to be $2,100 from each woman, man and child (and that’s excluding aviation fuel). This means that Hawaii residents pay the highest electricity rates in the nation (over 20 cents per kilowatt hour on Oahu, and higher on some neighbor islands). We are totally vulnerable to price fluctuations in this volatile market and to supply disruptions. We learned in the 1970’s: with an oil shortage, California gets what it needs; Hawaii is left in the dark. But we failed to act 30 years ago. Fortunately, or wisely that has changed.

So what are we, as an isolated island state, doing about this energy crisis? The State of Hawaii and the U.S. Department of Energy have entered a partnership to develop Hawaii’s natural sources of energy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuel. Called the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), the goals are to achieve 70% clean energy by the year 2030. Forty percent of this will come from renewable energy; the other 30% from efficiency. Hawaii, with help and funding from U.S. Department of Energy is becoming the renewable energy laboratory for the nation. This is where wave energy converters will play a major role. We can’t reach that percentage without wave energy systems being part of the renewable portfolio. This is an opportunity and a challenge for those of you in the audience who are in the technical community, in industry and academics.

Why should you consider Hawaii? Hawaii’s wave climate is the second best in the world, with the first being at Tierra del Fuego. EPRI, the utility-funded Think Tank in Palo Alto, California has estimated Wave Energy Converters (or WEC’s) can provide 100% of our neighbor island’s needs and 80% of Oahu’s.

I’ll explain a bit about our wave climate. The northeasterly trade winds blow year-round, creating rough seas. The average sea state in summer is 6-8 feet within 10 second periods. Powerful winter swells created by “Aleutian Lows” (Arctic Storms) augment the available wave energy resource off Northern and Eastern shorelines.

The Hawaiian Islands are effectively volcanic seamounts that rise precipitously from the sea floor. The absence of a continental shelf means that wave energy arrives in island waters undiminished—unlike other locations such as North and South America and Europe. This is the same reason why surfers talk about how “powerful” Hawaiian surf is. In contrast, waves traveling through open ocean waters slow when they hit a continental shelf. The lack of a continental shelf in Hawaii means that waves literally slam into our coastline going full speed. With this constant, reliable wave climate and 24-hour forecasts available from NOAA, wave energy becomes in essence a “firm” power source for utilities.

Another major advantage is that, due to Hawaii’s underwater topography, the open ocean locations suitable for wave energy conversion occur from shore out to three miles from the coastline. This cuts down on the length of cable needed to transmit power to stations on shore, which in turn decreases project costs significantly. This is a major advantage that Hawaii has over mainland United States’ locations.

And for those of you who have been caught up in the federal bureaucracy: Operating within the State’s 3 mile jurisdiction means WEC developers avoid the bureaucratic battle at the federal level between two federal entities, MMS and FERC.

And still a further advantage for a Hawaii location is that Hawaii has a deep-water harbor, which combined with the presence of Pearl Harbor and the Pacific Fleet, means that there are a wide variety of marine services available.

And what about our University of Hawaii? After the United States Congress passed the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007”, I saw that the Act contained grant funding for National Marine Renewable Test Centers. I met with Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw and some of her deans to encourage UH to apply for the grant. The School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) took the lead and was awarded the grant and designated as one of only two National Marine Renewable Test Centers, with $1.2 million per year Federal grant and a five-year designation. The grant enables SOEST to study and implement wave energy systems in Hawaii’s seas.

At the Legislature, I co-sponsored two key renewable energy bills: House Bill 1271, places the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative’s provisions into law. The bill also creates and funds the position of energy program administrator plus seven planning and renewable energy positions. The HCEI no longer is a voluntary document. HB 1271 mandates we achieve 70% clean energy by 2030.

House Bill 1464, among other things, directs the State Energy Resources Coordinator to identify geographic areas containing renewable energy resources, which, of course, include areas suitable for wave, and to designate these areas as renewable energy zones. HB 1464 importantly authorizes the Energy Resources Coordinator to deem that a permit is approved, when the county or state permitting authority has been given adequate time, but has failed to act on the permit application.

The idea of Wave Renewable Energy Zones has gained international and local support for Hawaii:
Matthew Seed, CEO of Wavegen, a division of Voith Siemens, has testified: “We request that [wave energy] zones are selected and designated so that they are suitable for all types of WEC’s, including the implementation of breakwater, nearshore and shoreline wave energy converters.

Derek Roberson, President of Wavebob, an Irish technology, testified: Wavebob and utility Vattenfall have a joint venture to develop a 250MW commercial wave farm off the west coast of Ireland. Wavebob has established operations in the US and will have advanced demonstration projects, which would be ideally suited to Oahu’s wave resource.

ReVision evaluates technical and economic viability of WEC companies for international governments and utilities. ReVision testified: “Results of studies show Hawaii is uniquely positioned to become a leader in this technology. This, in turn, will create local jobs in science, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance.”

Dr. Sidney Chao and Peter Janda, VP of CIIIS testified: “Wave energy industry is on the verge of crossing the tipping point where power from WEC’s may easily surpass that from photovoltaic and wind.”

Also, Professor George Smith, who is a presenter at OMAE, and is Joint Head of Peninsula Research Institute for Marine Renewable Energy, University of Exeter, UK, stated” “Marine renewable energy is now coming to have real potential as a contributor to the generation of ‘clean’ energy and the reduction of carbon emissions from conventional energy production.” Professor Smith sees the “need for sea scale trials and developments as critical.”
As Hawaii moves to become the renewable energy capitol of the nation, I encourage you to look at Hawaii as a wave energy laboratory. Oceanlinx is in the process of installing two commercial Wave Energy Converters off Pauwela Point, on Maui’s windward side. The Oceanlinx project will total 2.7MW of capacity. Wavegen recently met with State Department of Transportation officials about shore and harbor-based systems.

Our island state provides the perfect environment in which to develop the Wave Energy Systems that will become the industry standards in this emerging sector of the world’s renewable energy portfolio. We have federal financial support and involvement through the HCEI and federally designated and financially supported University of Hawaii Marine Renewable Test Center; we have support from the Legislature and Administration; and we have cooperation from the major utility, Hawaiian Electric Company,

Some of you might have seen yesterday’s headline: Wave power budget faces cut.” The Obama administration is proposing a reduction from $40 million to $30 million for wave and tidal research funding. The $30 million is still 10 times greater than the funds provided by the Bush administration. Democrat Senator Patty Murray, from the State of Washington, is actively challenging that reduction, as will leaders in Hawaii. The article further notes: “Some experts have estimated that if only 0.2 percent of energy in ocean waves could be harnessed, the power produced would be enough to supply the entire world.” To those of you in industry, there is your challenge.

I’ll finish with a comment about someone who knows the power of Hawaii’s waves from firsthand experience: On his recent trip home, President Obama bodysurfed at Sandy Beach on the Ka Iwi coastline. The shorebreak at “Sandys” is notorious for its hollow, powerful waves, which come out of deep water and break right upon the shore. The waters just a couple of miles East of Ka Iwi are ideal for wave energy conversion. I invite you to develop and deploy your technology here, so on his next trip to his birth-state, President Obama can see your Wave Energy Converter in operation, providing clean, renewable power to the electric grid.

Mahalo and aloha.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Eco-nomics or green jobs, jobs, jobs

By Hawaii Representative Cynthia Thielen (R)

While the effects of the economic crisis are far reaching in all of our lives, the financial meltdown provides us the opportunity to rebuild our country with a green thumb. Our environment and our economy are interconnected. Realizing this link and working to create a symbiotic relationship is the viable solution to our financial woes. "Eco-nomics," the fusion of environmentalism and economics, has the power to spur a sustainable revitalization. Real recovery from our mammoth financial meltdown depends upon the application of "eco-nomics" to government, business and our daily lives. We as citizens should take advantage of this opportunity. Now that our economy appears to be at rock bottom, we have the opportunity to rebuild our system from the ground up. We have the chance to use our current crisis as a catalyst for green economic growth, and the potential to be part of a historic shift from short-term thinking to long-term management. From state lawmakers promoting environmental policy to citizens choosing not to drive to work once a week or buying local produce, we all have the opportunity to set the course to sustainability. By applying "eco-nomics" to our recovery plan we can change the global energy culture, preserve natural capital and promote a renaissance of sustainability.
By investing in renewable energy and green business, we can ensure a stable future for Hawaii, our country and our planet. As declared by President Obama, progressing toward a clean energy future would create entirely new industries and millions of new jobs.
Myriad wind, wave and solar energy sources have the potential to fulfill our energy needs and provide new opportunities for sustainable innovation. Wind farms on Maui, wave power projects off Oahu and the solar installation on Lanai all serve as a model of green growth that the world is encouraged to follow.
Our economic recovery depends also upon the health of our "natural capital"; water, forests, soil and air. We must transform our country to one that both values and respects our natural resources. We not only need these resources to thrive, we need them to survive. Trouncing our natural capital is no longer solely of environmental concern - it directly affects our economy and any hope for its revitalization.
An intact and flourishing ecosystem provides endless possibilities for growth. We have the opportunity to simultaneously preserve and employ our natural capital. Our powerful Pacific Ocean waves can create clean energy, our healthy Kau Forest Reserve on the Big Island can combat global warming and our nutrient-rich soil of Hawaii can produce organic agriculture.
It is imperative that we instill a sustainable approach to utilizing our natural capital in order to promote long-term ecological viability and the success of a green recovery plan.
Sustainability is no longer a buzz word; it has become a necessary way of life. As defined in 1987 at the World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainability is "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
This is very similar to the Native American Iroquois philosophy of the "seventh generation," in which one must consider the effects of one's actions on one's descendants seven generations in the future. The repercussions from the economic crisis have yielded an opportunity to apply a sustainable approach to our recovery.
Sustainable "eco-nomics" present solutions for both now and later; new jobs now and environmental security for the future. It is not only the responsibility of our government and business leaders to implement a sustainable "eco-nomic" recovery plan, but a responsibility of everyone.

Cynthia Thielen, a Republican, represents the 50th District (Kailua-Kaneohe Bay Drive) in the Hawaii House of Representatives.

Save Kailua Beach, before it disappears

By Representative Cynthia Thielen

I can remember when my husband and I, and our four children, would play touch football on Lanikai Beach in the 1970s. We could walk along the shoreline from the Kailua end of Lanikai all the way to the Waimanalo end of the loop.

That was before shoreline erosion took its toll.

In its present state, Lanikai Beach is cramped — with canoe clubs, fishermen, paddlers, sunbathers and swimmers all crammed onto a tiny stretch of shoreline that is a pittance of what it once was. Swells now slap menacingly against seawalls throughout much of Lanikai, creating backwash and providing an example of what happens when we fail to recognize and address coastal erosion.

Just around the corner from Lanikai is Kailua Beach — a unique jewel within the Hawaiian Island chain, as one of only a few accreting, urban coastlines that is entirely unarmored. Kailua Beach's development history, with large open areas makai of beachfront homes, has allowed the beach and dune system to remain intact and healthy while residential lots have been used to their highest and fullest potential.

This has created a win-win situation where private property owners and the general public each enjoy full use of this beautiful coastline. With erosion beginning to threaten this natural treasure, it is imperative that we act this legislative session to protect Kailua Beach.

The southern (boat ramp) end of Kailua Beach is eroding. This most heavily utilized portion of the beach is eroding at the alarming rate of 2-3 feet per year. The area includes Kailua Beach Park, which is used by large numbers of tourists and local residents alike. The area between the mouth of Ka'elepulu Stream and the Kailua Boat Ramp used to be a wide, sandy beach, where tourists could spend a day picnicking, swimming, or reclining.

That beach is no more. Cinder blocks and rebar - once buried deep under sand - protrude, and waves eat away at the dune system, exposing the roots of pine trees. To make matters worse, the erosion is propagating northward along the beach, toward beachfront homes and the widest areas of Kailua Beach.

For the past year, I've worked together with shoreline specialists from the University of Hawai'i and other government agencies to assess and identify the best course of action in dealing with erosion on Kailua Beach. In analyzing the rates of erosion and northward propagation along Kailua Beach, and the potential for degradation of property values, we determined that an interim moratorium on construction makai of existing structures was in the public's best interest.

Eight other members of the House Committee on Water, Land, and Ocean Resources and I have co-sponsored House Bill 593. The bill establishes an interim coastal construction line that temporarily restricts new construction makai of existing structures on beachfront properties in Kailua. It directs government agencies to assess the resource, giving special consideration to the natural processes of accretion and erosion that are unique to Kailua Beach.

Rules will then be determined regarding shoreline setback and the mauka extent of shoreline conservation districts in Kailua. The bill sunsets upon the adoption of rules, or in 2011, whichever is sooner.

It's important to note that some recent beachfront construction degrades the views of several existing homes and has generated backlash from the public. The makai footprint of one of these homes under construction rests on sand that at one time was under the shoreline surf.

Property values of beachfront homes are largely a reflection of their open view plain, a vista that is enjoyed by the thousands of people who use Kailua Beach for daily recreation. House Bill 593, in addition to protecting the value of existing properties, will prevent new development in areas that may be threatened by the recent erosion problem.

The Kailua shoreline is one of our community's most valuable resources. The wide, sandy beach is not only a community treasure — it is the reason that property values are so high along the shoreline. By supporting House Bill 593, we are preserving a natural resource for community use, and protecting property values for owners of beachside residences, while acting to ensure that this natural resource will be available for future generations.

Rep. Cynthia Thielen represents the 50th District (Kailua-Kane'ohe Bay).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Representative Cynthia Thielen
Assistant Minority Leader
50th District (Kailua/Kaneohe Bay)

The atmosphere was electric at President-Elect Obama's Transition Offices at 6th and D Streets in Washington DC. I was part of a diverse group of ocean energy advocates who were meeting with President Transition Team (PTT) members to promote and brief them on ocean renewable energy. Our group included environmental and non-profit organizations, major utilities, academics and renewable energy developers, entities that didn't normally join together on a common goal. After passing through well-run security, we were escorted to our conference room, passing a number of other filled meeting rooms where other PTT briefings were underway.

We presented the Ocean Renewable Energy Shared Vision and Call for Action to the Presidential Transition Team. Mainland supporters included Environmental Defense Fund, Surfrider Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Pacific Gas & Electric, Florida Power & Light, Oceanlinx, Ocean Power Technologies, Oregon State University, Oregon Wave Energy Trust and others. Signing onto the documents' Principles from Hawaii were the University of Hawaii, at Manoa, Hawaiian Electric Company and Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.

We explained the specific policy objectives to the PTT: The United States should increase electrical generation from ocean renewable energy sources, specifically from wave, tides and ocean currents; both State and federal policy should encourage environmentally responsible pilot demonstration projects; the federal and state governments should increase research and development funding and cooperate on unified environmental documents. Better transparent and coordinated federal, state, and interagency planning is needed for ocean renewable energy development. A further major concern, (but not affecting Hawaii's wave energy waters that are within state jurisdiction), was the federal jurisdictional dispute between Minerals Management Service and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

I explained to President-Elect Obama's Transition Team about Hawaii's excessive dependence on fossil fuel and its high utility prices. I further discussed the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative and its objective of 70% clean energy by year 2030, explaining that we can't meet this objective without tapping power from the ocean. The PTT asked for more immediate information about what the Obama Administration should do to support this technology and to create immediate "green jobs."

We "debriefed" at a K Street attorney's firm for over four hours to prepare the action paper. We later continued work on the action paper from around the nation in time for the PTT's deadline.

The action paper, submitted to the PTT calls for strong support from the Obama Administration for the emerging ocean renewable energy industry, specifically from waves, tides and ocean currents. Instead of delaying and letting the industry and green jobs go overseas, as it is at risk of doing, the action paper calls for immediate support and leadership. Short-term stimulus funding of $50 million would support pilot projects and create immediate jobs. The action paper specifically noted that Hawaii could be an appropriate location for such a project.

The action paper called for further funding for university research centers, established under Section 602 of the energy and Security Act of 2007. The University of Hawaii's Marine Renewable Test Center is one of the centers established under this federal law, and I advocated for that inclusion.

I came away from the Presidential Transition Team meeting with a lesson learned. Hawaii must be at the table if it is to develop our ocean power, create jobs, and light up our islands with green energy instead of fossil fuel.