HEPF Peer Exchange: Benchmarking Low-Carbon Transportation Policy and Greenhouse Gas Analysis

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The Hawaii Energy Policy Forum (HEPF) held its third member-driven peer exchange (co-sponsored by Ulupono Initiative) on December 4, 2019, bringing together over 30 energy organizations to benchmark low-carbon transportation policy and analytical methods to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The goal of this peer exchange was to:

  • learn from each other about international, national, and sister state policy and market trends and best practices in greenhouse gas and low-carbon transportation policy, particularly those which use carbon lifecycle analysis as a primary mechanism for measurement of success and market value;
  • identify areas which have relevance to Hawaii, where Hawaii can lead, what resources are required to implement and regulate these policies, and where Hawaii is better suited to follow policy adopted elsewhere; and 
  • evaluate and select a methodology to use for greenhouse lifecycle analyses in Hawaii.

This discussion was particularly timely in light of two Hawaii state court decisions in May 2019, one rejecting a power purchase agreement decision by the Hawaii Public Utilities commission and one rejecting a final environmental impact statement decision by the County of Maui. The grounds for these decisions were, in part, statutory requirements on state agencies to consider greenhouse gas impacts in contested case decisions.

The peer exchange was led by Joelle Simonpietri of Simonpietri Enterprises LLC. It began with informational briefings which covered Argonne National Laboratory’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) model for carbon lifecycle analysis, U.S. federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), State of California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS), State of Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program, and the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which is the aviation equivalent of Paris Climate Accord. Within these informational briefings, there was discussion on establishing a benchmark year and greenhouse gas intensity for fossil fuel in Hawaii so that industry and policymakers can more clearly compare actions against the status quo. Other discussions led to recommendations to adopt GREET as the default model to standardize greenhouse gas impacts quantification, and develop a “Hawaii GREET” model to evaluate GHG lifecycle of current and planned actions with some of Hawaii’s unique characteristics. Participants also discussed joining the Pacific Coast Collaborative to harmonize policy and share best practices with the States of California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia on Low Carbon Fuel Standards and related GHG reduction policies for transportation.

Following the lively discussion, participants split into four groups to work on Hawaii-specific case studies in electricity, light ground transportation, heavy ground transportation, and air transportation. Each group sketched out the carbon lifecycle for their case study and mapped implications for current and future policies for Hawaii.