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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Hawaii Renewable Energy Facility Siting Process (7-HI-b)


Renewable Energy Facility Siting Process Process

The Renewable Energy Facility Siting Process (REFSP)(Hawaii Revised Statutes 201N; Hawaii Administrative Rules Title 15, Chapter 36) allows renewable energy developers to enter a voluntary streamlined permitting process through Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) for an additional fee. If the renewable energy facility qualifies for the REFSP, the state and county permitting process will be complete within 12 months (18 months if DBEDT grants an extension). The 12 month time limit does not start until the final acceptance of the HRS 343 (EA/EIS) document. The REFSP does not include Federal permits, but the Renewable Energy Facilitator assists the developer in obtaining applicable Federal permits.

7-HI-b.1 - Is the Renewable Energy Facility 200 MW or Greater and Does the Developer Want to Enter the REFSP

Although the REFSP is completely voluntary, all renewable energy facilities 200 MW and greater may automatically enter the REFSP through the DBEDT for obtaining permits necessary for developing the project.

7-HI-b.2 to 7-HI-b.3 – Is the Renewable Energy Facility 5 MW or Greater and Does the Developer want to enter the REFSP

Developers of renewable energy facilities 5 MW and greater are eligible to enter the REFSP and streamline the permitting process or obtain each permit individually without the assistance of DBEDT. DBEDT must approve the renewable energy facility for the REFSP, which is based on the project feasibility and financial ability to fulfill the REFSP. If DBEDT does not approve the nenewable energy facility, the developer must obtain each permit individually without the assistance of DBEDT.

7-HI-b.4 – Hold Pre-application Meeting to Determine Permit Plan

The Renewable Energy Facilitator and the developer hold a pre-application meeting to determine the Permit Plan for obtaining the permits required for the Renewable Energy Facility. The Permit Plan must include:

  • All state and county permits needed
  • All applicant information required
  • A plan for permits to be processed concurrently
  • A list of required state and county technical support and data required
  • Agreement on timeline and coordination for potential environmental impact statements and permit concurrence, review, and issuance.
  • Agreement on conditions by which any timelines may be extended
  • Agreements on cost reimbursement agreement between the developer and DBEDT for streamlining the permitting process

7-HI-b.5 - Post-conference Report

DBEDT submits a Post-conference Report to the applicant, which includes relevant information on the Permit Plan discussed at the pre-application conference.

7-HI-b.6 to 7-HI-b.7 – Is the Final EA or EIS Complete

If the project requires an EA or EIS, the developer must complete the Final EA or EIS before the Renewable Energy Facilitator and the developer complete the Permit Plan. Thereafter, agencies may issue permits to the developer.

State Environmental Review:
9-HI-a

7-HI-b.8 - Amend Permit Plan if Required by Final EIS

DBEDT amends the Permit Plan if new information in the Final EIS requires altering the original Permit Plan.

7-HI-b.9 – Permit Plan Application and HRS 343 Document

The developer submits the Permit Plan Application and the HRS 343 Document (State Environmental) to DBEDT for approval by the Renewable Energy Coordinator.

7-HI-b.10 to 7-HI-b.11 – Review Permit Plan Application

DBEDT/REF reviews the Permit Plan Application and accepts the application upon completion of the HRS 343 (State Environmental) process.

7.HI-b.12 – Publish Public Notice of Acceptance of Permit Plan Application in the OEQC Environmental Notice

Upon accepting the developer's Permit Plan Application, DBEDT publishes notice of the acceptance in the OEQC Environmental Notice within ten days of accepting the Permit Plan Application.

7-HI-b.13 – Review Permit Plan and Calculate Costs of Executing Permit Plan

State and county agencies review the Permit Plan and calculate the costs of executing the permit plan.

7-HI-b.14 – Assess Costs Related to Executing the Permit Plan and Present to Developer

DBEDT assesses the costs related to executing the Permit Plan and presents the costs to the developer for approval in the Cost Reimbursement Agreement.

7-HI-b.15 – Review Permit Plan for Adequacy of the Permits Required and the Permitting Timeline

The developer reviews the permit plan for the adequacy of the permits required and the timeline the agencies proposed for granting the permits.

7-HI-b.16 – Public Notice of Public Meeting on the Project Island

DBEDT publishes notice of the public meeting on the island where the developer will build the project.

7-HI-b.17 – Hold Public Meeting on Permit Plan

DBEDT holds a public hearing on the Permit Plan on the island where the renewable energy facility will be built. The public meetings promote public awareness of the proposed renewable energy facility and are an opportunity for any members of the affected community to provide input regarding the development and construction of the renewable energy facility and the Permit Plan for the renewable energy facility.

7-HI-b.18 – Compile Permit Plan and Submit to Developer

DBEDT compiles the Permit Plan for the renewable energy facility and submits it to the developer for review and acceptance.

7-HI-b.19 to 7-HI-b.21 – Does the Developer Believe the Permit Plan is Deficient

If the developer believes the Permit Plan is deficient, the developer has ten days to submit a written report identifying the deficiencies in the Permit Plan. After the developer submits a written report identifying deficiencies, the Renewable Energy Facilitator has five days to respond to the written report or resubmit to the applicant a revised Permit Plan for review.

7-HI-b.22 to 7-HI-b.23 - Does the Developer Accept Proposed Costs and Continue with the REFSP

The developer determines whether to accept the proposed costs and continue with the REFSP or proceed with the project by obtaining each permit individually.

7-HI-b.24 – Facilitate Timely Processing of the Permit Plan with State and County Agencies

The Renewable Energy Facilitator on behalf of the Energy Resources Coordinator facilitates the timely processing of the Permit Plan with state and county agencies responsible for approving, monitoring, and enforcing the terms and conditions of the permits in accordance with the Permit Plan. The Renewable Energy Facilitator may conduct discussions, meetings, conferences, or working groups with the agencies as necessary to obtain approval of the permit applications.

7-HI-b.25 – Facilitate and Assist Developer with Obtaining all Federal Permits Required in Connection with the renewable energy facility

The Renewable Energy Facilitator on behalf of the Energy Resources Coordinator shall facilitate and assist the developer with obtaining all federal permits required in connection with the renewable energy facility. This assistance may include consulting with the federal agencies, holding working groups, coordinating the federal permitting process, and providing general oversight and assistance with the federal permitting process.

7-HI-b.26 to 7-HI-b.31 – Complete All Permits in Permit Plan

The developer should obtain all permits in the Permit Plan from the agencies within 365 days. However, if all permit decisions are not made in 365 days the state and county agencies may apply for a six month extension. If all permit decisions are not made within 18 months, the state and county agencies must award the developer the permits by default.




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Edit Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism
Renewable Energy Facilitator

CameronabbazabbaBabbazabbaBlack@dbedtabbazabbahawaiiabbazabbagov