SSTI Digest

Geography: Hawaii

17 Governors Sign Accord to Promote Clean Energy, Economic Prosperity

A bipartisan group of 17 governors signed the Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future – a joint commitment to support the deployment of renewable, cleaner and more efficient energy technologies and other solutions to make the U.S. economy more productive and resilient as well as spur job creation in member states. The multi-state effort will work to implement clean energy policies and initiatives in four areas: clean energy, clean transportation choices, a modern electrical grid, and plan for a new energy future. Although the accord doesn’t provide specific efforts, senior advisors to participating governors are expected to convene shortly to discuss initial steps to pursue their shared priorities and commitments according to

PA One Step Closer to Budget Deal; HI, NM, VA Govs Outline Spending Plans

While many states have begun negotiations on budget plans for FY17 and beyond, Pennsylvania has made some progress on FY16 spending. Gov. Tom Wolf signed a partial budget that funded many agencies and programs related to economic development, but that did not include higher education funding and other operations. In the coming months, SSTI will review gubernatorial addresses and budget proposals related to economic development. This week, we highlight developments in Hawaii, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Budget Update: Hawaii Sets Ambitious Energy Goals; TBED Spending Approved in DE, OR, WI

Now that many governors have signed spending bills and legislative sessions are drawing to a close, the SSTI Digest will check on the status of proposals related to the innovation economy, and examine the state of technology-based economic development funding in the states. This week, we review spending bills in Delaware, Hawaii, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

Hawaii Sets 100 Percent Renewable Energy Goal by 2045

Hawai’i Gov. David Ige signed into law a bill (HB 623) that would increases the state’s renewable portfolio standards to 30 percent by the end of 2020; 70 percent by the end of 2040; and, 100 percent by the end of 2045. With the passage of the new renewable energy mandate, the state became the first in the country to have a statewide renewable goal of 100 percent. This marks a drastic shift from the state’s current distinction as the country’s most oil-dependent state. The state spends nearly $5 billion a year on foreign oil, according to a release from the governor’s office. Luis Salaveria, director of the Hawai’i Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, hopes that the new mandate will drive investment and make the state a more attractive destination for entrepreneurs and businesses from around the world, looking to develop, test, and prove emerging renewable technologies and strategies. The state is on track to reach its first milestone of 30 percent by the end of 2020 due previous state investments intended to support the growth of solar and wind startups. Read the press release…

Tech Talkin’ Govs: HI, MT Govs Address Innovation Infrastructure, Apprenticeships

SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series has returned as governors across the country formally convene the 2015 legislative sessions. The series highlights new and expanded TBED proposals from governors' State of the State, Budget and Inaugural addresses.

People on the Move & TBED Organization Updates

Robbie Melton has been named the executive director and CEO of the High Technology Development Corporation.

U.S. Navy Invests $30M in HI Cleantech Accelerator

The U.S. Department of Defense Office of Naval Research has announced a $30 million investment in Energy Excelerator, an accelerator for cleantech companies within the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR). Energy Excelerator originally launched three years ago with $10 million in seed funding from the Department of Energy. The new funding will be used to expand the accelerator’s capital and entrepreneurial support programs for clean energy startups in Hawaii and the Asia Pacific region. Read the announcement...

R&D Tax Credits in Many States Seek to Help Business Development, Innovation

A number of states recently have taken action to expand R&D tax credits and other legislation that would support innovation, commercialization and manufacturing. Hawaii, California, Maryland, Texas, and Florida have signed into law tax incentives and R&D tax credits and an R&D tax credit in New Hampshire went into effect.  The Maine legislature also passed a capital tax credit that will begin in 2014.

Lawmakers Move to Support Workforce Training, Strengthen Industry Clusters

At the close of many recent legislative sessions, states across the country moved to strengthen their high-tech workforce while supporting industry cluster development.

TBED People and Orgs

Yuka Nagashima, executive director of the High Technology Development Corp. and center director for the Innovate Hawaii program, has resigned from both posts and will leave the state agency in August. Nagashima will be leaving for Denmark to support her husband's research career. Len Higashi, current senior economic development manager, was selected to become the acting executive director.

Hawaii Dedicates $6M to Pursue High-Growth Opportunities

Envisioned as a comprehensive state-level program to support an entrepreneurial ecosystem, the HI Growth Initiative was approved by lawmakers to diversify the state's economy and promote the development of high-growth, entrepreneurial businesses. Backed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the initiative has three main objectives focused on helping entrepreneurs commercialize intellectual property, access business mentors, network with global investors, and gain access to follow-on capital. Funds will be managed by the Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation. Lawmakers approved $6 million for the effort in FY14. The governor had requested $20 million over two years (see the Feb. 27, 2013 issue of the Digest). View the bill:

HI Lawmakers Urged to Help Spark Startup Scene with $20M Investment

In his State of the State address, Gov. Neil Abercrombie stressed the importance of investing in innovation to diversify the state's economy and grow Hawaii's economic base, traditionally rooted in military and tourism. To this end, the governor wants to back startup companies with $20 million over two years for what he considers the critical building blocks of an innovation ecosystem: research commercialization, entrepreneur mentoring and the mobilization of startup investment capital. The HI Growth Initiative aims to attract support from the private sector and is geared toward businesses in digital media, food tech, med tech, information technology, clean energy, and other knowledge-based and creative industries. If approved, funding and programs would be managed by the Hawaii Strategic Development Corp. Read more....