Hawaii Will Soon Get All Its Electricity From Renewable Sources

Hawaii Will Soon Get All Of Its Electricity From Renewable SourcesPhoto – Pixabay (PD)

Hawaii is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the the world. This sun-kissed island chain in the Pacific is flocked to by tourists all over the world, who wish to experience the rejuvenating effects of the island life. You would think that because Hawaii gets so much sun throughout the year that they would be one of the pioneers of solar energy — and other forms of renewable energy. That is not the case – it’s been the opposite actually.

The Hawaii State Energy Office released a 2016 report showing that Hawaii is one of the biggest oil consumers, compared to other American states, and relies heavily on petroleum for the production of electricity. The report states that the energy generation in Hawaii primarily came from oil – 67.9 percent – and coal – 14.8 percent. This is baffling, considered that less than one percent of electricity in the rest of the US comes from oil. From a financial standpoint, energy production is quite costly in Hawaii because most of the oil they use is imported and very expensive. [1]

But Hawaii’s government wants this to change. In 2015, Hawaii’s governor, David Ige, signed into law a mandate that required the state to get 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2045 – also known as the renewal portfolio standard or RPS. In order to meet this goal, all of the energy needed by Hawaii needs from be taken from renewable sources – and that means a drastic overhaul of the current energy infrastructure used on the island. HECO, or Hawaiian Electric Companies, has been criticized for not monopolizing on solar energy quickly enough, with homeowners waiting as much as two years before their solar panels could be connected to Hawaii’s grid. That means it is not the residents of Hawaii who are opposed to renewable energy – but the big companies that provide the island with energy. [2]

But Hawaii has been moving forward since the law was signed. By the end of 2015, roughly 23.4 percent of Hawaii’s electricity came from renewable sources: solar energy, hydropower (falling water), bioenergy or biomass (crops, animal residues, solid waste), geothermal energy, ocean water (OTEC or ocean thermal energy conversion and wave energy), and hydrogen (from renewable energy sources). These are all sources that are readily available to this tropical island, with the sun, sea, and land within arms’ reach. [1]

The road towards a 100 percent RPS by 2045 is only possible if the energy companies in Hawaii work hand in hand with the state’s government to provide affordable and accessible renewable energy to Hawaii’s people – and energy that is sustainable too. Sustainable energy that will not take years to be connected or cut off inconveniently. The energy production also has to meet the demands of the people, wherein the Hawaiians typically use more energy during the night, where renewable energy production is lower. [2]

Renewable energy seems easy to use, but harnessing its power for an entire state can be difficult without the right legislation and agreements made between the government and energy companies in Hawaii.


[1] Hawaii State Energy Office. Hawaii Energy Facts and Figures November 2016. https://energy.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/FF_Nov2016.pdf

[2] Bade, G. (2016). Hawaii plans to get fossil fuels off the grid. http://www.utilitydive.com/news/getting-to-100-renewables-how-hawaii-plans-to-get-fossil-fuels-off-the-gr/416176/

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