The Federal Energy Information Administration estimates that 77% of Hawaii's energy comes from burning fossil fuels, mainly oil and some coal. With the state deadline for the utility company to use 100% renewable energy by 2045, Hawaii will have to shut down oil and coal plants early. Public Services Commissioner Leo Asunción explains that the traditional profit formula of the sector would have motivated the monopoly of the Hawaii utility company to do the opposite. They want to keep their plants running as much as possible, he says, because that formula is in their best interests. In order to reach their goal, Hawaii has partnered with the Hawaii National Marine Renewable Energy Center, connected to the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute and the University of Hawaii.
This allows manufacturers of undulating buoys to test the performance of their wave buoy designs. Commissioner Asunción and his colleagues are restructuring more than a hundred years of regulatory precedent to get Hawaii's monopolistic utility company to use 100% renewable electricity.Batteries that store excess renewable energy and are discharged when that energy is unavailable extend utility and improve the predictable availability of renewable sources. The problem, he argues, is that, traditionally, the monopoly company, Hawaiian Electric, has not had a clear incentive to quickly incorporate renewable energy from projects like this. The founders of Pacific Biodiesel, Bob and Kelly King, grow sunflowers and other crops on their Maui farm. This community model of sustainable agriculture, renewable fuels and food is helping Hawaii achieve a future with clean energy.
In many cases, including the Western Kauaʻi energy project being carried out in Kauaʻi, solar energy is used to pump water “upstream” from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir, making these facilities 100% renewable.The state has started implementing an incentive system (and some sanctions) to accelerate the transition to 100% renewable energy. For the ecological transition to work, he says, it cannot be that the utility company's monopoly produces renewable energy, but that many renewable energy producers will have to be on the grid. The debate over the development of offshore wind energy has focused on projects related to Oahu, since Oahu has the largest population, the highest electricity consumption, and limited land space for renewable energy development. Rather than encouraging utility companies to build more and more plants, Commissioner Asunción suggests that regulators should encourage new things such as energy efficiency and connecting renewable energy to the grid. Hydrogen production can be programmed to take advantage of excess renewable energy that would otherwise be wasted (reduced); likewise, the use of hydrogen to produce electricity can be programmed to meet peak electricity demands. Renewable natural gas (RNG), also known as biogas, is a form of gaseous energy created from the decay of organic matter such as biosolids from wastewater, food waste or animal manure under anaerobic conditions or without oxygen.
Hawaii's Clean Energy RevolutionHawaii is making great strides towards achieving its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045. With partnerships between government agencies and private companies, as well as incentives for renewable energy producers and consumers alike, Hawaii is well on its way towards a cleaner future. The Hawaiian government has taken a proactive approach in transitioning away from fossil fuels by providing incentives for businesses and individuals who invest in clean energy sources.
This includes tax credits for solar panel installation and other green initiatives. Additionally, they have implemented regulations that require utility companies to use more renewable sources such as wind and solar power. The Hawaiian government has also partnered with organizations such as The Hawaii National Marine Renewable Energy Center and The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at The University of Hawaii. These organizations are researching ways to make wave buoy designs more efficient so they can be used for generating electricity. The Kings family farm in Maui is another example of how private citizens are helping Hawaii reach its clean energy goals.
Bob and Kelly King grow sunflowers and other crops on their farm which they use for producing biodiesel fuel. This community model of sustainable agriculture is helping reduce dependence on fossil fuels while providing food for local communities. Finally, projects such as The Western Kauaʻi Energy Project are using solar power to pump water “upstream” from lower reservoirs into upper reservoirs. This makes these facilities 100% renewable while providing clean drinking water for local communities. Hawaii's commitment towards achieving its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045 is admirable. With partnerships between government agencies and private companies as well as incentives for businesses and individuals who invest in clean energy sources, Hawaii is well on its way towards a cleaner future.