Aloha State’s Urgently Pursues Renewable Energy

State Overview

The population of the “Aloha State,” Hawaii is approximately 1.43 million people. Hawaii is the 41st most populated state in the United States.

In 2022, Hawaii’s economy was ranked 40th in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP). The state’s economy is dependent on the tourism, defense, and manufacturing industries.

Environment Policies

In 2002, Hawaii enacted a Renewable Portfolio Standard, requiring investor-owned utilities to sell 40% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2030, 70% by 2040, and 100% by 2045.

Power Generation Capabilities

In June 2023, utilities used refined petroleum (77.8%) and renewable energy (22.2%) to generate electricity in Hawaii. Solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass are the dominant types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Hawaii.

In June 2023, the average price for residential electricity in Hawaii was 41.74¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 16.11¢ per kWh. Hawaii’s reliance on refined petroleum-fueled power plants contributes to the high cost of electricity.

Recent renewable energy developments in Hawaii include:

  • 185 MW Energy Storage Project – In June 2023. California energy storage company, Plus Power commissioned the Kapolei Energy Storage project on the island of Oahu.
  • 120 MW Solar + Energy Storage Project – American renewable energy company, Longroad Energy is continuing work on the Mahi Solar and Energy Storage project on the island of Oahu. The project is scheduled to be commissioned in year-end 2023.
  • 60 MW Solar + 10 MW Energy Storage Project – American power company, AES is continuing work on the Kuihelani Solar and Energy Storage project on the island of Maui. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
  • 60 MW Solar + Energy Storage Project – French utilities Engie and EDF are continuing work on the Puako Solar and Energy Storage project on the island of Hawaii. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
  • 60 MW Solar + Energy Storage Project – Korean multinational company, Hanwha Energy is continuing work on the Kupehau Solar Plus Energy Storage project on the island of Oahu. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
  • 42 MW Solar + Energy Storage Project – American power company, Bright Canyon Energy is continuing work on the Kūpono Solar project on the island of Oahu. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by June 2024.
  • 40 MW Solar + Energy Storage Project – Longroad Energy is continuing work on the Pulehu Solar And Energy Storage project on the island of Maui. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
  • 39 MW Solar + Energy Storage Project – In August 2022, California renewable energy company, Clearway Energy Group commissioned the Mililani I Solar project on the island of Oahu.
  • 35 MW Solar + Energy Storage – AES is continuing work on the West Kaua‘i Energy project on the island of Hawaii. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2025.
  • 30 MW Solar + 30 MW Energy Storage Project – In April 2023, AES commissioned the Waikoloa Solar and Energy Storage project on the island of Hawaii.
  • 7 MW Solar + Energy Storage – AES is continuing work on the Mountain View solar plus energy storage project on the island of Oahu. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2023.

Conclusion

Hawaii, like many island states or nations in the 20th Century, was dependent on imported refined petroleum and coal to fuel electric power plants. However, the harsh reality of climate change has caused most island governments to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2000, Hawaii’s utilities  used refined petroleum and coal as fuels to generate 92.1% of the state’s electricity. In June 2023, utilities only used refined petroleum to generate 77.8% of the state’s electricity.

The devastating economic impact of climate change and costly refined petroleum imports has given the Aloha State a new sense of urgency in the pursuit of renewable energy.

Jack Kerfoot

Website “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related issues and topics.

 

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