Slightly over a year ago Hawaii become the first state to mandate their electricity be sourced from 100 percent renewable energy. The Hawaii State Energy Office said that it is to dependent on outside oil. Changing their dependency would not only benefit the environment, but also the state’s economy.
The Hawaiian Green Energy Initiative agrees stating that Hawaii is one of the most fossil fuel dependent states. They claim that most is a result of military use (jet fuel) and tourism. To coincide with the HSEOs plan, they engaged in resident and tourist education while backing legislation that benefits local economics.
Hawaii’s Green Energy Plan
HSEO sums the plan up using one keyword, “diversity.” The multi-island state’s location and unique ecosystem can increase local energy production by utilizing already proven methods such as:
Mixing these energy production methods along with better regulations, upgrading energy grids, and creating storage facilities the goal is achievable.
100 Percent Timeframe
HSEO has said set 2045 as the deadline for meeting the 100 percent goal. Benchmark dates have been set before then to determine how progress is moving. By 2020, 30 percent of electricity must be sourced by renewable energy. By 2030, 40 percent must and in 2040, 70 percent.While Hawaii builds an energy infrastructure to meet these needs, other energy sources like biofuels are being used.
Residents and tourist are also being encouraged by the HCEI to become more aware of their energy usage and to seek alternative forms of transportation. HCEI claims that 60 percent of the Hawaii’s energy use is from transportation. Most comes from air travel, yet curving the estimated 23 percent from automobile travel would assist greatly.
Modernizing the energy grid is another early step to help in the transition towards using 100 percent renewable energy. The current system is inefficiently and out of date according to HSEO. By updating the system the individual islands of Hawaii would be able to assist each other and share energy produced. An updated system could also allow for local businesses and residents to monitor their energy usage.
Benefits to the Economy
The local ecosystem in Hawaii is an excellent place to utilize multiple forms of renewable energy. The volcanic activity creates great promise for geothermal energy. Hawaii is known for sunshine, which is key for solar power. The Pacific Ocean allows for energy created by the wind and ocean to be easily obtained. The HSEO hopes that its location to a variety of sources tempts companies interested in green energy technologies to choose Hawaii as a home. Not only will transitioning to local energy sources attract outside business ventures, but also eliminate money spent on foreign sources.
Hawaii’s Green Energy plan is a bold move. It has the potential to change the way other states look at their own energy policies. Though much of the needs being addressed by the plan deals with the state’s individual access to resources, others can benefit. Hawaii is in a unique position due to location that can allow for green energy industries to advance their technologies.