Hawaii is on the verge of being the first state in the U.S. to set a goal of generating all of its electricity from renewable energy sources. Under a bill the Hawaii Legislature passed this week,Â 100 percent of the stateâ€™s electricity would be generated with renewables byÂ 2045. If Governor David Ige approves the measureâ€”he has
Hawaii is on the verge of being the first state in the U.S. to set a goal of generating all of its electricity from renewable energy sources.
Under a bill the Hawaii Legislature passed this week,Â 100 percent of the stateâ€™s electricity would be generated with renewables byÂ 2045. If Governor David Ige approves the measureâ€”he has until the end of JuneÂ to sign itâ€”it will put the stateâ€™s climate goals far ahead any other, andÂ extend Hawaiiâ€™s Clean Energy Initiative through mid-century. The initiativeÂ aims to reduce the stateâ€™s dependency on oil, which generates most of itsÂ electric power.
Hawaii has more than climate change in mind inÂ completely converting to renewables. The stateâ€™s goal, according to the bill,Â is to stop importing fuel. The state imports about 93 percent of all itsÂ energy, making its residential electric power rates among the most expensive inÂ the nationâ€”about 175 percent of the U.S. average. Already, the state gets aboutÂ 22 percent of its electricity from renewables, mostly from wind and solar.
â€œThis is a significant step in our effort towardÂ reducing Hawaiiâ€™s dependence on expensive imported oil and putting the state onÂ the path toward greater energy, environmental and economic security,â€ MarkÂ Glick, Hawaii State Energy Office administrator, said.
Under the stateâ€™s Clean Energy Initiative, Hawaii couldÂ generate â€œcleanâ€ energy from hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, hydrogen fuelÂ cells, ocean wave and tidal action, wind, solar and other energy sources.
Anthony Kuh, director of the Renewable Energy andÂ Island Sustainability Group at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said the
target presents many challenges, but it can be achieved after advancements areÂ made in energy storage and smart grid technologies.
â€œWe donâ€™t probably have the technology today to doÂ everything,â€ he said. â€œWe do have some time to do this.â€
Jodi Leong, the spokeswoman for Hawaii governorâ€™sÂ office, said Thursday that the stateâ€™s renewables bill is undergoing legal andÂ policy review and Ige has not yet decided if he will sign it.
If Hawaiiâ€™s 2045 target becomes law, it will followÂ several similar but less ambitious greenhouse gas emissions and renewables
targets that other states have set.
California Governor Jerry Brown announced the stateâ€™sÂ new targets to obtain half its electricity from renewables and slash emissionsÂ to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. New York and California have â€œ80 byÂ 50â€ plans, which aim to cut their emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels byÂ mid-century.