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Friday, May 15, 2015

Hawaii On Track For 100% Renewable Energy

From worst to first, Hawaii is on track to get 100% of its energy from renewable sources. Exactly when that goal will be achieved isn't certain, but there is an unstoppable trend at work there.

Tam Hunt writes Hawaii May Be Closer to Achieving a 100% Renewable Grid Than You Think:

Hawaii’s electricity and natural gas rates are the highest in the nation, so there is a strong economic incentive to get off fossil fuels, along with the environmental and energy independence benefits.

HECO, the state’s sole privately owned utility company, which provides power to all the main islands except Kauai, produced a major report (the Power Supply Improvement Plan for each subsidiary utility) in 2014 looking at how it could achieve higher levels of renewables. HECO found that the 40 percent by 2030 goal was easily achievable and the utility company could in fact get to almost 70 percent by 2030, at a large net cost savings for customers.

The Big Island, the second largest grid on HECO’s system (after Oahu, which is by far the biggest) could get to over 90 percent by 2030 — also at a net cost savings for customers.

That such a high level of renewables can be reached with net savings is a remarkable conclusion. It is made possible by the dramatic declines in costs for renewables, combined with the very high prices that Hawaii electricity customers currently pay. Hawaii consistently has the highest electricity rates and bills in the nation, making the state ripe for a renewable energy extreme makeover.