The Hawaii legislature passed a bill last week, calling for the state to generate 100 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2045. Hawaii currently imports 93 per cent of its energy, making its residential electric power rates among the most expensive in the US.
As Climate Central reports, the state is motivated by more than just climate change: its residential electric power rates are about 175 per cent the U.S. average. By converting to renewables, it hopes to reduce Hawaii’s dependence on expensive fuel imports and put the state on a path toward greater energy, environmental and economic security, said Mark Glick, Hawaii State Energy Office.
Hawaii currently gets 22 per cent of its electricity from renewables, mostly wind and solar. Under the state’s Clean Energy Initiative, Hawaii would generate energy from hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, hydrogen fuel cells, ocean wave and tidal action, wind, solar and other energy sources.
Anthony Kuh, director of the Renewable Energy and Island Sustainability Group at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said that the bill’s targets can be achieved if investments are made in energy storage and smart grid technologies.
Governor David Ige has until the end of June to sign the bill. If he does, Hawaii would be the first state in the US to set such an ambitious target. New York and California have ‘80 by 50’ plans, which aim to cut their emissions to 80 per cent below 1990 levels by mid-century, explains Climate Central.