Hawaii recently made history by becoming the first state to commit to 100% clean renewable energy for electricity, with a goal of negative net emissions. Governor David Ige signed four clean energy bills to strengthen the fight against climate change in the state. The bills reestablished the requirements for each island to use solid renewable sources for one-third of its renewable energy portfolio, with any other source such as solar having a limit of 45% of the total energy portfolio. This serves as an example for other states and countries seeking to switch to renewable energy.
The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative program and projects promote reliable and affordable energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy self-sufficiency, and greater energy security and resilience for state and public facilities. Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, the original sponsor of the bill, has prioritized keeping the lights on, protecting and creating jobs, and diversifying the state's renewable energy resource portfolio. The bill states that this “overestimates the amount of renewable energy it supplies to customers of Hawaii's electric utilities”. However, much could depend on how authorities define different types of renewable energy, including whether Tesla's huge solar-charged batteries are considered solar or something else.
For example, although KIUC now produces 33% of its renewable electricity from corporate renewable sources, this situation could change soon. Requiring the use of percentages of energy will make it much more difficult for Hawaiian Electric to manage the thorny task of switching to renewable energy. Engineering and economic assessments of Hawaii's potential to generate short-term project opportunities for the state's renewable energy resources are also being conducted. Unionized workers who could be out of work because of Hawaii's transition to renewable energy will be able to retrain to work in renewable energy facilities at companies that produce electricity that is always available and can be produced continuously 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Lowen “has been a great ally for renewable energy” according to Mould, of the solar energy association. In March, the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee examined a controversial bill with huge implications for renewable energy in Hawaii. Switching to renewable energy would cost a lot of money but it would help reduce the energy price spikes associated with oil, natural gas and coal. The provision requiring every utility company on the island to extract at least 33% of its renewable energy from firmly-sourced renewable sources also complicates matters.
The general idea was for the legislature to prescribe by law that each island generate at least 55% of its renewable energy from “firm renewable energies”, mainly generators that burn wood, renewable natural gas and biodiesel. Hawaii has set an example for other states and countries looking to switch to clean and sustainable sources of power. The transition will not be easy but it is necessary if we are going to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and combat climate change. With careful planning and investment in retraining programs for workers affected by this transition, Hawaii can lead the way in transitioning to a cleaner future.