Committees in the Hawaii House and Senate both recommended bills that would result in Hawaii increasing its goal of 70% renewable energy by 2030, to 100% by 2040.
“Even our utility is saying we can hit 65 percent by 2030, so 100 percent is definitely doable,” explained Sen. Mike Gabbard (D), sponsor of the Senate bill, SB 2181.
Even though Hawaii currently gets about 21% of its power from renewable sources, it also spends billions each on imported fossil fuels. The economic consequence is pretty obvious: Hawaii’s electricity is very expensive, and the state wastes money on transporting the imported fuel. The more clean, renewable energy sources it installs, the better it is for the state’s economy overall, because solar, wind and geothermal will generate electricity within Hawaii. Currently, about two thirds of the state’s electricity comes from fossil fuel use. This practice creates air pollution and contributes to climate change. Oil spills — even small ones — also damage the environment.
“We are on the leading edge of the 21st century renewable energy transformation,” said Rep. Chris Lee (D), a bill sponsor.
Hawaii has abundant natural resources that can all help expands its renewable energy industry greatly: sunlight, wind, and geothermal.
Hawaii is well known for its natural beauty, but there has been one detractor in this area: its over-reliance on fossil fuels. Moving towards, and achieving, 100% renewable energy would undoubtedly generate positive press for the islands, and might actually increase tourism. So, there could be several economic benefits: not paying billions every year for imported fossil fuels, decreasing electricity costs for all Hawaiians, and drawing more tourists.
92% renewable energy by 2030 has already been suggested as a target for the Big Island, so it certainly is not unreasonable to set a goal of 100% renewables by 2040 for all the islands.
Hawaii could also set an example for some of the U.S. states that are lagging far behind in setting reasonable and viable renewable energy standards. If it passes the 100% renewable energy standard, Hawaii might experience the biggest energy turnaround in the country, going from mostly dependent on fossil fuels to all clean energy.
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