Hawaii again made big news for its commitment to renewables. Four Hawaii counties this week made a commitment to eliminate fossil fuel based transportation by 2045.
The four Hawaii counties — Honolulu, Big Island, Kauai, and Maui, which included Molokai and Lanai — have made this groundbreaking statement to help the state align with its goal of 100% renewables by 2045.
The news was announced on Tuesday by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, Kaua’i County Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr., and Hawai’i County Managing Director Wil Okabe, in the place of Mayor Harry Kim, who signed the proclamations aboard the Hawaiian voyaging canoe Hokulea.
The news was well received: “This goal has been one of the key missing pieces in our clean energy puzzle,” shared Blue Planet Foundation executive director Jeff Mikulina.
Already, the counties are making progress towards this goal. As reported on Pacific Business News:
◊ City and County of Honolulu and County of Maui also pledged to transition to transition all of their fleet vehicles to 100% clean energy by 2035.
◊ Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says that TheBus, the island-wide public bus system (of which I am a frequent user!) has started the transition to electric, with 5 electric buses arriving in January. He says, “That fleet should be converted by 2035, meaning that all public transportation on the island of Oahu will be using electricity, which will be generated by clean energy by 2045.” (Update: This section initially said there would be 500 electric buses rolling out in January. The correct number is 5, as indicated in the updated text above.)
◊ There is definitely room to improve upon our current vehicle situation: PBN reports that of the “more than 1 million passenger vehicles registered in the state, only 6,607 were fully electric last month. The number of hybrid vehicles was 24,804, according to data from the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.”
Eliminating fossil fuel based ground transportation is a key to Hawaii’s renewable future. PBN reporter HJ Mai explains: “According to the Hawaii State Energy Office, ground transportation accounted for an estimated 26 percent of Hawaii’s fossil fuel usage in 2015, the same percentage of fossil fuel goes toward electric power generation. The only sector that uses more fossil fuel is air transportation at 31 percent.”
More details are certainly forthcoming. In fact, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa said that while details are “not necessary today,” it is nonetheless “essential that we set these goals.” The point is to put more pressure on the auto industry to make a full shift to zero-emissions vehicles in the coming decades. “The industries and technologies will adjust to shift the way we power our vehicles.”
As a biking and walking citizen of Honolulu, I look forward to seeing these changes being implemented sooner rather than later. And I look forward to sharing the details of the transition here on CleanTechnica.
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