Hawaii Commits to 100% Renewable Energy Future

In a GreenBiz blog, Navigant Research says Hawaii is moving forward with a clean energy agenda, despite pushback from mainland

While some see the proposed dismantling of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan and the country’s recent withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change disheartening, for the island state of Hawaii, it’s motivation to further advance renewable energy.

In a blog republished by Greenbiz, Navigant Research’s Peter Asmus said Hawaiians committed to a clean energy agenda, including the private sector, are motivated more than ever to push forward with aggressive programs that will bring renewable resources online.

Asmus, who recently attended the second annual VERGE conference in Honolulu, said Hawaii is the first (and so far only) state to commit to a 100 percent renewable energy future. While the initiative will help to combat climate change and create jobs, the economics in the state, he said, also clearly favor renewable energy.

“Hawaii has emerged as a key testing ground for bolstering commitments to infrastructure needed to integrate variable renewables for both power and transportation services,” Asmus wrote. “Because each island of Hawaii is its own separate electric grid control area and retail costs are high due to such a reliance upon imported sources of fossil fuel, Hawaii is in a unique spot.”

Hawaii will likely rely upon integrating energy storage into self-balancing distribution networks, such as microgrids, to reach its 100 percent renewable energy goal, Asmus added. As of now, over 90 MW of new energy storage devices have been authorized by state regulators to be installed among the Hawaiian islands, with the majority of that capacity, 70 MW, to be installed in Oahu.

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