ANALYSIS: Hawaii’s Ambitious Plans to Lessen Its Dependence on Oil

Dispatch from SSC Intern Wendy Tng

As a state with the most diverse range of alternative energy potential in the United StatesHawaii is setting itself ambitious goals when it comes to lessening its dependence on fossil fuels. 

Hawaii plans to generate 40 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030. Currently, Hawaii relies on imported oil to generate 77 percent of its electricity, while coal-fired power provides 14 percent. The remaining 9 percent are sourced from renewable energy. 

The fear of rising oil prices has brought significant impetus to finding alternative sources of energy for the state. Each island brings distinct opportunities – wind farms are being developed in Lanai and Molokai, for instance, while on the Big Island of Hawaii, seawater is being converted to electricity. 

Still, there are considerable challenges ahead. Most potential alternative energy sources are located far from the urban centers that use up most of the energy. The electric grids of the islands are, as yet, unconnected. Stakeholder engagement is key to ensure that the needs of Native Hawaiians are being respected under this new plan.

Read more here.