Energy Efficiency

Hawaii is Now Ahead of the Green Energy Curve!

Oil Dependent Hawaii Now a Leader in Renewable Energy

Hawaii, a stated forced to import more foreign oil than any other state in the union, has made yet another step this summer to becoming a leader in transitioning to renewable energy sources.

The Hawaii State Legislature recently passed a bill requiring all electric companies operating in the state to offer electricity that is 100% from renewable resources (such as solar, wind and hydro) by 2045. Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed the bill into law in June.

Ige said that Hawaii – the most “oil dependent state in the nation” – spends about $5 billion a year on foreign oil to meet the state’s energy demand.

“Making the transition to renewable, indigenous resources for power generation will allow us to keep more of that money at home, thereby improving our economy, environment and energy security,” Ige said in news release on the state website.

Hawaii Ahead of the Green Energy Curve

Hawaii already leads the country in adopting solar energy – an amazing feat considering the state’s past.

Hawaii Adopts Renewable EnergyAs noted by Ige, the state has been the most dependent in the U.S. on foreign oil. Just 10 years ago, according to Newsweek, imported fuels accounted for about 90% of the state’s energy. That, in turn, led to energy bills that are as high as three times the national average. Now, about one out of every eight homes in the state uses solar energy, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, and about 10% of the homes in the entire state’s electricity comes from solar. About 25 percent of the state’s energy comes from geothermal sources.

These changes have led to about $150 in savings in 2012 per Hawaiian household, according to Newsweek.

Issues with Transferring to Green Energy

As with most other places that are aggressively switching to renewable energy, there have been hiccups. Some customers who have signed up for solar have waited months for installers to show up. Some have been notified that interconnections have been put off indefinitely.

However, overall the state has been moving faster than others in moving into renewable energy. Hawaiian lawmakers are looking into investing more public dollars into improving the state energy storage capacity, including better batteries and a rebuilt electric grid.

Solar power company SolarCity has offered Hawaiians the opportunity to use Powerwall batteries – built by California-based Tesla – combined with photovoltaic roof panels, according to an article on National Law Review.

All of this is about to make financial sense to homeowners, not just in Hawaii, but everywhere. The cost of solar polar will be as cheap as electric power by 2016, according to a Deutsche Bank study. And a study by North Carolina State University found that investing in solar panels is a cheap for homeowners in the 50 largest American cities as it is to continue paying electric bills.

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