Hawaii is ahead of schedule on Renewable Power adoption


One of the states with ambitious targets for renewables is Hawaii. In 2020, Hawaii’s state had a mandate indicating that 30% of electricity generation must originate from renewable sources by 2020. However, recent reports indicate that the state’s utilities are already past the target, and it is currently working on achieving a clean energy system. One of the largest utilities in Hawaii is Hawaiian Electric, and this month’s report reports the generation mix in 2020 was 34.5% renewables across Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island.

The reports show a 13% increase from the 2019 reports. What surprises many is that this vast growth coincided with low demand stemming due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This detail means that the fraction of the market share’s denominator was small compared to regular times. However, despite the claims, the utility is confident if the consumption patterns were standard, it would still record a percentage increase of at least 32% renewable energy.

A report from the company’s spokesperson, Shannon Tangonan, states that the vast rises result from the hard work that the company has put in when building its renewable portfolio. And these profits are the benefits of the team staying true to the goal. For the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, it is yet to file the official 2020 report. However, KIUC’s spokesperson Beth Tokioka is confident that their renewable energy use will run up to 60%. This figure exceeds not only the state’s 2020 target but also KIUC’s strategic plan to achieve 50% renewables by 2023.

These records have set a number that is supposed to be impossible in recent years. The first impossibility that experts stated includes assuming that states can never commit to 100% carbon-free power. In 2015, Hawaii became the number-one state to kick-off this trend by setting a mandatory deadline of 2045. Then there was California, and other states followed.

During the latest America campaign, President Biden talked about the transition from fossil-fueled electricity to renewables by 2035. However, we are yet to see how he will be able to pass the policy. These goals are essential only if they are ways to implement them, and this explains why Hawaii’s progress is worth mentioning. With a timeline, the power companies are moving faster than the initial expectations. Hawaiian Electric is almost 2040’s target of 40%, while KIUC has surpassed the target.

Tangonan and the team are hopeful that the company will get to the 40% target soon. However, he acknowledges that Hawaii is an island, and the closer it gets to 100%, things are likely to become more challenging. Almost half of Hawaiian Electric’s renewable power comes from grid-connected and customer-sited renewables. KIUC has setup several battery plants and is working on solar renewables.


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