Hawaii’s 100% renewable energy goal by 2045 includes marine hydrokinetic generation

Sweden, Estonia, and Bulgaria have already met the European Union’s renewable energy development goals each country said it would meet by 2020. Now, Hawaii is among the growing lists of states in America that is raising the renewable energy bar that will include generating hydroelectricity.

The week of May 3, Hawaii’s state legislators, in a 74-2 vote, passed House Bill 623, which if signed into law, would require Hawaii to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable energy resources by 2045.

The bill would, “Increase renewable portfolio standards to 30% by Dec. 31, 2020; 70% by Dec. 31, 2040; and 100% by Dec. 31, 2045. Requires the Public Utilities Commission to include the impact of renewable portfolio standards, if any, on the energy prices offered by renewable energy developers and the cost of fossil fuel volatility in its renewable portfolio standards study and report to the Legislature.”

Hawaii’s Democratic Gov. David Ige has until the end of June to sign the bill, at which point Hawaii will have the most ambitious energy goals in the U.S.

Proponents of HB623 hope tidal energy generators would also be major sources of power to Hawaii’s islands, according to local reports.

Published reports indicate Hawaii produces about 22% of its energy from renewable sources, including hydroelectricity. The islands currently use fossil fuel for energy production, with oil providing the majority of electricity generation on the islands.

“It [100% renewable energy mandate] is going to save everybody money. It’s going to put less carbon in the air and it’s going to boost jobs in our local energy industry,” said state Rep. Chris Lee, D-District 51.

Lee is currently the Chair of the Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection. He also serves on the Consumer Protection and Commerce, Judiciary, Ocean Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs, and Water and Land committees.

In a press release from the legislature, Lee said lawmakers passed House Bill 1509, which paves the way for the University of Hawaii system to become the first U.S. university to have a goal of being 100% renewable and generating all of its own power by 2035.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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