Hawaii sets 100 per cent renewable target

18 May 2015

Hawaii could become the first US state to set a 100 per cent renewable energy portfolio standard after its legislature passed a bill in May.

House Bill 623 sets a goal for the state to reach 100 per cent renewable energy by 2045.

Hawaii obtained approximately 18 per cent of its electricity from renewables in 2013 and Hawaiian Electric Co (HECO), the state's dominant electricity supplier, filed a plan in 2014 with state regulators proposing a target of 65 per cent of electricity sourced from renewables by 2030.

The new legislation sets out a goal of 30 per cent renewables by the end of 2020 and 70 per cent by the end of 2040. Lawmakers said that the policy would boost the state's energy industry and save consumers millions of dollars.

"As the first state to move toward 100 per cent renewable energy, Hawaii is proving to the rest of the country that renewable energy can be cheaper, cleaner and can help consumers to cut their electric bills down to near-zero," state Rep. Chris Lee, D-Kailua-Waimanalo, who introduced the bill, said in a statement. "These big steps forward will accelerate the savings consumers are seeing around the state and will speed the growth of jobs in our local renewable energy industry."

Lee added that local renewable projects are already cheaper than liquefied natural gas and oil, and the state's progress toward meeting its renewable energy standards has already saved residents hundreds of millions on their electric bills.

"Moving to 100 per cent renewable energy will do more to reduce energy prices for local residents in the long term than almost anything else we could do," Lee said.

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