Hawaii to Ban New Coal Plants, Expand Renewable Energy Usage to 70% by 2030


Wind turbines on Maui, photo: Alvin Smith.

Though Hawaii announced its goal of producing 70% of its total energy needs from renewable sources by 2030 back in January, the program got further support yesterday with the announcement that a "historic accord" has been reached between the current state government and the Hawaiian Electric Company.

Though the details of many of the agreements points have yet to be worked out, what is planned is certainly a step in the right direction. Here they are:
Ban on Coal Plants, Increased RPS, Feed-in-Tariff Creation, Biofuels
The current Renewable Portfolio Standard for electricity is doubled to 40% by 2030.

A new feed-in-tariff system will be created to encourage renewable energy installation. Details on how much different renewable energy technologies will be receiving have not been disclosed.

Conversion of existing fossil fuel generating plants to "renewable biofuels, ultimately using crops grown locally and in a sustainable manner." Currently Hawaii generates about three-quarters of its electricity from oil-fired plants, so of the efforts outlined here, this one is the big push.

A prohibition on construction of any new coal plants in Hawaii. Considering that Hawaii currently only has one coal fired power plant, this one shouldn't be too difficult.

Solar Hot Water Program Expanded
Expansion of the Pay-As-You-Save program, under which customers can install solar hot water systems with no money down.

Transmission Grid Integration
Construction on an undersea cable connecting Maui, Molokai and Lanai into one electric grid so that 400 MW of wind power generated on Maui can be transmitted to Oahu.

Integration of 1100 MW of "already identified additional renewable energy" into the grid, 700 MW of which will be done within five years.

The complete list of items to be implemented under the agreement is available here: Hawaiian Electric Company
Hawaii, Renewable Energy
Sea-Water Air Conditioning Plan for Honolulu, Hawaii Finishes Funding
Solar Water Heating Mandate for New Hawaiian Homes
Blue Planet Summit Focuses on Renewables in Hawaii

Tags: Biofuels | Electricity | Hawaii | Renewable Energy | United States | Wind Power