Why Hawai’i is leading America in renewable energy

Posted by Staff Writer on Wednesday, January 16th, 2019 at 9:04am

It’s hard to count all the factors that make Hawai’i such an incredible state – white-sand beaches, warm weather year-round, dozens of breathtaking waterfalls and colorful sunsets.

But there’s another thing that sets the state apart from the rest – it’s leading the U.S. in generating renewable energy, in almost every way there is to produce it.

Although the state generates most of its renewable energy from solar power, it also relies on wind, geothermal, hydro and biofuels. Today, the state gets roughly one-third of its electricity from rooftop solar and roughly 60 other utility-scale renewable energy projects that support power grids. On some days, almost 60 percent of its power comes from renewable sources.

That’s a drastic increase from more than a decade ago, when 6 percent of the power came from renewables. But that percentage is only expected to keep growing in the coming years, thanks to the Hawai’i Legislature setting a goal to reach 100-percent renewable energy by 2045.

The rest of the nation is now watching how the Aloha State works to accomplish that. The islands are serving as a testing ground and role model for other states also looking to become more sustainable.

In Hawai’i, it makes sense not only for environmental protection, but also from a fiscal standpoint. The islands are some of the most geographically isolated in the world, which makes the cost of imported oil and electricity the highest in the U.S. – often double the national average.

And as renewable energy sources become more accessible, more and more home and business owners are opting to use them to power their daily lives. On Maui, that's obvious - where you'll find solar panels topping homes across the island, a wind farm and biofuel production. If you so choose, you can live in paradise and entirely off-grid.

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