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State Goal 70% Clean Energy by 2030

70% Clean Energy by 2030

As a state, Hawaii has committed to a very aggressive and admirable goal of 70 percent clean energy for ground transportation and the generation of electricity by 2030.  So, I thought I would pull info from various websites to help give my readers an idea of how things are progressing towards this monumental task.

It will involve everyone from private investment, farmers and ranchers, research projects in cooperation with the University of Hawaii, government resources and support, and last, but not least, the public sector.  Probably the most fickle-minded is the latter with its short-term memory and easily distracted interests.  The goal of being energy independent, of not being hostage to whatever political or social event happens to be impacting the current price of oil needs to be kept firmly in place…not only in times of high oil and gas prices, but through those periods when oil and gas prices are down, such as now.

It would be one thing if oil prices would stay down, but we all know that’s not going to happen.  So, when comparing these alternative fuel sources and their cost effectiveness, they don’t always compare favorably.  Add to this problem the fact that there is a long gearing up process to go from “concept” to “implementation”, which often overlaps these up and down oil prices and you can see why so many concept projects fold before they reach viable implementation.

Its important that throughout these up and down cycles, that the ultimate goal is to achieve energy independence and do so via clean energy.  While this includes solar, wind, and wave conversion technologies, today’s blog post is focused on the bio-energy aspect.

Hawaiian Electric Company

Hawaiian Electric Co., which owns the utilities on Oahu, the Big Island, and in Maui County, has pledged to derive 40 percent of electricity from clean energy sources by 2030.  If it doesn’t meet certain benchmarks along the way, then the company can be financially penalized.

Bio-fuels from local or imported sources both count toward meeting renewable energy requirements, though local sources are given preference.

And, while Hawaiian Electric Co. has made efforts and requested bio-fuel proposals from private entities, most have not been economically feasible.  So, while their commitment to attaining their goal of 40% may be achieved, its a shame that once again, it may have to rely on outside suppliers for this fuel.  Just to test its generators, it had to import bio-fuels from Malaysia and Iowa.

From HECO’s website: []

Quick facts:
 •  The Hawaiian Electric companies are committed to add as much renewable energy as quickly as possible.
 •  In 2011, the companies reached 12% of sales from renewables, well on the way to Hawaii’s 15% by 2015 RPS goal.
 •  More than 1,000 MWs of renewable energy projects are in service, under construction, awaiting approval or being negotiated, with more to come.

Big Island

On the Big Island, SunFuels Hawaii recently put its woody biomass project on indefinite hold. The company was working on a biomass-to-liquid technology that would produce 13 million gallons of fuel annually, but the company said it just couldn’t make the numbers work.

Honolulu-based Aina Koa Pono has been hoping to build a bio-fuel plant in the Kau region of the Big Island, near Pahala.  But last year it’s contract with Hawaiian Electric was rejected by state regulators who said that the cost of the fuel was exorbitant and not in the best interest of ratepayers. The project also encountered protests from local residents who worried about health and environmental risks, traffic and noise from the facility.

On a positive note, Pacific Biodiesel unveiled its Big Island Biodiesel plant in Keaau, capable of meeting 8 percent of the state’s biodiesel needs for ground transportation.  It’s the first plant to be built in Hawaii capable of processing a range of plant products.  Among the dignitaries in attendance at this week’s blessing ceremony were Governor Neil Abercrombie and U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye.


Latest news from Maui is the “switching on” of  the 14 turbines of the 21-megawatt Kaheawa Wind II earlier this week.  Added to the turbines of Kaheawa Wind I, the new turbines raise the total number of wind power units to 34 on the ridge overlooking Maalaea Bay and the total power-generating capacity to 51 megawatts.

“The battery storage component included in this project plays a critical role in helping Maui Electric Co. accept additional renewable energy from the Kaheawa II facility into our electrical grid,”  says president Sharon Suzuki.  The battery will allow for “voltage regulation,” storing wind power during peak periods and drawing on that power during low periods, said Kekoa Kaluhiwa, spokesman for First Wind Energy.

For more information on this, go to

For more information on Hawaii’s clean energy efforts, check out:


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