Hawaii will produce 100% clean energy by 2045

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has recently approved the HECO’s (Hawaiian Electric Companies) Power Supply Improvement Plan issued in December.

This is an ambitious plan which aim to increase the renewable energy share up to 100% of the electricity production by 2045, through some intermediate targets including new 400 MW of renewable energy resources to be added by 2021. Furthermore, PSIP forecasts to triple the distributed solar systems in the state by 2030, through rooftop PV systems on houses and business, grid-scale solar farms and finally with the Community Solar Program.

By 2020, Hawaii Island is forecast to reach an RPS of 80 percent; Maui 63 percent; Lanai 59 percent and Oahu, 40 percent. On Molokai, Maui Electric is working with the community on options for reaching 100 percent RPS by 2020.

In order to make all these goals possibile, investments in infrastructure are required: to maintain reliability of electric service, the plan calls for adding energy storage and other grid technologies to accompany new renewable resources. The plan also includes continued growth of private rooftop solar and describes the work to expand and upgrade grid infrastructure and to use the newest generations of inverters, control systems and energy storage to help reliably integrate an estimated total of 165,000 private systems by 2030, more than twice today’s total of 79,000.

Of course the plan has encountered criticism from many quarters, because of issues related with infrastructure reliability and support technologies. But HECO has elaborated, as mentioned above, solutions (to be implemented with other institutions’ help) in order to fix the problems which can arise during the plan.

By reaching the goals, the state will drastically reduce its energy bill and dependence on fossil fuels. This will have far-reaching economic and environmental benefits. Billions of dollars used to be spent on imported oil in Hawaii will be saved. And as Hawaii moves toward 100% renewable energy, its carbon footprint will be greatly reduced.

The plan was finally approved by HUPC on July 14. “After review, commission has reasonable assurance that many of the actions identified … are credible, supported by sound judgment and analysis, informed by stakeholder input and consistent with state energy policy and prior commission orders,” the commission stated.

As the plan moves forward, HPUC will be reviewing progress on an annual or more frequent basis as needed.

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