For oil lush states like North Dakota and Texas, folks are living the dream of the 20th century, still believing of an energy independent state without any acceptance to the obvious future of clean energy. But, not all states in the union are looking to the old ways of the past and are pushing themselves to meet the standards of the 21st century. The state of Hawaii has set quite the goal for itself as the state’s legislature recently passed a bill which would require 100 percent of its electricity to come from renewable sources by 2045.
According to a recent report from IFL Science, Hawaii has set up a big challenge for itself. Currently, roughly 22 percent the grid is supplied by green energy. Under the pending law, green energy must produce 30 percent of Hawaii’s electricity by 2020 and 70 percent by 2040.
An observation from Clean Technica stated that Governor David Ige is required to reject or pass “House Bill 623” by May 15, or it will automatically become law. However, the bill flew through the legislature without backlash and Governor Ige is not only a Democrat but an electrical engineer familiar with the technology at hand. Many are assuming Ige will jump on board with the renewable energy bill.
“We’ll now be the most populated set of islands in the world with an independent grid to establish a 100 percent renewable electricity goal,” State Senator Mike Gabbard (D) told Think Progress. “Through this process of transformation we can be the model that other states and even nations follow. And we’ll achieve the biggest energy turnaround in the country, going from 90 percent dependence on fossil fuels to 100 percent clean energy.”
Aside from the inevitable switch to cleaner energy to which the entire world will eventually transition, Hawaii has huge economic reasons to make the changes now. According to IFLS, oil-fired power plants are Hawaii’s major source of electricity. But, since they have to import their oil, it’s on average about three times more expensive than what other U.S. states pay.
In addition, the goals aren’t as extreme as they appear from the outside. Hawaii has already invested substantially in solar. Think Progress stated that one in every eight houses has implemented solar energy. This has helped the country generate around 10 percent of the total electricity needs from this single source alone. Furthermore, being adorned with active volcanoes has allowed geothermal projects, which also contribute a significant chunk to the grid.