We have all seen them. The wind farm on the North Shore of Oahu, the expanding wind farms on Maui (get up close and personal with them on a plane ride to Maui). “Going Green” has been a statement that just about every company and manufacturer in the United States has tried to use at some point over the last decade. While many areas in the U.S. are indeed making strides towards more renewable energy sources, none can come close to Hawaii, as we continue to lead the nation in finding and using renewable energy sources.
Hawaii continues to generate ways to pick up steam in renewable energy sources, as the state has a host of new green projects moving their way through the pipeline. The biggest single factor will be wind power, with the state poised to add more than 100 megawatts of generating capacity from projects on Oahu and Maui in 2012. Rapid growth of residential and commercial photovoltaic installations is continuing, while new waste-to-energy and biofuel projects are also on tap for completion this year.
Other states in the U.S can claim they are making strides in renewable energy sources and moving towards more green energy projects, but Hawaii can claim so many that the rest of the country seems well behind. That being said, Hawaii also has access the Pacific Ocean on all sides, as well as trade winds and other factors that can be easily harnessed to carry such projects into the future more quickly.
In addition, the electric utilities that service Hawaii Island (Big Island) and Maui are seeking proposals from developers to expand the state’s electricity production from geothermal sources. This would be a huge boost to Hawaii residents who are paying more and more on their electric bills.
Hawaii’s reliance on high-priced oil for electricity generation has made the development of alternative energy sources attractive here. The additional investment needed to upgrade the state’s electrical grid to incorporate more renewable electricity will increase costs for ratepayers in the near future. But alternative energy proponents say reducing dependence on imported oil will provide more stable, and lower, energy prices over time. In other words, if residents can weather the current storm of high electric bills, then they are going to reap the rewards in the future.
While there are several green projects in different stages, wind and solar power remain the dominant near-term responses to Hawaii’s dependence on fossil fuel. Since Hawaii wants to be totally dependent on green energy by 2020 (that could be a stretch but we will see) it is important that they lay the groundwork for wind and solar first.
The electric utility on Hawaii Island (Big Island), which already absorbs the highest amount of renewable energy in the state, has agreed to add 21.5 megawatts of firm generating capacity from a company that will produce power by burning locally grown eucalyptus trees. The project being developed by Hu Honua Bioenergy will produce enough power to supply 10 percent of the island’s energy needs. This is just one of the many different projects that are on tap to boost Hawaii’s green energy use.
Green energy and renewable energy sources is one of the biggest topics not only in Hawaii, but around the entire nation. A lot of people are just now starting to jump on the bandwagon, a bandwagon that Hawaii heads up! Green energy is the future, and Hawaii continues to lead the way.