Global warming in Hawaii

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle has approved a number of energy-related bills to address climate change and promote local renewable energy production. The governor's energy bill-signing streak started in late April 2008 with the approval of House Bill 2502, which allows solar energy facilities to be located on less-productive agricultural lands, followed in late May by the approval of HB 3179, which makes it easier for biofuel producers to lease state lands. In the same time frame, the governor approved SB 2034, SB 3190, and HB 2168, which authorize special purpose revenue bonds to help finance a 2.7-megawatt wave energy facility off the coast of Maui, a solar energy facility on Oahu, and hydrogen generation and conversion facilities at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority, located on the island of Hawaii.

Senate Bill 644, approved on June 26, 2008 prohibits the issuing of building permits for new homes without solar water heaters as of 2010. The bill excludes homes located in areas with poor solar energy resources, homes using other renewable energy sources, and homes employing on-demand gas-fired water heaters. The bill also eliminates solar thermal energy tax credits for those homes.

On June 6, 2008 the governor approved SB 988, which allows the Hawaii Public Utility Commission to establish a rebate for solar photovoltaic electric systems, and HB 2550, which encourages net metering for residential and small commercial customers.

On July 1, 2008 the governor approved the final three energy bills, including HB 2863, which provides streamlined permitting for new renewable energy facilities of at least 200 megawatts in capacity. HB 2505 creates a full-time renewable energy facilitator to help the state expedite those permits, while a third bill, HB 2261, will provide loans of up to $1.5 million and up to 85% of the cost of renewable energy projects at farms and aquaculture facilities.

Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative

On January 28, 2008, the State of Hawaii and the US Department of Energy signed a memorandum of understanding [1] and announced the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which has a goal to use renewable resources such as wind, sun, ocean, geothermal, and bioenergy to supply 70 percent or more of Hawaii's energy needs by 2030 and to reduce the state's dependence on imported oil.[2][3]

The Initiative's efforts will focus on working with public and private partners on several clean energy projects throughout the state including: designing cost-effective approaches for 100 percent use of renewable energy on smaller islands, designing systems to improve stability of electrical grids operating with variable generating sources, such as wind power plants on the Island of Hawaii and Maui, and expanding Hawaii's capability to use locally grown crops as byproducts for producing fuel and electricity.[4]

Partners include United States Department of Energy - EERE, the state of Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric Company, Phoenix Motorcars and Better Place.

Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority is a test site for experimental renewable energy generation methods and pilot plants for them. Originally built to test Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), it later added research into other sustainable uses of natural energy sources such as aquaculture, biofuel from algae, solar thermal energy, concentrating solar and wind power.


A transition from fossil fuel vehicles to electric vehicles would enable Hawaii's transportation needs to be fueled with electricity generated from renewable energy and with biofuels.[5][6]

Solar power

Solar power in Hawaii grew quickly as photovoltaic panel prices dropped putting household energy generation below the cost of purchased electricity. In 2013, Hawaii was second only to Arizona in per capita solar power.[7] In 2013, about 10% of Oahu customers had solar panels. Several utility scale solar farms exist along with distributed household generation. Solar water heaters have long been a common appliance with a 2010 law requiring them in new construction.[8]

Wind power

Hawaii was a pioneer in the development of wind power. Wind power in Hawaii provided 5% of total electricity. Battery-linked wind farms have been built to smooth electrical production.


Hawaii has several biomass electric plants included the 10MW Honolulu International Airport Emergency Power Facility, the 6.7MW Green Energy Agricultural Biomass-to-Energy Facility on Kauai, and the 6.6MW waste-to-energy Honua Power Project on Oahu. The 21.5 MW Hu Honua plant is expected to be online in 2016.[9] Wärtsilä is selling a 50MW system to Hawaii Electric to be installed at Schofield Barracks Army Base on Oahu by 2017. The plant can run on a variety of solid or gas fuels including biomass.[10]

Coal phase out

Hawaii has banned new coal plants[11] beyond the only operating coal-fired power plant in the state, AES Hawaii Power Plant.[12]

Wave power

The U.S. Navy and the University of Hawaii operate a Wave Energy Test Site in Kaneohe Bay.[13]

Algae fuel

Main article: Algae fuel

Cellana produces oil from algae at a 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres) research site at Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawaii. Microalgae have significant potential as an energy crop, with the levels of oil production per acre potentially far exceeding the levels found in vegetable oil crops. Cellana (previously called HR BioPetroleum) worked with Royal Dutch Shell on a pilot facility to grow algae on land leased from the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority, which is located on the west shore of the island of Hawaii.

See also


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