Hawaii's high energy costs debated at gubernatorial forum

Hawaii's high energy costs debated at gubernatorial forum
David Ige
David Ige
Mufi Hannemann
Mufi Hannemann

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The four candidates for Governor agree that energy is a critical issue, but they disagree on the best way to break our dependence on oil.

Mufi Hannemann called it, "Perhaps the most important issue facing our future".

David Ige said the forum was "a good opportunity to drill down into this most important issue."

"How do you increase energy efficiency in Hawaii" said Jeff Davis. "Disband the monopoly of Hawaii Energy Incorporated and take down the Jones Act."

Duke Aiona said, "The overriding principle is to bring down the cost of energy. If it involves changing the model, then we change the model."

He advocated shifting the presumption of connection to from 4500 residents waiting for solar approval to Hawaiian Electric.

Hannemann said, "The only way you can bring electricity costs down is to have all these renewable energies, especially geothermal."

Hannemann proposes a private partner to invest in geothermal on the Big Island and the creation of a Department of Energy. He challenged his opponents to up the goal from 70 to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

Ige responded, "To basically say we're going to define explicitly what that road map is 20 years down the road, I believe is irresponsible. But it is about leadership to say we do want to get to 100 percent."

Ige touts his background as an electrical engineer, with technical know how on a complex subject, saying "I was actively engaged in alternative energy. My first projects were doing assessments of wind regimes."

The candidates have different philosophies when it comes to liquified natural gas or LNG as a bridge to renewables.

Ige responded, "Clearly the cost of LNG would provide a relief, but it must only be used as an interim and bridge."

Aiona said, "As a bridge yes. Should there be others on the table? Yes. Does that need to happen? Yes it does."

Hannemann countered, "It's not renewable, it's not clean, and it's also going to be very expensive."

Davis, a long time solar guy and radio host chimed in "It's a bridge to nowhere. No fracking way!"

Davis actually offered to be the "Energy Guy" for opponents should they become our next Governor.

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