Report: Hawaii still a long way off from 100 percent renewable energy

Published: Jun. 29, 2018 at 8:44 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 4, 2018 at 3:16 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii law mandates that by 2045, 100 percent of energy in the state's electricity sector must be renewable.

That's a major goal — and one that's still a long way off.

In 2017, according to a newly-released state energy report, 27.6 percent of Hawaii's electricity was produced with renewable sources.

The vast majority, though, came from oil.

Hawaii depends on petroleum for electricity more than any other state.

And in 2015, oil accounted for about 67 percent of its electricity production. By comparison, less than 1 percent of the nation's energy production is from petroleum.

Put another way, about one-fourth of all the petroleum used in the state goes to electricity production.

That's about the same as all the petroleum used for ground transportation.

"As a community of isolated islands, we drain our economy with costly payments of billions of dollars annually for imported fuel — dollars which should remain in our economy to grow our economy," the June 2018 Hawaii Energy Facts and Figures report says.

"We pay, yet we are richly endowed with a wealth of natural resources. Our challenge is to work together to accept these blessings while balancing environmental, cultural and economic considerations."

The price of the heavily-relied on petroleum affects plenty of goods and services. Hawaii's electricity prices, for example, are more than double the U.S. average, the report points out.

In a glimmer of good news: Since 2011, residential electricity rates for all Hawaiian Islands have been on the decline as gas prices have dropped. And Hawaii households are also using less power.

In 2017, the average monthly residential electricity use was 482 kwh. That's down from 584 in 2011.

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