Being the state with the most expensive energy due to the dependency on imported fuels in the past, Hawaii had long begun implementing renewable energy in order to achieve autonomous provision of energy and a reduction in energy expenditure, and even proposed the target of adopting 100% renewable energy by 2045 during 2015 under the increasing popularity of green energy, which although derived a substantial amount of doubts back then, is now steadily accomplished.
The 2020 target for Hawaii was to achieve 30% of renewable energy, which may seem like a difficult mission in the past, though the rapid reduction in the cost of energy cost, the elevated economic benefits, and the fast construction speed of renewable energy have been reflected in real life. Hawaii managed to achieve the target of 2020 with ease, where the largest electricity supplier Hawaiian Electric reported in February 2020 that 34.5% of the electricity generated from Oahu, Hawaii, and Maui came from renewable energy, which is a YoY increase of 13% that indicates advanced schedule.
The overall power consumption of Hawaii had gone down in 2020 due to the pandemic, which explains the comparatively expanded ratio of renewable energy under the diminished denominator, though the 32% ratio after eliminating the pandemic factor and using the past power generation volume as the denominator is still above the target of 30%. On the other hand, 60% of power generation volume from the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) comes from renewable energy, which also exceeds the 2023 target at an advanced speed.
The experience from Hawaii can serve as a reference for the Biden administration that is currently hoping to eliminate all thermal power generation using fossil fuels by 2035 as the state not only achieved the target for 2020 with ease, but is also expected to attain the target of 40% renewable energy by 2040 in advance.
Half of the capacity of renewable energy power generation for Hawaii comes from residential rooftop solar, followed by wind energy, then concentrated solar, as well as biomass energy, biofuel, hydropower, and geothermal power. The new power generation capacity for 2020 was accounted most by residential rooftop solar at 65.6MW that was far more than other power generation methods.
The primary factor lies on the swift decrement in the cost of solar, though the more important reason is the collocation with energy storage that makes it usable even after sunset, which drastically increases the willingness in installation. 78% of new rooftop solar is all equipped with battery storage.
Kauai has constructed several battery storage plants, and is planning for the establishment of solar power generation paired with pumped-storage hydroelectricity that will facilitate electricity provision during nighttime using the stored energy. The completion of the project will help Kauai in achieving the implementation of 80% renewable energy.
Numerous anti-green energy advocates believed that 30% of renewable energy will result in a collapse in the power grid, and that 60% is an impossible target, whereas 100% is nothing but a joke. Now Hawaii has proven that 30% is a piece of cake, whereas Kauai also demonstrates that 60% is attainable. Soon enough, the human society will realize that 100% green energy is actually relatively normal and affordable, since the cost for both renewable energy and battery energy storage is still on a continuous reduction.
(Cover photo source: Hawaiian Electric)