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Clean Energy

Clean Energy for Hawaii

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are committed to meeting the energy needs of Hawaii’s people in a reliable and environmentally sound way, at an affordable cost. In 2014, we submitted Power Supply Improvement Plans to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission – plans that call for 65% of electricity sales from renewable resources by 2030, including a tripling of distributed solar. This substantially exceeds the 40% renewable goal by 2030 mandated in state law.

Innovation and commitment have enabled us to use less oil for electricity and integrate more renewables– customer-sited and utility-scale -- than ever. Developing technologies for energy storage, enhanced demand response and smart grid technologies will enable us to increase further our energy self-sufficiency while lowering customer bills.

To fulfill the promise of these technologies, we work in partnership with businesses, government, with other energy providers, environmental and community groups, and with you, our customer. This is a community challenge that only collective community action can meet.


How are we doing?

In 2014, nearly 21% of the energy used by the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ customers came from renewable sources, up from 18% in 2013.

With high electricity bills due to record high oil prices following the Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011, we are focusing more intently than ever on reducing customer bills. Our goal: reducing bills 20% as we increase renewable energy use to 65% by 2030.

Click here to see the most recent update on Hawaii's clean energy future.

Click here to see our latest (2013) Renewable Portfolio Standards Report.

Click here to see actions to boost local biofuel production.

 

Commitment

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Company are committed to increasing Hawaii’s clean energy and reducing Hawaii's dependency on imported oil.

In the past, it was efficient and economical for Hawaii to import crude oil, refine it into gasoline, jet and marine fuel and use the residue to generate electricity. Today, concern about Hawaii’s energy security, our island economy and the global environment require that we move to a more sustainable way to power our lives.

Moving Hawaii off imported oil for electricity will have many benefits, including providing our customers lower and more stable rates.

The cost of oil has become increasingly volatile and unpredictable in the years since the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami – when Japan closed its fleet of nuclear power plants and began using oil for electricity again. Oil prices climbed to unprecedented heights in the Asia Pacific market where Hawaii’s oil purchases are priced.

In addition, impending stricter federal emissions standards for power plants across the nation are increasing the urgency of ending Hawaii’s dependency on oil for electricity generation. Our plans call for replacing oil with natural gas for generation by 2017, with a goal of using natural gas for 80% of Hawaii’s present oil-fired generation. Natural gas is a cleaner, less expensive fossil fuel.

Switching to lower-emission natural gas makes more sense than meeting new federal power plant emission standards with expensive upgrades of our existing generators and continuing to use oil. The savings from natural gas can also allow the investments needed to support the integration of increasing amounts of renewable energy. Natural gas will be a “bridge” to more renewable energy, with a goal of reaching 65% renewables by 2030.

The Hawaiian Electric companies are at the core of a movement to increase use of LOCAL clean and renewable energy from sun, wind, waste-to-energy, biofuels and geothermal with the possibility of wave and ocean thermal energy in the future.

 

Background

In October 2008, the State of Hawaii and Hawaiian Electric Companies signed a historic agreement that set aggressive goals for a state then 90% dependent on imported fossil fuels for energy needs.

The energy agreement, part of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, put Hawaii on a path to 70% clean energy (30% reduction through energy efficiency and 40% of electricity sales from renewable sources) by 2030.

In 2009, the Hawaii State Legislature enacted this goal into law. Act 155 increased Hawaii’s renewable portfolio standard to 40% and established an energy efficiency standard of 30% by 2030.

Global Warming Position

In January 2007, the Hawaiian Electric companies’ Board of Directors established this position on global warming:

"Hawaiian Electric Company shares the very serious concerns of many regarding the potential effects of global warming and human contributions to this phenomenon, including the burning of fossil fuels for electricity production, transportation, manufacturing, agricultural activities and deforestation.

To effectively address global warming, actions addressing all contributing sources must be taken with priority given to those which provide the greatest benefit for the costs involved. To be successful, the response to global warming requires commitment by private sector businesses, all levels of government, and every member of the public.

At Hawaiian Electric, we remain committed to taking direct action to mitigate the contributions to global warming from electricity production. Such action has and will continue to include promoting aggressive energy conservation and transitioning to clean, efficient and eco-effective energy production in all markets that we serve."