Governor Signs Bill Setting 100% Renewable Energy Goal

The Hawaiian Electric Companies today joined others across Hawaii in applauding Gov. David Ige and the Hawaii Legislature for setting the most aggressive clean energy goal in the country – 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

 Governor Ige signs bill setting 100 percent renewable energy goal in power sector

Governor Ige signs bill setting 100 percent renewable energy goal in power sector

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company fully support the goal of having 100 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources while ensuring that it’s achieved at a reasonable cost for electric customers and that safe, reliable electric service is maintained.

“Reducing our dependence on imported oil and increasing our use of renewable energy is critical to our state’s future. It’s the clean energy transformation we all want for Hawaii. Reaching this goal will require a diverse portfolio of renewable energy resources and strong, upgraded electric grids, and that’s exactly what we’re working toward,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO.

The proposed merger involving Hawaiian Electric and NextEra Energy would provide additional resources to help make these ambitious goals a reality. NextEra Energy has developed, built and operates one of the nation’s most modern grid networks and is the world’s largest producer of renewable energy from the wind and sun.

“Reaching these goals will be a challenge that our entire state must work together to meet. And we’ll do that with strong collaboration among all stakeholders and our collective commitment to building a better energy future for Hawaii,” Oshima said.

Hawaii Governor’s office released the following:

Gov. David Ige today signed into law four energy bills, including one that strengthens Hawaii’s commitment to clean energy by directing the state’s utilities to generate 100 percent of their electricity sales from renewable energy resources by 2045.

The bold step taken by the Hawai‘i State Legislature in passing the landmark legislation (HB623) fulfills one of Ige’s policy objectives by making Hawai‘i the first state in the nation to set a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) for the electricity sector.

“As the most oil dependent state in the nation, Hawai‘i spends roughly $5 billion a year on foreign oil to meet its energy needs. Making the transition to renewable, indigenous resources for power generation will allow us to keep more of that money at home, thereby improving our economy, environment and energy security,” Ige said. “I’d like to thank the senate and house energy committee chairs for championing HB623 and ensuring that Hawai‘i remains a national leader in clean energy.”

“Setting a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard will help drive investment in Hawai‘i’s growing clean energy sector,” said Luis Salaveria, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. “Our commitment to clean energy has already attracted entrepreneurs and businesses from around the world, looking to develop, test and prove emerging technologies and strategies right here in Hawai‘i.”

“Raising the bar for renewable energy in Hawai‘i will also push the state to stay out in front on innovation,” said Mark Glick, administrator, State Energy Office. “We are finding ways to be innovative both with technical solutions and financing structures that will help us meet our ambitious renewable energy goals.”

“Renewable energy projects are already producing cheaper power than new fossil fuel projects in Hawai‘i, and it’s only going to get cheaper as renewable technology advances, unlike fossil fuels which will only grow more expensive as they become more difficult to extract from a shrinking supply,” added Rep. Chris Lee, Chair of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee. “The faster we move toward renewable energy the faster we can stop exporting billions from our local economy to import expensive fossil fuels.”

Another measure signed by Ige (SB1050) will help democratize renewable energy by creating a structure that will allow renters, condominium owners and others who have been largely shut out of Hawai‘i’s clean energy transformation, to purchase electricity generated at an off-site renewable energy facility, such as a large-scale solar farm.

The bill establishing a community-based renewable energy program will be particularly valuable on O‘ahu where there is a high concentration of high-rise condominiums that lack sufficient roof space to support on-site solar panels.  The law is also expected to provide relief to homeowners and businesses who are located on highly saturated circuits that cannot accommodate additional PV installations.

“As of March 2015, there are about 56,000 PV/Solar systems on rooftops.  These folks are saving tremendously on their electricity bills. That’s great, but what about the 44 percent of Hawai‘i residents who don’t own their homes? And those without roof space? SB 1050 allows people to form a hui, find a piece of land, and purchase or lease however many PV panels they want and then get a credit on their electricity bill for the energy they produce.  We spend $3-5 billion annually buying fossil fuels; this is an awesome concept that will help keep some of that money here to help our economy,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard, who co-authored the bill while serving as chair of the Energy and Environment Committee.

In addition to the 100 percent RPS and community-based renewable energy bills, Ige signed into law a measure that sets a net-zero energy goal for the University of Hawai‘i  System (HB1509) and another that designates a state hydrogen implementation coordinator (HB1296).

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