Renewable energy is energy that does not deplete when it’s used; instead, it’s naturally replenished. Renewable energy can come from sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves or geothermal heat. Unlike renewable energy, once fossil fuels are used, they cannot be replaced. If we switch to renewable energy sources, we’ll never run out of electricity!
The Aloha State has the most aggressive clean energy goal in the country: 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. Currently, Hawaii is using 27 percent renewable energy, which puts us on track to reach our goal. “We are well on our way to 100 percent renewable energy — even before 2045,” says Dawn Lippert, chair of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative advisory board and founder of Elemental Excelerator. “How we get there and how fast depends on our ability to work together as a community — if we collaborate, we can power our islands locally, without importing fossil fuels.”
Hawaiian Electric is constantly working on ways to gather renewable energy from various sources, including:
Abundant sunshine makes Hawaii a national leader in solar power. By 2017, Hawaiian Electric recorded 695 megawatts of cumulative installed solar. The solar added last year produce power equivalent to that used by about 32,000 homes. The solar total includes 82,000 private rooftop solar systems connected or approved.
Harnessing the wind is another clean, sustainable way to generate electricity. The motion of the wind is captured and converted to electricity by wind turbine generators. You’ve probably noticed seven groups of wind turbines — called a wind farm — as you’ve driven around the Islands.
With water covering more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, oceans are the world’s largest collector and retainer of the sun’s energy. Hawaiian Electric has experimented with ocean thermal energy conversion, but the technology is not yet commercially available.
Green Hawaii was published as a supplement to Hawaii Home + Remodeling magazine's April 2018 issue. To find out more about how you can go green all year, visit our Green section.