Saturday, February 24, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, February 21, 2014
Feds: Hawaii's High Energy Costs Drive Push for 'Clean' Energy
By Selected News Articles @ 7:58 PM :: 7171 Views :: Energy, Hawaii Statistics, Cost of Living

High cost, oil-fired generation creates potential for shift in Hawaiian electric sources

graph of Hawaiian and US average retail electric prices and crude oil prices (Brent), as explained in the article text Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration and IntercontinentalExchange Inc.

From US Energy Information Administration, February 20, 2014 

As an island chain lacking fossil fuels, Hawaii must import nearly all of its energy, including relatively expensive petroleum that fuels more than 70% of its electricity generation. For the United States as a whole, oil fuels less than 1% of electricity generation. Because electricity generation costs in Hawaii are tied closely to petroleum prices, residential electricity rates are three times the national average. Hawaii's islands are not connected by transmission lines, so each island must have enough generating capacity to meet local demand and provide emergency reserves.

Faced with significant cost and reliability challenges, Hawaii's grid operators have turned to a combination of renewable sources (with lower costs than oil-fired generation), distributed generation, and energy efficiency programs that lower the overall demand for electricity in the state.

graph of fuel shares of total electricity generation in Hawaii, as explained in the article text Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly

As recently as 2008, oil and coal accounted for more than 90% of Hawaii's annual electric generation. The petroleum share of electric generation has been declining, from a high of 81% in 2002 to 72% in 2013 (through November). Meanwhile, generation from renewable sources has climbed from a 4% share in 2002 to more than 12% in 2013. Generation from coal comes from a single 180-megawatt (MW) facility on Oahu and has been relatively steady at 13%-15% of total generation each year.

Total utility-scale electric generation has declined six years in a row from 2007 through 2012. This reduction is attributable to distributed generation and net metering policies that encourage electric generation from homes and businesses, mostly from solar photovoltaic installations, and increased energy efficiency measures.

Hawaii has produced renewable electricity from biomass, geothermal, and run-of-river hydroelectric sources for many years, although recent wind and solar capacity additions have resulted in large increases in renewable electricity production. In 2012, wind accounted for 36% of total utility-scale renewable generation in Hawaii, a contribution that rose to 42% in 2013 (through November). This increase followed the completion of three large wind projects in mid- to late-2012 (Kaheawa Phase II-21 MW, Kawailoa Wind-69 MW, and Auwahi Wind-21 MW). Utility-scale solar generation has increased more than fivefold from full-year 2012 to 2013 but still accounts for less than 2% of utility-scale renewable generation in Hawaii. Utility-scale data understate total solar generation in Hawaii because totals do not include the much larger output from small-scale solar power installations.

Hawaii's installed renewable nameplate capacity in 2013 was just over 600 MW, more than triple the amount that existed in 2005. Nearly 57 MW of additional renewable capacity is currently under construction and slated to enter service in 2014, with many more projects planned for later years.

Graph of hawaiian utility-scale renewable generation and capacity, as explained in the article textSource: U.S. Energy Information Administration and Ventyx Note: * 2013 data are through November.

In 2008, the state began the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) with the U.S. Department of Energy. The partnership's objective is for Hawaii to produce 70% of its electricity from clean energy by 2030 through a combination of increased renewable energy production (40% of total generation) and energy efficiency (30%, or a reduction in electricity demand of 4,300 GWh). In addition to electricity-generating technologies, other technologies such as solar water heating and sea-water district cooling systems can be used to meet the reduction targets.

A study conducted in 2008-09 by Booz Allen Hamilton concluded that the 70% goal was achievable and that Hawaiians would save money if the average price of crude oil stayed above $65-$85 per barrel from 2008 through 2030.


Principal contributor: Timothy Shear


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii