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Local utilities: We’re on board with Obama’s emissions goals

    President Barack Obama wipes sweat from his head during a speech on climate change at Georgetown University on Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Washington. Obama is proposing sweeping steps to limit heat-trapping pollution from coal-fired power plants and to boost renewable energy production on federal property. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Officials from Hawaii’s two electric utilities say they are already working toward the goals outlined by President Barrack Obama Tuesday to limit carbon pollution  from fossil fuel power plants.

“We’re committed to implementing solutions to comply with all federal and state regulations governing emissions from our facilities. Key to that is increasing renewable energy to reduce fossil fuel use,” according to a prepared statement from Hawaiian Electric Co. The utility estimated that more than 18 percent of the electricity it generates this year will come from renewable sources, ahead of its goal of 15 percent by 2015.

On Kauai a flurry of solar, biomass and new hydroelectric projects either completed or on the drawing board are projected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 50,000 tons, or 19 percent, by 2020, according to the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. The island is already home to a 6-megawatt solar facility, the largest in the state. Two more 12-megawatt solar photovoltaic projects are in the pipeline.

The Honolulu-based Blue Planet Foundation welcomed Obama’s announcement. “In Hawaii, we pay twice for the oil our power plants burn—once to import it and again for each pound of carbon absorbed into our atmosphere and ocean,” said Blue Planet CEO Jeff Mikulina. “Establishing limits to carbon pollution addresses this cost, creating greater accountability for our fuel choices and encouraging a more responsible energy future.”

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