comscore Isles among clean-energy leaders | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Isles among clean-energy leaders

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Hawaii is recognized as a leader in renewable-energy adoption as the state’s goals exceed national expectations.

Earthjustice, a coalition of conservation organizations, released an interactive map showing state renewable-energy goals and accomplishments after the Obama administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan.

The map shows each state’s electricity sources, renewable-energy use, policies to reduce carbon emissions, and current renewable-energy goals compared with the renewable-energy targets that the Environmental Protection Agency created to set state-by-state limits on carbon pollution.

Hawaii was named as one of the key states to set renewable-energy goals that exceed EPA expectations in the Clean Power Plan. Hawaii’s mandated 40 percent of energy coming from renewable energy by 2030 surpasses the EPA’s expectation of 10 percent.

The state adopted the goal in the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative in 2008. As of 2013, Hawaiian Electric Co., which serves Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island, got 13.67 percent of its power from renewable sources.

"It’s heartening to see Hawaii recognized for all the hard work that’s been done thus far to reduce the state’s dependence on imported oil and move down the path toward greater energy, environmental and economic security," said Mark Glick, administrator of the Hawaii State Energy Office.

In August, HECO submitted plans to the Public Utilities Commission with the goal of 65 percent of its power coming from renewable sources by 2030.

"Our state’s goals are very aggressive, but we believe we need to aim even higher," said Darren Pai, HECO spokes­man. "By 2030 we plan to increase our use of renewable energy to more than 65 percent. Using more renewable energy will help lower our customers’ bills, better protect our environment and support Hawaii’s economy. It’s important that we keep pushing forward to deliver services that our customers value."

Earthjustice’s map, called "Coming Clean: The State of U.S. Renewable Energy," shows Hawaii’s ambitious energy goals should be considered when drafting a national plan.

"On a broad-brush level, the map was to call out those states that are forging ahead, looking especially in regard to the clean leaders," said Earthjustice attorney Isaac Mori­wake.

"Look to leaders like Hawaii to set the example for what we should be doing nationwide."

Other highlighted states included Cali­for­nia with a goal of 33 percent of state energy coming from renewable resources by 2020, passing the EPA-suggested 21 percent by 2030. Colo­rado has a state goal of 30 percent renewable energy by 2020 compared with the EPA’s suggested 21 percent by 2030. Connecticut was another state listed with a goal of 27 percent by 2020 compared with the required 9 percent by 2030 from the EPA.

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