Editorial | Island Voices Hawaii’s renewable energy goal should be 100% By Gov. George Ariyoshi, Christine Camp and Peter Crouch March 4, 2015 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Under the state’s existing renewable energy laws, in 2031 — around the time today’s preschoolers will graduate high school — the majority of our energy could still come from fossil fuels. We owe it to the kids growing up today, and the ones following them, to do better than that. Climate reality is everywhere: eroding coastlines, dying coral reefs, droughts, floods, extreme weather. In Hawaii, big rains are bigger and more frequent, we’re getting less trade wind days, and we’ve recorded the hottest average high temperatures on record. Sea-level rise will soak Waikiki before the end of the century. Knowing that the single most important thing we can do about all this is to stop burning fossil fuels, will we commit today to securing hope for a stable climate tomorrow? In 2008, the state of Hawaii and the Hawaiian Electric companies acknowledged and agreed: "The future of Hawaii requires that we move more decisively and irreversibly away from imported fossil fuel for electricity and transportation and towards indigenously produced renewable energy and an ethic of energy efficiency. The very future of our land, our economy and our quality of life is at risk if we do not make this move and we do so for the future of Hawaii and of the generations to come." With this declaration, they set the target of 40 percent renewable power by 2030. We can do better. In 2014, Hawaiian Electric proposed to beat the 40 percent target with 65 percent renewable electricity by 2030. We can do even better. The Legislature is currently considering bills targeting 100 percent renewable electricity (SB 715, HB 623, HB 1512). We have the resources, the technology and the will to achieve this target by 2040, if not sooner. Elsewhere, 100 percent renewable goals are becoming a norm. The island nations of Iceland and Tokelau are already 100 percent renewably powered. Denmark has committed to 100 percent renewable heat and electricity by 2035. Scotland is targeting 100 percent renewable generation by 2020. U.S. cities, including San Francisco and San Jose, have committed to 100 percent renewable power within the next decade. In 2014, the state Public Utilities Commission reported to the Legislature that because of our renewable targets and related policies, there is "no doubt that Hawaii is further along the path to increased utilization of renewable and indigenous resources, reduction in use of imported petroleum fuels and diversifying its fuel portfolio." The effectiveness of the target is apparent when you compare the greening of electricity with that of natural gas (which has no renewable targets). Today, Hawaii gets twice as much electricity from renewables as we did six years ago, but less than half the renewable natural gas that was produced in 2009. Over the past decade, we’ve seen tremendous progress in clean energy technology and policies, as well as a rising tide of citizens intent on reversing climate change. With continued action in these areas — building on progress like advanced rooftop solar inverters to accommodate high solar penetration, an 80 percent drop in solar power module prices since 2008, a strong barrel tax and greenhouse gas laws, solar hot water on every new home, low-cost green financing, and a movement to divest our university’s investments of fossil fuel companies — Hawaii is leading the way. Noted business author Joel A. Barker has said, "Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world." We must pass legislation that can steer us to our goal of 100 percent renewable power. By marrying our actions with this vision, we can change Hawaii and the world. Previous Story Off the News Next Story Off the News: HEI, NextEra; 'Birthing houses'