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Hawaii’s Clean Energy

Hawaii’s Clean Energy Efforts

Construction Problems and Increasing Costs Affect

Hawaii has consistently ranked near the top of the list for higher living costs, but the rising costs of living in the state indicate how residents of the state are often subject to the whim of foreign markets, in support of the state’s push toward sustainability.

The only coal-fired energy plant in the state has shut down leading clean air efforts in the state. But the plant closure coincided with higher energy costs. The coal-fired plant had supplied about a fifth of Oahu’s electricity since 1992 but was also the island’s leading source of greenhouse gases.

A bill passed in the state in 2020 aimed at seeing coal energy production banned in the state by 2023 and ensuring the plant did not stay open past its 30-year contract. However, Hawaii remains reliant on other fossil fuels for its energy needs. While closing the coal plant reduced the emissions, the main utility in Oahu relies primarily on imported petroleum.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that Hawaii is more dependent on petroleum than any other state in the U.S. Hawaii had received a portion of its foreign oil from Russia, and the ongoing dispute between Russia and Ukraine, which led to the embargo on oil from Russia has led to sourcing petroleum from other countries and contributed to higher costs.

The need to construct solar-powered farms became evident in Hawaii, but supply chain issues have affected the construction efforts in the state. Permitting and contracting issues have also led to extreme delays that have limited the construction. However, the Mililani Solar Farm did come online during the same time the coal plant was closing.

Without the construction of new solar plants and facilities offering alternate energy sources, Hawaii will remain limited in energy use and will see higher prices. When permits are issued and the materials are available, the need for qualified construction workers will increase.

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