Hawaii lawmakers agree on 100% renewables by 2045 mandate

Dive Brief:

  • A joint House-Senate committee in Hawaii agreed in a compromise on House Bill 623 to set 2045 as the target year for obtaining 100% of the state's electricity from renewables. The Senate had wanted 2050 and the House had wanted 2040.
  • The bill will now return to the Senate and the House. If approved by both bodies, the bill will then be sent to the governor's office for his signature. 

Dive Insight:

A 100% renewables mandate would be the most ambitious by far in the U.S.

Hawaii obtained approximately 18% of its electricity from renewables in 2013, but has ambitious plans to grow that number. Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO), the state’s dominant electricity supplier, filed a plan last summer with state regulators proposing to obtain 65% of its electricity from renewables by 2030.

Setting a target year was essential to the 2014 Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) request for the Legislature to review the state's current 40% renewables by 2030 mandate.

Many Hawaiians believe 2015 is crucial to setting state goals because the $4.3 billion purchase of HECO by NextEra Energy will likely be approved by the end of the year and the Florida-based company will have more input on policy targets like the renewables mandate.

HECO’s 2030 mandate includes nearly tripling customer-owned DG to over 900 megawatts, “large amounts” of new utility-scale solar, “modest amounts” of new utility-scale wind, “aggressively” expanded demand response, and  deactivation of all existing oil-fired generators in favor of natural gas and biomass.

It also includes plans for “significant” new energy storage, including additions of 300 megawatts of energy storage on O‘ahu by 2030, 42 megawatts of battery storage on Maui, 10 megawatts each on Moloka‘i and Lana‘I, and 25 megawatts on Hawai‘i Island.

The proposed Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative (HIEC) filed as an intervener in the PUC docket on the proposed NextEra acquisition of HECO and is expected to object.

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Top image credit: Flickr; Roxanne Ready