State reaches 25 percent clean energy

HONOLULU — The Aloha State got a little greener in 2015, according to the 2016 Energy Resources Coordinator’s Annual Report released by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s Hawaii State Energy Office on Tuesday.

According to the 91-page report, the state saw a jump in clean energy use in its renewable energy portfolio standard, increasing from 17.5 percent in 2014 to 23.4 percent in 2015.

The current RPS for the state is around 25 percent, which is about a fourth of the way from the state’s goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

“Hawaii’s push to create a clean energy future is becoming a reality,” said Luis P. Salaveria, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism. “The state made tremendous strides to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, with about 25 percent of all electricity sales coming from renewable sources. We will continue to work toward our 100 percent renewable energy goal by engaging all stakeholders with collaboration, innovative thinking and a strong entrepreneurial drive.”

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative experienced the largest jump, with its renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) increasing from 17.5 percent in 2014 to 27.3 percent in 2015.

Hawaii also experienced significant gains in energy efficiency. In addition to progress in the private sector, state and county agencies contributed to the gains by participating in the state’s Energy Performance Contracting program, which is coordinated by HSEO.

To date, state and local government agencies have signed more than $442.4 million in performance contracts that will save an estimated $1.1 billion over the lifetime of those contracts.

These savings are the equivalent to powering 368,426 homes for one year. The projects comprise more than 96 million square feet in 225 buildings or facilities.

There is also good news to report in the effort to reduce petroleum use in the transportation sector. The popularity of electric vehicles continues to grow, with EV registrations accelerating at a double-digit pace in 2016.

By year’s end there were more than 5,000 EVs registered in Hawaii, a 26 percent increase over the same period a year earlier. Hawaii is second in the nation after California in per capita EV registrations and a leader in charging facilities.

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