Going green

LIHUE — Going green is a trend throughout the United States as communities do their part to help out the environment, and Hawaii is helping lead the effort. 

Honolulu, in fact, was named the second greenest of America’s 100 largest by a recent WalletHub survey and the entire state has a goal of achieving 100 percent clean energy use by 2045.

Oahu isn’t the only county that’s making strides in sustainability, though. People on Kauai are making efforts to “go green” and protect the Garden Island’s bragging rights.

“Kauai is recognized throughout the world for our natural beauty and maintaining and improving our environment is important to all of us,” said David Bissell, executive director of Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. “KIUC is an industry leader in sustainable energy production and innovation on which provides an excellent fit with Kauai as a green county.”

The current goal on Kauai is to use renewable resources to generate 50 percent of Kauai’s power by 2023, and Bissell said the KIUC board is likely to increase the strategic target to 70 percent by 2030.

The way to achieve the new potential goal is to use the energy from the sun, and adjust rate structures to provide incentives to use energy during the day, which helps save money.

Bissell also suggested increasing the number of electric cars on the road, and said that “could help make our island even greener.”

Increasing the ratio of electric cars on the road would help to knock Hawaii from its current spot as the most fossil fuel dependent state in the nation. That fact was acknowledged by Hawaii Gov. David Ige when he set the state’s renewable energy goal in 2015.

“As the most oil dependent state in the nation, Hawaii spends roughly $5 billion a year on foreign oil to meet its energy needs,” Ige said in statement after the signing. “Making the transition to renewable, indigenous resources for power generation will allow us to keep more of that money at home, thereby improving our economy, environment and energy security.”

WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities across 20 key indicators of sustainability, ranging from “greenhouse-gas emissions per capita” to “number of smart-energy policies and initiatives,” according to Diana Popa, communications manager at WalletHub.

Honolulu was the only city in Hawaii that was in the survey. The study dubbed the city as having the lowest median air-quality index, but the highest number of farmers’ markets per capita.

Honolulu was also the only city in the top five that isn’t located in California. San Francisco took top honors as the greenest city in America and after Honolulu, San Jose, Fremont and San Diego completed the top five.

“It’s great that Honolulu is recognized as one of the greenest cities in America,” Bissell said, “and KIUC has a significant role in contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable environment on Kauai.”

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