Mayors commit to renewable vehicles

  • Photo courtesy of CIty and County of Honolulu

    Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. speaks at the Tuesday mayors’ announcement to commit to the shared goal of 100 percent renewable ground transportation by 2045, aboard Hokulea on Oahu.

LIHUE — Electric cars are just one way that Hawaii mayors hope to contribute toward the state’s renewable energy goals, and four of Hawaii’s leaders recently came together to make another step toward 100 percent.

Kauai’s Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, and Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe, representing Mayor Harry Kim, banded together Tuesday.

They all committed to the goal of transforming Hawaii’s public and private ground transportation to 100 percent renewable fuel sources by 2045, a statement solidified on deck of the Polynesian voyaging canoe, Hokulea.

“It is our shared kuleana to reduce our emissions, no matter how big or small our communities may be,” Carvalho said. “It is an ambitious goal, but by bringing everyone to the table to work together, we can achieve 100 percent affordable, safe, renewable transportation by 2045.”

Ground transportation accounts for more than one quarter of Hawaii’s imported fossil fuel consumption, and greenhouse emissions according to a recent multi-county press release.

The release further points out significant financial gain for residents operating electric vehicles, which could reduce vehicle costs to one third less than current consumption.

Carvalho said his plan is to lead the way by transitioning Kauai County’s fleet vehicles to 100 percent renewable power by 2035.

Members of the community are already working toward that goal.

The Kauai Community College automotive technology program students, for example, are obtaining training in sustainable technology to meet the needs of the island’s evolving industry.

“We are the only program in the UHCC (University of Hawaii Community College) system to provide comprehensive training in hybrid and electric vehicles in our automotive green technology certificate of achievement program,” said college spokeswoman Cammie Matsumoto.

The program prepares students for entry-level positions in the automotive mechanics industry by introducing basic knowledge of maintenance and repair for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Safety handling procedures, advanced diagnostics and repair while working on high-voltage systems are also included in the curriculum.

“I was delighted to learn of our mayor’s commitment to 100 percent renewable transportation by 2045, but certainly not surprised,” said KCC chancellor Helen Cox. “He and his administration have been leaders in sustainability.”

The commitments from the mayors continue Hawaii’s progress in transitioning from fossil fuels and builds off of a 2015 state law requiring 100 percent of the state’s electricity to be generated by renewable sources by 2045.

  1. Latearrivelocal December 19, 2017 9:10 am Reply

    Thank you for making the effort. I do have a question. I noticed that the roof on the county building was redone but no solar was added. Was it not possible and a discussion?

  2. RG DeSoto December 19, 2017 9:23 am Reply

    This is a classic red herring. Using electric cars does nothing to further the dubious goal of “renewable” energy. Electric cars simply import their energy fuel from the power companies which will never produce all or even a majority of their power from solar, hydro etc.
    This is all about feel good image and pandering for votes.
    RG DeSoto

  3. Blake Drolson December 19, 2017 5:27 pm Reply

    Actually there are ways to incentivize people to charge their cars when renewable energy is being produced in excess, like during the day for solar. You can offer them a lower rate when you have the solar to spare, and if its enough of a discount most charging will happen then.

    Besides that battery prices are coming down and Kauai is getting a pumped hydro system as well. The state has the goal of 100% renewable by 2050. I do think that the electric grid in Hawaii will become very green very soon, partly for the good goal of saving the earth, but mostly for the reason that green energy will be much cheaper to run and operate. Even with battery backup etc, to make it “firm power”, I expect it will still be much cheaper than generating electricity from fossil fuels..

  4. MisterM December 29, 2017 1:27 pm Reply

    More PC nonsense. Until such time as it makes economic sense to convert to electric, these promises are simply pandering to the clueless rubes.

    That said, Hawaii is a perfect place for solar. Problem is simply finding batteries at an economic price. Perhaps in 5-10 years we might see battery prices decline sufficiently that the current outrageous subsidies won’t be needed. Until then, the pandering pols should make decisions based on economics, not PC blather.

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