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.