Hawaii's Clean Energy Future

Editor's note: This article by Jeff Mikulina of the Blue Planet Foundation is part of a series about what the Hawaii Legislature should focus on this legislative session. Other articles in the series are linked at the bottom of the article.

If we were to sit down today and design — from scratch — an energy system for Hawaii, it’s unthinkable that we’d choose one that relies on a steady supply of Middle Eastern oil and Indonesian coal. Nor would we craft a system that places control of Hawaii’s electricity in a single entity whose bottom line is indifferent to whether the energy source is sustainable.

Yet that is precisely where we find ourselves today. Hawaii has the most oil-dependent and most expensive electricity in the nation, requiring an uninterrupted flow of some million barrels of oil monthly. Electricity is largely controlled by a utility that receives scant financial benefit in plugging into clean energy sources, particularly if those sources are widely distributed.

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