Abercrombie Moving Ahead On Natural Gas For Electricity Generation

Chad Blair/ Civil Beat

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration is moving decisively toward importing liquefied natural gas for Hawaii’s electricity needs. But this doesn’t mean state officials are easing up on the push for renewable energy.

In an interview with Civil Beat, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz expanded upon a recent letter he sent to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission outlining the administration’s position.

“We are no longer assessing whether LNG makes smart public policy,” he told Civil Beat. “We are trying to figure out what it takes logistically and what we need to do to establish that.”

Hawaiian Electric Co. and the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute are currently conducting studies that will determine a working plan for importing LNG, said Schatz. The studies, set to be completed by the end of the year, will help determine a timeframe, budget and the infrastructure needed for natural gas.

Hawaii is almost completely dependent upon oil for its electricity needs. Since 2008, state energy policy has revolved around a mandate to transition to 40 percent renewable energy by 2030 and reduce electricity consumption by 30 percent.

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