The Hawaiian Electric Company, Maui Electric Company and Hawaii Electric Light Company are committed to Less and Local when it comes to electricity.
Everyone needs to use less whenever possible -- without sacrificing safety, comfort or convenience. Through energy efficiency and conservation, we all need to use energy wisely every day.
In addition, the Hawaiian Electric companies pledge to lead the Hawaiian Islands to increase the use of local, renewable energy.
In the past, it was efficient and made sense for Hawaii to import crude oil, refine it into the gasoline, jet and marine fuel we need and use the residue to generate electricity. Today, concern about Hawaii’s energy security, our island economy and the world’s environment are requiring us to act differently.
Now, our preferred energy future must be based on using innovation and changing our lifestyles to use energy wisely and to reduce our dependence on imported oil by replacing oil with local, clean, renewable resources.
Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative
On October 20, 2008, in the chambers of Governor Linda Lingle, an historic agreement was signed between the State of Hawaii and the Hawaiian Electric companies.
The energy agreement, part of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, puts Hawaii on a path to supply 40 percent of electricity needs and 70 percent of overall energy needs (including transportation) using clean sources by 2030, a far-reaching change for a state now over 90 percent dependent on imported fossil fuels. The 2009 Hawaii State Legislature enacted this goal into law by establishing a renewable portfolio standard of 40 percent and an energy efficiency standard of 30 percent by 2030 in Act 155.
As a state, we have strong motivation to achieve these goals. Our dependence on imported fossil fuel has adverse security and economic impacts. Much of the oil we import comes from foreign countries not friendly to the United States. Most experts predict oil prices will rise as the world economy picks up and the cost of controlling carbon emissions is added through a tax or cap-and-trade system. Hawaii exports between $6 billion and $7 billion annually (about 10 percent of the gross state product) to buy fuel, a huge figure for a string of remote islands with a population of only about 1.2 million (plus over six million visitors a year.)
To these concerns, we now add our new understanding of greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change. It is now clear the energy system that powered Hawaii well for decades when oil was plentiful and cheap cannot be sustained.
Hawaii’s total production of greenhouse gas may be small, even on a per capita basis, but as an island state in a tropical hurricane path, we are among the most vulnerable places on earth to rising sea levels, more intense storms and even drought.
The energy agreement was negotiated among the Hawaiian Electric companies, the Governor of Hawaii, the Energy Division of the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, the State Consumer Advocate and the U.S. Department of Energy.
We cannot afford inaction. We believe this unified commitment to a preferred energy future has put Hawaii on the right path.
"Global warming policy"
In January 2007, the Hawaiian Electric companies’ Board of Directors established this policy on global warming:
"Hawaiian Electric Company shares the very serious concerns of many regarding the potential effects of global warming and human contributions to this phenomenon, including the burning of fossil fuels for electricity production, transportation, manufacturing, agricultural activities and deforestation.
To effectively address global warming, actions addressing all contributing sources must be taken with priority given to those which provide the greatest benefit for the costs involved. To be successful, the response to global warming requires commitment by private sector businesses, all levels of government, and every member of the public.
At Hawaiian Electric, we remain committed to taking direct action to mitigate the contributions to global warming from electricity production. Such action has and will continue to include promoting aggressive energy conservation and transitioning to clean, efficient and eco-effective energy production in all markets that we serve."
How are we doing?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, Hawaii ranks third in the nation (after Maine and California) in use of renewable energy relative to the state's total electricity production (1). In 2009, the Hawaiian Electric companies achieved a consolidated Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 19 percent, an increase from the 18 percent level achieved in 2008. This means that 19 percent of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light companies’ sales came from renewable energy (including solar water heating) and quantifiable energy efficiency efforts.
“Traditional” renewable energy generation (as compared to energy savings from solar water heating and energy efficiency technologies) made up over half the total RPS percentage for 2009.
(1) This figure is based on the EIA-906 data from 2006, and this does not include hydro-electric power from massive dams, which are not possible in Hawaii and many do not consider to be environmentally sound.
A new website will manage and accept applications for HELCO's Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program starting at noon (HST) on Nov. 24, 2010.
The FIT is designed to encourage the addition of more renewable energy projects in Hawaii. The program offers pre-established rates and standardized contract terms which will provide an easy way for individuals, businesses, governmental entities, and other developers to sell renewable energy to HELCO.
All applications for the program must be submitted through the website which can be found at www.hecofitio.com. The site is operated and maintained by Accion Group, an independent third-party observer that oversees the FIT applications on behalf of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
To access HELCO FIT documents, please click here.
More information regarding the FIT program is available at www.heco.com/FIT.
For more information on our renewable energy efforts, click here or visit www.hawaiisenergyfuture.com.