Though the state depends on fossil fuels for 80 percent of its energy today, it may soon legislate a shift to 100 percent renewable energy.
The U.S. government is making clean energy a priority. States from across the nation are taking steps toward energy efficiency, alternative energy programs and new policies that will help the country collectively meet the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan announced last June. And Hawaii is leading the way with a new bill that would require 100 percent of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2045.
Hawaii House Bill 623 passed by a 74-2 vote, and if Gov. David Ige signs the bill into law, Hawaii will become the first U.S. state to make a total commitment to renewable energy sources. Hawaii’s energy today is composed of 80 percent fossil fuel sources, and some projections say a target of 40 percent renewable energy in Hawaii would be possible by 2030.
“As the first state to move toward 100 percent renewable energy, Hawaii is raising the bar for the rest of the country,” said Chris Lee, chairman of Hawaii's House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, in a statement. “Local renewable projects are already cheaper than liquid natural gas and oil, and our progress toward meeting our renewable energy standards has already saved local residents hundreds of millions on their electric bills.”
Many states are looking to solar power for renewable energy, including sunny New Mexico. In December, the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) proposed to apply a new monthly solar interconnection fee, which was opposed by the New Mexico state attorney general. The case is expected to last through the year and could influence the status of the state’s solar output, now ranking 11th in the nation.