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Hawaii Goes Green

Hawaii wind turbinesAccording to the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, the Aloha State is the most fossil fuel-dependent state in America with 90 percent of its energy sourced from petroleum. But that will change in the coming years as Hawaii tries to employ renewable energy from natural sources to get off fossil fuels. The state will try to harness the renewable energy from the same wonders that attract tourists to Hawaii: sunshine, big waves, and volcanoes.

Because it heavily relies on petroleum as source of energy, Hawaii was one of the most affected states when gas prices hit record highs in 2008, prompting state leaders to consider developing renewable energy resources.

An ongoing initiative aims to source 40 percent of Hawaii's power from solar, wind, geothermal, and wave energy by 2030.  This will not only provide efficient energy sources but also cut power needs by 30 percent. The state is also considering to promote electric vehicles, build utility-scale wind projects, and experiment with smart-grid technologies.

Hawaii is blessed with strong trade winds that sweep the islands with remarkable consistency. Harnessing the energy from these strong winds is the idea behind one of the largest renewable energy project that’s going up on the state, the Big Wind project.  The project involves building turbines on a couple of smaller islands and transmitting it to the more populous Oahu by undersea cable.

Hawaii's big waves are also being tapped as a renewable energy source.  In fact, the state is becoming a center of development for wave-to-energy technology, which is creeping toward commercialization.

State legislature on energy conservation are also being passed like the one in 2008 requiring new homes to install solar water heaters. On the Big Island, 20 percent of the energy already comes from geothermal energy, and the state is exploring geothermal expansion. The state government is also leading by example. Solar panels are installed in public schools and state buildings.

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1 comment

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