Record high renewable energy use reported in Hawaii

By Hawaii Electric Light | March 08, 2016

Hawaii Island led the state with 48.7 percent of customer electricity use coming from renewable resources in 2015. Maui County, including Molokai and Lanai, recorded 35.4 percent and Oahu achieved 17.2 percent of electricity used from renewable energy.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies reported the data in the annual renewable portfolio standard (RPS) report filed with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. The consolidated RPS for Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light combined was 23.2 percent, an increase from 21.3 percent for 2014.

The achievement far exceeded Hawaii's 2015 RPS goal of 15 percent and came from the use of a diverse mix of renewable sources, including waste-to-energy, biomass, geothermal, hydro, wind, biofuels and solar, both utility-scale and customer-sited rooftop systems.

The RPS reported to the PUC represents the calculation for the entire year. However, Hawaii Island hit a renewable high of 68 percent in December 2015; Maui County hit 63 percent in April 2015 and Oahu reached 42 percent in May 2015.

"These are achievements that everyone in Hawaii can be proud of," said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. "Integrating renewable energy resources for the benefit of all customers is a top priority and these results highlight Hawaii's nation-leading commitment.

"A balanced portfolio of renewable resources is critical to our successful transition from imported oil. Energy conservation and storage, rooftop and grid solar, wind power, geothermal and demand response programs will all continue to help us reach that goal while providing value to our customers," Oshima said.

Electricity generated using renewable energy sources increased by 39,153 megawatt-hours in 2015. The total amount of electrical energy generated from customer-sited, grid-connected sources increased by an estimated 128,060 megawatt-hours, a 24.9 percent increase compared to the previous year.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are preparing updated power supply improvement plans for achieving Hawaii's future RPS goals of 30 percent by 2020, 40 percent by 2030, 70 percent by 2040 and 100 percent by 2045.