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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 28, 2010

Isles' energy plans on track, state says

Associated Press

Two years into Hawai'i's project of increasing the amount of power it gets from renewable sources, state leaders say the Islands are on track.

The goal is for Hawai'i, the nation's most dependent state on foreign oil, to get 40 percent of its electric power from renewables by 2030. The state so far only gets about 9 percent of its power from such sources.

A state law passed last year calls for at least 10 percent of electricity sales to come from renewables by the end of this year, and 15 percent by 2015.

"We have a long way to go, but we've accelerated our pace," said Robbie Alm, executive vice president for Hawaiian Electric Co. "Most of this in the end has to take place in the private sector."

The achievements of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative were highlighted at the governor's mansion yesterday during a ceremony marking the two-year anniversary of a deal between the federal government and the state.

Since that deal, an undersea cable linking rural island wind farms to Honolulu has been planned. State regulators are weighing how much to pay businesses and individuals who contribute power to the electrical grid, and Hawai'i now leads the nation in solar water heating.

More wind, solar and geothermal power is expected to start up over the next 18 months, Alm said.