HONOLULU--During his 2012 State of the State address this morning, Hawai‘i Gov. Neil Abercrombie urged swift, aggressive action on clean energy policies that would reduce Hawaii's dependence on oil. Pointing to a pilot smart grid project on Maui, the Governor underscored the importance of grid modernization. He also talked about equalizing rates across the state, nodding to grid integration between the islands. Additionally, he announced a plan to establish an "explicit authority to develop, adopt and monitor electricity reliability and interconnection standards."
"The Governor recognizes that Hawaii's clean future is being throttled by an outdated, antiquated energy grid," said Blue Planet Foundation Executive Director Jeff Mikulina. "We need to make the necessary investments in modernizing our electricity infrastructure so we can put our abundant indigenous resources statewide to work." Blue Planet is encouraged that the Governor recognizes outdated infrastructure and shortcomings in reliability as bottlenecks to the adoption of renewable energy, and has assigned Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz to oversee these priorities. Blue Planet Foundation looks forward to working with Lt. Gov. Schatz—who was a clean energy advocate while serving in the state legislature—to shape and advance these critical proposals.
Blue Planet is concerned, however, that the Governor included natural gas—not currently part of Hawaii's electricity landscape—as an alternative for electricity production among local, clean, renewable sources of energy.
"Imported natural gas does not rank with indigenous photovoltaic, wind, geothermal, biofuel, and ocean resources as solutions fit to achieve Hawaii's energy security," Mikulina said. "Our state's energy mix must come from the abundant, local sources of clean, renewable power. We can not afford to deepen our reliance on imported, volatile fossil fuels."
"Governor Abercrombie has selected the right energy priorities for 2012 and has the right leadership at the Public Utilities Commission to execute the plan," Mikulina continued. "If we can align legislative leadership and community support with the Governor's clean energy vision, Hawai‘i can look forward to stable energy prices, a healthier local economy, and a clean energy future."