December 28th, 2015
In 2015, Blue Planet Foundation worked with a market research expert to survey over 600 residents from across the state to gauge their attitudes toward energy issues and level of knowledge and interest in clean energy. The results show strong support for the state’s newly minted 100% renewable energy goal and increased availability and integration of clean energy.
Over half (57%) of residents surveyed “definitely” support a significant undertaking to make Hawaii 100% energy independent by 2040. This is up from 47% from a similar survey conducted by Blue Planet in 2010. The highest level of support for the 100% goal came from residents on Oahu, followed by Kauai.
The survey showed that Hawaii residents are concerned about the changing climate. Of those familiar with the term, a majority (81%) are either “very” or “fairly” concerned about climate change.
“These survey results confirm that the conversation about energy in Hawaii is changing,” noted Jeff Mikulina, Executive Director of Blue Planet Foundation. “Hawaii residents from all counties told us that 100% clean energy is the future for our state and that where our energy comes from matters.”
Only 5% of Hawaii residents think we should use the cheapest energy, no matter where it comes from. A vast majority of 95% said price should either be balanced with other factors like protecting the environment and securing local energy (49%) or that price is less important than other factors (46%).
Statewide, Hawaii residents voiced strong support for various sources of renewable energy: 86% strongly support solar, followed by wind (63%), ocean energy (62%), geothermal (48%), hydroelectricity (48%), biofuels (31%), and biomass (24%). Overall, Big Island residents voiced the most support for all these sources of renewable energy.
Respondents also expressed interest in forward-thinking pricing models that could help utilities with peak shaving. When asked about dynamic pricing, most (62%) responded that they would consider paying more for electricity during peak usage hours if they could lower their prices during non-peak usage hours.
The survey also showed a growing interest in electric vehicles (EVs). About one out of three Hawaii residents said that they were thinking of buying an EV. Of the prospective EV owners, 53% had not yet purchased one because of perceptions about price, while 35% were concerned about access to charging infrastructure. Maui residents expressed the highest level of interest—36% of Maui residents are thinking of purchasing an EV.
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