October 14th, 2016
Blue Planet Foundation, a nonprofit committed to clearing the path for 100% clean energy, is pleased to announce the release of its 4th annual Energy Report Card (viewable online at hawaiienergyreportcard.com). Officially debuting on Friday, October 14th, the publication provides a snapshot of Hawaii’s progress toward 100% clean energy by providing a wide-angle view and evaluating five key categories: Transportation, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Smart Grid, and Economics. For each metric, the Report Card analyzes several factors to identify areas of success and opportunities for improvement.
“Our 100% renewable goal is the start, not the end,” said Melissa Miyashiro, Blue Planet Foundation’s Chief of Staff. “We must make smart choices today if we hope to achieve our 100% clean energy future. This report card is a reality check on our promise to the next generation.”
In the 2016 Report Card, Hawaii receives an overall grade of B-, the same grade as the previous year. While some categories saw gains, the data reflects stalled progress overall. The Report Card notes that solar power has overtaken wind as the state’s top renewable resource. Rooftops are leading the charge—they currently provide seven times more power than utility-scale solar projects. Despite this potential, the growth of rooftop solar has slowed. In 2015, Hawaii became the first state in the nation to close its net-energy metering program, and its replacement (“customer grid supply”) is now full. A “community solar” program that would allow renters, condo owners, and others to benefit from solar panels is still not yet available in Hawaii despite launching in several other places across the country.
Energy efficiency emerges as a bright spot, earning the highest grade of any category with an A-. Hawaii’s per capita consumption of energy has dropped, and efficiency continues to be the cheapest and easiest form of clean energy. The Report Card explains that because Hawaii’s daily energy peak has shifted to the evening (when we need the most clean energy), smart efficiency will be a valuable bridge to 100% renewable energy in Hawaii.
With a grade of D+, transportation remains an area for improvement. Transportation still accounts for almost two-thirds of Hawaii’s fossil fuel use, making sustainable mobility solutions an essential component of Hawaii’s clean energy future. The Report Card notes that ground transportation fuel sales are not falling, although vehicle efficiency is making slight gains. At 24 miles per gallon (mpg) on average, Hawaii is moving closer to meeting the state goal of 30 mpg efficiency by 2020.
“None of the grades reflect on a particular group or agency” said Richard Wallsgrove, Blue Planet Foundation’s Policy Director. “For example, transportation is an issue that impacts everyone. Solutions will come from broad changes in how all of us move around and how fast we enable and adopt clean mobility options.” Based on the data in the Report Card, Blue Planet Foundation believes it is time for lawmakers to set a 2045 target date for 100% clean transportation, matching the state’s existing 100% renewable electricity goal.
The Report Card highlights the critical role for electric vehicles going forward. Electric vehicles show up twice in the Report Card, as both a clean and efficient transportation option and as a way to help balance the supply of renewable energy on the electric grid. Ownership of efficient electric and hybrid passenger vehicles continues to grow faster than other types of vehicles. With high levels of electric vehicle adoption as part of Hawaii’s 100% renewable energy system, smart electric vehicle charging could lower energy costs by more than $200 million each year by making better use of the energy that’s produced.
Blue Planet Foundation develops the Energy Report Card annually using objective and publicly available data to track Hawaii’s progress toward a fossil-free future. In addition to helping guide the Foundation’s focus and initiatives, the Report Card is designed as a tool for decision leaders and the public. It aims to hold all stakeholders—the state, industry, utilities, Hawaii residents and businesses, and nonprofits like Blue Planet Foundation—accountable for our accomplishments and shortcomings as we work on the transformation to 100% clean energy. The Report Card will be shared broadly, with distribution to lawmakers, business leaders, auto dealers, and students.
The 2016 edition was generously supported by Tsuha Foundation, founded by former automotive electronics executive and Blue Planet board member Wallace Tsuha. “Blue Planet Foundation’s data-driven Report Card takes a detailed look at our path to clean energy,” said Tsuha. “This helps all of us evaluate our progress objectively, and decide on next steps with the well-being of local residents and our environment a high priority.”
The 2016 Energy Report Card is viewable online at hawaiienergyreportcard.com. For a hard copy, please contact [email protected]. Questions and comments can be addressed to [email protected].
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