December 31st, 2015
What a year! As we get ready for the new year, we’re counting down the 2015 top ten of energy in Hawaii.
10. Solar Impulse lands in Hawaii
Flying through the night on nothing but solar power? That’s what the Solar Impulse plane did on its five-day voyage from Nagoya, Japan, to Oahu in July. It’s part of its attempt to fly around the globe using only the sun for energy. The plane represents the edge of what’s possible—and gives hope for a new era in clean transportation.
9. The PUC decision on the utility’s energy plans (PSIP)
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) sent Hawaiian Electric back to the drawing board to develop a long-term plan with more low-cost renewables, distributed energy storage, electric vehicles, and other components of our clean energy future. The PUC was unambiguous in directing the utility to embrace a modern, low-cost, low-carbon future.
8. WEfficiency sets Hawaii crowdfunding record
Blue Planet’s WEfficiency platform helped nonprofits reduce their energy bill through “loanations” (a hybrid between a donation and a loan) from clean energy supporters. The 2015 project for Kauai’s National Tropical Botanical Garden raised over $280,000—a crowdfunding record for Hawaii!
7. Federal renewable energy tax credit extended
This Congress got at least one thing right: Federal support for solar and wind energy will continue beyond 2016. Solar energy will continue to receive a 30% federal tax credit through 2019, while large wind will receive a decreasing credit down to 10% into the future.
6. Crazy weather: Climate change comes home
Despite the climate deniers, nature doesn’t negotiate. We had a taste of a changing climate this past summer as the Pacific became a caldron with record high temperatures, unprecedented downpour events, dying reefs, slackening trades, and an unheard-of 15 tropical cyclones close to home. Folks with long history in these islands know it—something feels different. The conversation about climate is changing.
5. Low-cost solar power at night
Dark solar is real! The Kauai Island Utility Co-op signed an agreement with SolarCity to purchase stored solar energy after the sun goes down. But here’s the best part: the 52 megawatt hour battery system will provide power cheaper than the historical cost of fossil fuel.
4. Gov. Ige’s determination that liquefied methane doesn’t fit with Hawaii’s clean energy future
Renewable yes, imported gas no. So said Gov. David Ige in August: “I have reached the conclusion that Hawaii does not need LNG in our future.” The Governor believes—as does Blue Planet—that our attention should be focused on building our 100% renewable energy system.
3. Proposed NextEra acquisition of Hawaiian Electric
Will NextEra take over? What are their plans? Can they achieve 100% renewable faster? What about solar power? … Have we ever had more discussion about the future of Hawaii’s largest utility than we have in the past year? If nothing else, the proposed acquisition has made the future of the utility front and center.
2. Paris Climate Agreement & Pope Francis’ Encyclical
First, Pope Francis, the leader of over one billion Catholics globally, came out with a rare and strongly worded statement urging bold action in addressing climate change. Then, for the first time in history, 196 countries unanimously agreed to limit their greenhouse gas emissions in theParis Climate Agreement. It’s an inflection point in the Earth’s response to climate change.
1. 100% Renewable Energy Law
Hawaii is boldly leading the way on clean energy. Act 97, signed in June, makes Hawaii the first state in the nation with a 100% renewable energy requirement. Blue Planet fueled the advocacy effort to make this game-changing law a reality. The policy is already impacting the conversation globally, as other states and nations seek to adopt their own commitments to zero fossil fuel.
There you have it! As you can see, 2015 has been a truly historic year. But all of this wouldn’t have been possible without you and your commitment to a future powered by 100% clean energy. We are very grateful for your continued support as we gear up for a productive and transformative 2016. Your tax-deductible gift today is an investment in a brighter future. Together, we can change the world.
Posted: December 31, 2015