Blue Planet Foundation’s fourth annual energy report card presents a big-picture assessment of Hawai‘i’s progress toward energy independence with 100 percent clean energy. By evaluating five key components—transportation, energy efficiency, renewables, smart grid, and economics—Blue Planet identifies bright spots and opportunities to improve. These grades reflect the state’s clean energy progress through the end of 2015.
In the 2016 Report Card, Hawai‘i receives an overall grade of B-, the same grade as the previous year. While some categories saw gains, the data reflects stalled progress overall. 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.
To view the Blue Planet 2016 Energy Report Card, click here.