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Hawaii states ordered to raise level of renewables
1 July 2004
In an attempt to reduce its $3 billion annual cost of imported oil, the Hawaii Assembly is requiring the state's utilities to raise the proportion of renewable energy in their electricity supplies to 20% by 2020. But instead of introducing penalties on utilities for non compliance, the assembly says the Hawaii Public Utility Commission (PUC) must devise rewards for compliance. It also gives utilities plenty of room to defy the requirement if they can prove to the PUC that they cannot comply with the rules in a cost-effective manner. The legislation makes no provision for trade in green power credits to facilitate utilities in meeting the renewables target. About 7% of electricity produced in Hawaii comes from renewables, including 2 MW from wind. The new target ramps up to 8% by the end of 2005, 9% by end 2010, 15% by end 2015 and 20% by the end of 2020. Qualifying renewables are wind, solar, ocean thermal, wave, and biomass resources. Already in progress are projects by Renewable Hawaii Inc, which has released a 1 MW or larger hybrid wind project solicitation to be completed before 2009 on the island of Hawaii. It also released two solicitations last year, one for Oahu and the other for the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai. Proposals from those are under review. The new renewables legislation requires the PUC to study the feasibility of establishing a retail rate structure to encourage customers to go green.
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