Already saddled with the nation’s highest electricity prices, residents of Hawaii may be facing even higher costs as the state’s utilities scramble to meet the statutory goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045


#1

Already saddled with the nation’s highest electricity prices, residents of Hawaii may be facing even higher costs as the state’s utilities scramble to meet a statutory goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

In 2015, Hawaii became the first state to approve legislation setting a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by a date certain. Hawaii is instituting its renewable energy requirement in phases: 30 percent by 2020, 40 percent by 2030, and progressing to 100 percent by 2045, ending all fossil fuel use on that date.

Hawaii is one of 29 states and the District of Columbia that have adopted a “renewable portfolio standard” (RPS) mandating a rising market share of the electric power provided by the state’s utilities come from renewable sources. Hawaii’s RPS is by far the most ambitious, even surpassing those of California and New York, both of which have mandated 50 percent of their electric power come from renewable sources by 2030.

The challenge for utilities in complying with renewable power mandates is procuring or producing enough power to meet demand at an affordable price while maintaining the reliability of the electric grid. After three years of trying and multiple submissions, on July 14 Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) accepted the plan of Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO), the state’s largest utility, to meet the renewable portfolio mandate. HECO’s plan is known as the Power Supply Improvement Plan (PSIP).

Phasing Out Faster Than Expected

Under PSIP, HECO says it will reach the state’s all-renewable goal by 2040, five years ahead of schedule. While accepting HECO’s plan, PUC noted several areas of concern, including the technical feasibility of integrating grid technologies, the advisability of moving the all-renewable goal to 2040, and the scheme’s effect on ratepayers.

“The commission commends the Companies’ commitment to achieving the RFS ahead of schedule,” the PUC regulators wrote when approving the plan. “Nevertheless, the commission has some concerns regarding the technical feasibility and the economics of the long-term resource plan for each island.”

HECO says wider adoption of energy storage and other emerging grid technologies will smooth the way for more renewable energy to enter the system. The utility is also counting on continued growth of private rooftop solar installations, which it projects will increase from the current level of 79,000 buildings to 165,000 by 2030.

In addition to the technical problems, PUC and Hawaii’s business community have raised questions about how much the renewable mandate will raise electricity prices. HECO has acknowledged rates could rise by more than 44 percent when PSIP is fully implemented.

High Prices, Going Higher

James Taylor, president of the Spark of Freedom Foundation, says Hawaii should serve as a warning to other states considering imposing aggressive renewable energy mandates.

“Hawaii is challenged by a unique geographical location, currently requiring the import of petroleum to power most of its electricity,” Taylor said. “As a result, Hawaii’s electricity prices are already more than double the national average.

“Other states should take notice,” said Taylor. “Even with such high prices, and even though Hawaii is blessed with a southern latitude, ample sunshine, and abundant breezes, wind and solar power are still more expensive than Hawaii’s current petroleum-fired electricity, which is why wind and solar advocates needed to pass laws to force Hawaiians to generate power from wind and solar.”

Even Greater Disparities Elsewhere

Hawaii’s experience shows renewable power sources still can’t compete with conventional sources of electric power on the basis of cost, says Taylor.

“Other states would be replacing more-affordable conventional energy than is available to Hawaii, and doing so under less favorable wind and solar power conditions, making the economic burden on ratepayers even greater than those about to be encountered by Hawaiians,” Taylor said.

Chuck Daniel, president of the Caesar Rodney Institute, says Hawaii’s renewable energy plan cannot work as designed.

“Hawaii is about to perform an experiment in renewable energy that is bound to fail,” said Daniel. “Middle- and lower-income people will bear a disproportionate share of the higher energy costs from the renewable mandate, taking the bullet in the name of combatting climate change.”

https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/hawaii-braces-for-high-costs-of-renewable-energy-mandates


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#2

So what comes next for Hawaii? Will the state government start cutting checks to low-income workers to pay for gas and electricity? I know my utility company already has a program that pays the majority of the electricity bill low-income people. The customers who pay the full price subsidize that expense through higher rates.


#3

And there you have it.

Another feel good program where some will subsidize others.


#4

They will be the next bankrupt US state. While they are doing this they are also pushing to have UBI.


#5

“Green tech” is not as green as people think they are. I will list some brief reasons, but the main point is, manufacturers (read China) produce a lot of pollution to mine, refine and process some of these materials to make these still-low-efficient devices, which come with a high price tag and even higher dollar/unit energy they produce, due to inefficiencies.

-Solar panels / cells: besides other metals used, notable elements included in a typical solar cell is Cadmium, Lead, Germanium, Arsenic, Indium, Gallium, Tellurium etc. Most of these are quite toxic, and this is not to mention to corrosive acids used in refining Silicon into the purest and chemically ideal form to increase efficiency (by preventing recombination at defects).

Also, most consumer solar panels can be as efficient as 20% max, for it to be cost effective for manufacturers / seller. The current max hovers around 50%, but those are reserved for sataleites / space missions since they require more exotic materials and more elaborate processes. Also, the efficiency of consumer solar panel only goes down with time bc of the reluctant damages from heat, dirt, birds’ waste etc, and they require regular maintenance by professionals.

/

-Wind turbine: Same theme here, lots of rare earth metals (most notably neodymium and dysprosium) are being mined for these, to make giant super magnets. The criticality of such materials (such as high cost, low accessibility, geopolitical implications) can ready hinder the functioning of such technology while increasing price. Youre also competing with the pharmaceutical and entertainments industries for these rare earth metals, for end products such as the MRI machines, headphones / audio equipment etc… while these turbine require a lot of these materials, again make giant magnets.

-Electric Cars: The online “bad” part about the electric cars is the battery, which is at the moment the lithium-ion varieties used in your cellphones, laptops, and everything else under the sun that runs on rechargeable batteries. Not only that these are highly explosive when punctured and deformed (i.e. from impact with another car or roadside objects), but the price of it will continue to rise bc of its aforementioned omnipresence. And it doesnt help with the pharmaceutical companies dipping into lithium mines as well to synthesize their anti depressants. The explosion alone out me off getting one even if I can afford it.

Also, the electricity used to power the car has to come from somewhere i.e. another coal-power plant maybe.

The bottom line is, current green tech is just a little magic trick that panders to the feelings (not so easy on your wallet however), by displacing the negative environmental impacts somewhere else, namely China and other countries where mining and processing these materials take place. They are still in their early stages and the 100% implementation pushed by the state of Hawaii will be disastrous, not only for the regular consumers there but for the environments elsewhere as well.

But oh well, as long as you feel good about it right? Ignorance is bliss. Willful ignorance is a crime on one’s own conscience, however.


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#6

But it’s green energy.

Tesla uses no gasoline or petrol products.

We’ll pretend that it charges from only wind or solar power. LOL.