Jul 26 2012

Ending Hawaii’s Oil Addiction

Published by under Student blog entries

Some of the world’s leaders in energy include Denmark, where 50% of generated energy in the country comes from wind power, and Iceland, which uses almost 100% geothermal energy; even Germany has broken a recent record in the amount of generated solar energy. However, Hawaii may be joining the ranks of renewable energy. Although currently it is the most oil-addicted state in America, U.S. Pacific Command is partnering with Hawaii to launch the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. This plan was initially developed in 2008, with the goal of reducing fossil fuel usage by 70% before 2030 (Halperin, 2012).

abc hawaii 120714 wblog Changing Cities: Ending Hawaiis Oil Addiction

Photo Credit to Carrie Halperin/ABC News

Because Pacific Command provides Hawaii so much energy, up to 20%, they definitely needed to be on board to put the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative in progress. Hawaii will become grounds for the military to test out the latest and greatest in renewable energy technology, such as algae-based plane fuel, hydrogen fuel cell technology, and grids that can resist hacking. On July 18th, the Navy tested aircraftt with alternative fuels, using fuels like nuclear and biofuel blends. The blends consist of biofuel (cooking oil and algae) and petroleum-based diesel (Halperin, 2012).

These new types of fuels are meeting opposition. Certain politicians claim that these new biofuels will be expensive, worrying that they will not be economically feasible. The Department of Defense’s budget on fuel was $15 billion, but there was a jump of $3 billion because of the rise in fuel prices. The military’s test of the aircraft on July 18th alone cost $12 million for 450,000 gallons of the alternative biofuel, which came down to $26 per gallon of fuel. Currently, there is an effort to begin a project in Hawaii to install an underwater cable to connect renewable energies to the islands. This effort is partly due to the attempt to reduce dependency on foreign oil. The governor of Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie, approved the law for the underwater sea cable. It includes a plan to create a network of cables connecting wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, and other forms of renewable energy. The effort will not be cheap, though. While Hawaii currently spends $5 billion a year on imported oil, the cable network project will add up to almost $16 billion. The goal is to reduce Hawaii’s oil usage by 70%. The effort of changing direction of energy sources is jumpstarting Hawaii’s economy, as well. About 20% of all construction jobs were created from solar photovoltaic installations. Solar hot water heating is required in all new homes built. All of the resources for renewable energy are present in Hawaii, and perhaps one day they will be able to rely solely on renewables (Halperin, 2012).

References:

Halperin, C. (2012, July 16).  Changing Cities: Ending Hawaii’s Oil Addiction. Message posted to http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/07/changing-cities-ending-hawaiis-oil-addiction/

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