WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 1, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — (Pacific Business News) Hawaii can cost-effectively achieve and even exceed its 30 percent renewable-energy goal by 2020, according to a new study by the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii Manoa and GE Energy Consulting.
The study, which was released by the institute on Monday, identifies various scenarios that would enable Oahu and Maui to surpass the state’s 2020 renewable-energy targets while lowering power costs.
It also evaluates various mixes of renewable-energy sources, primarily wind and solar, different island-interconnection strategies, and changes to utility operations to find cost-effective ways to meet the state’s renewable portfolio targets.
Hawaii recently became the first state in the nation to establish a mandate for transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy — in its case by 2045.
John Cole, a former commissioner for the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, who headed up the study for the institute, said the challenge in achieving that goal has more to do with how to reliably store and distribute the electricity than with how it is generated.
“The current grid isn’t flexible enough to respond to rapid changes in energy supply or demand, and energy storage is not yet cost-effective,” he said in a statement. “Intermittent sources like wind and solar are often ‘curtailed’ or purposely restricted, which is a waste of good energy.”
The study also found that the use of natural gas as a transition fuel could substantially lower the cost of electricity, depending on cost projections for liquefied natural gas and oil.
The study also noted that the increased use of energy efficiency, demand response and storage will be needed to maintain grid reliability with fewer thermal generators on the system.
Interisland transmission can facilitate more efficient use of resources, contribute to increased grid reliability, and enable increased renewable penetration by providing expanded siting options, the study found.
Funding for the study was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy and the state.
http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/news/2015/06/30/hawaii-can-achieve-30-renewable-energy-and-reduce.html Hawaii can achieve 30% renewable energy and reduce costs by 2020, study says 6/30/15 Duane Shimogawa