Renewable energy use increases
Hawaii's use of renewable energy rose by 9.8 percent last year, putting the state on track to become more energy efficient as local residents pay among the highest energy costs in the nation, according to a new report.
The latest statistics, released yesterday by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, show that the state's primary energy consumption in 2006 dropped 1.8 percent compared to 2005, while petroleum use fell 2.7 percent during the period.
Meanwhile, municipal solid waste energy and hydropower production rose about 12 percent and 13 percent, respectively, while wind power jumped 1,123 percent due to new facilities by Kaheawa Wind Power on Maui and Hawi Renewable Development on the Big Island.
Biodiesel refineries also are being developed on Kauai, Maui and Oahu, and Hawaiian Electric Co. Inc. plans to build a separate biodiesel power plant at Campbell Industrial Park.
Hawaii's energy savings in buildings ranked it fifth in the nation for total energy cost savings at more than $22 million annually.
However, nearly 77 percent of the state's electricity and nearly all of its transportation fuel is dependent on petroleum, which is mostly imported from foreign countries. Other challenges include the island's electrical grids, which are not interconnected.
More than $12.5 million in state and federal funds have gone to support mainly electric power and renewable energy programs.