While some believe that Hawaii’s energy future needs a clearer path, the Public Utilities Commission and the Hawaiian Electric Cos. are making their goals known to all. They plan to lower electric bills by 20 percent by 2030, and just about triple the amount of rooftop solar for their energy use in the same period. If they hit their goals, Hawaii will have the highest renewable energy in the nation, and prospective Maui home buyers who balk at energy costs will have a whole lot less to worry about.
Hawaiian Electric Cos. (HECO) consist of Hawaiian Electric Co., Maui Electric Co. and Hawaiian Electric Light Co., and they are instituting a planning process that will tell both customers and solar companies how much more solar energy can be integrated each year. That clarity will make a big difference for the solar energy industry, helping them avoid overselling or underselling new systems. HECO will also be working on grid enhancements that will accommodate more solar energy, and they will also be updating solar equipment settings for improved safety and a lower risk of power outages.
Because the output of renewable energy sources tends to fluctuate with weather conditions, HECO is expanding their storage systems. Improvements in this arena will help them provide renewable energy more reliably. Smart grids also play an integral role in their plans for the future, and will help customers control and monitor their energy use.
Those are the main points of their plan, but they are also instituting community solar programs, microgrid projects and demand-response programs to provide their customers with financial incentives to manage energy flow, and to take advantage of renewable energy options. The future for non-renewables will involve a transition toward liquefied natural gas, which is cleaner and cheaper than oil. Most of the oil-fired generating units will be deactivated by 2030, and will be replaced by LNG-fueled generators.
As a reference point, Hawaii is already running on 18 percent renewable energy, which is beyond the goal of 15 percent by 2015. If our current progress is any indication, the state will probably hit its 2030 targets ahead of time. That should be reassuring if you’re considering a Maui real estate purchase and you’re concerned about energy costs. If you need assistance with your Maui real estate purchase, you’ll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!
mauiluxuryrealestateteam.com – By Robert J. Cartwright, Principal Broker