Hawaiian lawmakers recently voted overwhelmingly to pass the first 100% renewable energy requirement in the country’s history. Under House Bill 623, the islands will now be working towards the goal of ensuring that 100% of the electricity generated will be channeled from renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal power. According to Kevin Woodbridge, this renewable energy policy is expected to be achieved by the year 2045.
This legislation makes Hawaii the first state to aspire towards such a lofty goal, and is expected to make it a role model for other states, and nations across the world. The state has already heavily invested in renewable energy options, which are already a cheaper option for residents and businesses than imported liquid natural gas and oil. Just as with other islands around the world, Hawaii is dependent on imports of fuel, which tend to come at a premium. Kevin Woodbridge notes that worries about the climate changing effects of fossil fuels may have been an additional driving force in pushing the policy through both the House and Senate.
Hawaii is famous for amongst other things, its warm weather, beautiful beaches, lush landscape and beckoning blue waters. This idyllic island environment is especially vulnerable to climate change, hence the desire to better control factors that may cause negative impact. Environmental experts like Kevin Woodbridge believe that placing an emphasis on clean, local and sustainable renewable energy sources is a step in the right direction.
This initiative now gives Hawaii about 30 years to achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy, from the current level of 22%. Many experts however believe that the goal can be attained even sooner, given the existing levels of renewable energy production and storage technology. Kevin Woodbridge also points to the inspiration of other nations that have already achieved this 100% goal, such as Iceland and Paraguay. Others that are almost about to achieve this goal include Germany and Norway who are at 74% and 98% respectively.
Kevin Woodbridge also acknowledges the continued investment by technology firms in developing improved and more affordable renewable energy inputs. Some companies of note include Samsung and Tesla who are investing heavily in the development of better renewable energy storage systems that will help provide more reliable power supply to homes and businesses.
Firms such as SunPower are also gaining popularity amongst investors thanks to such initiatives as their solar powered boats. According to Kevin Woodbridge, water pollution has become a problem in many parts of the world, including Hawaii, as the use of fossil fuels to power boats affects both water quality and marine life. In recent years, hundreds of thousands of solar powered outboard boats have been sold in the U.S. alone and are expected to become a commonplace sight in marine circles.
SunPower is also accredited as the provider of solar cells for Ford’s recently introduced concept car, the C-Max Solar Energi. While electric vehicles do control a much larger portion of the market when it comes to renewable energy powered cars, solar options may soon become more widely available. This is thanks to technologies that are allowing for better harnessing of solar power and better storage batteries.
Kevin Woodbridge estimates that making the move towards renewable energy sources will not only be a boon to Hawaii’s efforts to conserve the environment, but will also likely lead to more employment opportunities. Besides the job opportunities that are arising in the research and development of renewable energy sector, Kevin Woodbridge observes that there is also now increasing demand for installers of these inputs. Clean energy jobs are becoming progressively more available. This is especially so in the solar energy sector, which has seen new employment figures more than double since the Solar Foundation begun tracking the numbers in 2010.