Hawaiian Electric marks Earth Day with Sustainability Report

Next four years will see more renewables, less oil use, emissions

Release Date: 4/19/2019

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HONOLULU, April 19, 2019 – To mark Earth Day, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are releasing their 12th annual Sustainability Report for 2018-19, describing efforts to address climate change, enhance community resilience and sustainability, and move Hawaii closer to 100 percent clean energy by 2045, or sooner.

The companies’ renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in 2018 was 27 percent, up from 9 percent a decade ago. Had the Puna Geothermal Venture plant on Hawaii Island remained online throughout the year, the companies’ RPS for 2018 would have reached 29 percent.

According to a new public opinion survey, residents are seeing progress. Pacific Resource Partnership asked 942 registered voters about issues affecting the state in February 2019 and found, “Residents give high marks to Hawaii’s progress on renewable energy.” Out of 11 social or policy issues raised, it was the only one where respondents said they saw improvement.

The next four years, 2019 through 2022, are expected to bring even more significant movement in the transition from fossil fuels to renewables and the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Highlights include:

  • Grid-scale solar, now about 150 megawatts (MW) across the five islands served by the companies, is expected to nearly quadruple through 2022. Private rooftop solar will remain the largest renewable resource, with growth of about 25 percent by 2022. Energy storage, key to optimum use of variable resources like solar and wind, will continue to grow rapidly, with more than 1 gigawatt coming online in the next several years.

    These resources and others will ensure the Hawaiian Electric Companies exceed the required RPS of 30 percent in 2020 and are close to 70 percent by 2030.
  • Renewable generation, storage and incentives for customers to shrink or shift electricity use will reduce the amount of oil imported to generate electricity. Since 2008, the companies have reduced their consumption by 88 million gallons a year and through 2022 consumption is forecast to fall another 134 million gallons.
  • Carbon-dioxide emissions are forecast to decrease by 1.6 million tons in 2022. Burning coal for electricity generation will cease in 2022 with the end of the contract between Hawaiian Electric and AES Hawaii, the state’s only coal-fired plant.

In 2018, the nationally recognized Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) named Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light the 2018 Investor-Owned Utilities of the Year and Maui Electric was a finalist for the Visionary of the Year award.

These awards capture some of the progress detailed in the 24-page report Sustainability Report, which is available online at www.hawaiielectriclight.com/sustainability.

Among other highlights:

    • 2018 RPS levels were:
      • Hawaii Electric Light, at 44 percent, down from 57 percent in 2017. It would have reached 64 percent if PGV was online for the full year
      • Maui Electric, 38 percent, up from 34 percent in 2017
      • Hawaiian Electric, 22 percent, up from 21 percent in 2017

Typically on sunny, windy days, well over half the electricity that customers use comes from renewables. The peak on Maui was 80 percent on April 14, 2018. It was 79 percent on Hawaii Island on April 14, 2018 and 58 percent on Oahu on May 19, 2018.

  • In addition, privately-owned, customer-sited rooftop solar continued to grow in 2018 with nearly 4,000 new systems, increasing the percentage of residential customers with solar from 17 percent in 2017 to 18 percent in 2018. That is more than twice second-place Connecticut with 6.8 percent and third-place California with 5.9 percent.

The Sustainability Report also explains the companies' vision beyond electricity and getting off fossil fuels. It includes using technology and ingenuity to build smart, sustainable, resilient communities. The report also details the companies’ volunteer work and corporate and individual contributions, including 3,800 pounds of food and nearly 950 units of blood.