Hawaiian Electric Companies hit new high in renewable energy use in 2012

The Hawaiian Electric Companies (Hawaiian Electric, Hawaiian Electric Light, and Maui Electric) reached a record 13.9 percent of electricity needs from renewable generation in 2012, according to a Hawaiian Electric news release–well on the way to passing Hawaii's next clean energy requirement of 15 percent in 2015, which is part of the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

Added rooftop and utility-scale solar photovoltaic facilities on all islands, more wind energy on Oahu and Maui, and increased geothermal energy production on Hawaii island all contributed to this progress, the release said.

The 13.9 percent achievement was an improvement over the 12 percent reported for 2011. The information is contained in the annual RPS report the companies recently filed with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

“Our communities’ strong progress in renewable energy is the result of the collective efforts of customers, energy suppliers and our companies,” said Scott Seu, vice president for energy resources and operations. “Increasing renewable energy helps our utilities meet our clean energy commitments and renewable energy legal mandates.

“Most importantly, we need to keep pressing for more renewable energy to stabilize and lower customer bills, enhance the security of our way of life in Hawaii and protect the environment of our islands and the world.”

Until 2015, the official renewable portfolio standard includes renewable energy and energy savings from efficiency and solar water-heating technologies. When these are included, the 2012 total reached 28.7 percent, up from 24.5 percent in 2011.

A separate public benefits fee administrator reporting directly to the Public Utilities Commission now administers energy conservation and efficiency programs. The Hawaiian Electric Companies collect the public benefits fee through customer bills and pass funds to the public benefits fee administrator, known as Hawaii Energy.

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Investor opinion: Colorado can lead in renewable energy, February 19, 2013
Kansas interfaith group says: Maintain state renewable standard, February 13, 2013
Wisconsin PSC: RPS has economic benefits, negligible rate impact, June 25, 2012
California PUC: Renewable energy procurement up in 2011, costs falling, February 8, 2012

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