Hawaii has been aggressively transitioning to clean energy and recently accepted its last shipment of coal. Afterward, the last coal plant on the island will be closed and multiple renewable energy projects go online.
In fact, it has a plan to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2045, which it is on track to meet.
For example, many think of California as the leader in solar energy. And while that is true when you look at it from the total energy generated, Hawaii’s capital, Honolulu, leads the nation in terms of solar capacity per person.
It’s also worth mentioning that there is no chance coal will ever make a comeback in Hawaii. In 2020, the state signed legislation that bans coal from expanding, thus making it a dead industry, which is exactly why the coal plant is closing.
The good news is that Hawaii is not the only state that is committed to clean energy.
What Other States Are Committed to Clean & Renewable Energy?
The list of states that are making commitments is growing and evolving beyond their borders.
For instance, both Washington DC and Purto Rico have laws in place that will force all energy to be renewable in the future.
After this, 15 states have either an order or a law in place that will see them get all of their energy from either clean or renewable sources. Now, this might sound confusing, but clean energy does not just include renewable energy.
For example, California’s goal is 100% clean energy by 2045. The actual details read that 60% will come from renewable sources (solar, wind, hydro), and the other 40% will come from sources that do not release carbon.
These include things like nuclear energy or natural gas that utilizes carbon capture technology. Also, more renewable energy could also apply to this category.
In comparison, Hawaii’s plan is for 100% renewable energy. That means the majority of the energy will come from solar and wind. It’s worth noting that Hydrogen energy can be considered renewable if the process is powered by renewable energy.
The Energy Sector Is Only One Part of the Equation
Truthfully, even if states were to follow through on these ambitious goals, they still wouldn’t be net-zero.
You see, these measures are just for the energy generation itself. This does not do anything to reduce emissions from transportation, agriculture, and other high emitting sectors. While it is certainly a step in the right direction, there’s a lot that needs to be done.
With that said, energy generation is either the first or second biggest emitter for each state. On a national average, it is number 2 (transportation is 1). It will have ripple effects in other industries. For example, if electricity costs fall, EVs make even more sense.
One thing that is guaranteed is that this is not going to be easy.
States have huge hurdles in front of them and making the necessary changes will take time. But climate change won’t be sitting idly by, so we need to hurry.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.