From an energy perspective, Hawaii is unique. Located in the middle of the Pacific, the Aloha State runs on imported oil. But its island environment — from sunny days to active volcanoes — also holds the keys to a future powered by renewable energy.
Oil powers Hawaii’s cars, trucks, planes and boats, and generates 72 percent of the state’s electricity as well. Importing all that oil costs $4.5 billion each year. That’s $3,200 for every man, woman, and child — every cent of it leaving the state to pay for oil. And thanks to its dependence on oil, Hawaii has by far the highest electricity prices in the U.S., averaging 34 cents per kilowatt-hour — three times the U.S. average.
But this has also been a catalyst for change, and Hawaii’s energy picture is changing fast. Hawaii is a living laboratory for best practices in the integration of renewable energy into the smart grid of the future.
“We are seeing game-changing advances in technology and increasing customer demand for control over their energy usage,” said PUC Commissioner Lorraine Akiba. “It is transforming the electric industry here in Hawaii and all over the country.”