Analysis of the latest-available data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Electric Power Monthly shows Hawaii leading the 50 U.S. states in terms of total solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity as a percent of total capacity. And given the state’s recent legislative move detailed below, its increasing reliance on renewables is bound to increase.
In response to President Trump having signaled his intentions to withdraw from the Paris Accord, new legislation has been enacted by the state of Hawaii (SB 559) to expand strategies and mechanisms to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions statewide in alignment with the principles and goals adopted in the Paris Accord. Along with the Hawaii Senate bill, Hawaii Gov. David Ige also signed HB 1578 to reduce carbon emissions.
Hawaii Senate Bill 559 is the first of its kind for any state in the U.S. and may set the stage for other states, particularly those concerned about environmental and economic problems associated with global warming.
“Our island community leads the way when it comes to climate change impacts and policy,” said Gov. Ige, prior to signing the bill. “We are especially aware of the limits of our natural environment. We see the impacts of our actions very close to home."
The legislation in Hawaii “finds that not only is climate change real, but it is the overriding challenge of the 21st century…and poses immediate and long-term threats to the state's economy, sustainability, security and way of life.”
Specifically, the Hawaiian legislature stated its commitment to the Paris Agreement’s GHG-reduction goals, and “to record and communicate information through a transparency mechanism, and provide support to undeveloped countries through a finance mechanism.”
“Hawaii is proud to be a member of the U.S Climate Alliance. Hawaii is proud to be one of 20 states that is part of this newly-formed coalition.”
The governor also referenced extensive local support from numerous mayors and added, “regardless of federal action” that he and the legislature will continue to support the goals of the Paris Agreement, which had been ratified by 195 countries in December 2015.
The governor aptly characterized the wide scope of the effort well when he concluded by referencing it as “a cross-cutting issue that breaks silos and brings together.” In the legislation, the staffing requirements for Hawaii’s efforts span across numerous agencies and included involvement of personnel responsible for environmental protection and land use, natural resources, state and local planning, business and economic development, tourism, agriculture, transportation, health, defense and education. ♦