The state expects the next energy study to answer cost and carbon questions for Hawaii

The Energy Office is examining whether liquefied natural gas would be a viable replacement for low-sulfur diesel.

Hawaii plans to unveil an updated state energy strategy next month that could include liquefied natural gas as a bridge fuel to its 100% renewable energy goal, officials say.

The Hawaii State Energy Office is putting the finishing touches on a study to be released in mid-July detailing how the state can reduce its high energy costs, decarbonize faster and seek access to capital. according to Mark Glick, state. energy officer.

He said his office expects “critical carbon cost and analytical findings” stemming in part from the recent Pathways to Decarbonization report that warned of the harmful effects of continuing to use low-sulfur fuel as the primary fuel for energy production.

“It’s clear, especially after the Maui fires, that the status quo is no longer acceptable,” Glick said.

Mark Glick is the head of the Hawaii State Energy Office. (Eric Pape/Civil Beat/2016)

Oahu still relies on low-sulfur diesel to generate 68% of the island’s electricity. So LNG and other sources are all on the table, he said.

Part of the motivation appears to come from the economic toll the state’s largest electric utility is facing from the Aug. 8 wildfires in Maui.

The fires, which resulted in the loss of at least 102 lives, created a huge liability risk for Hawaii Electric Co. from damage claims, Glick said. This has greatly limited the company’s access to capital as well as cost.

Increased financing costs for future HECO power generation projects, grid upgrades and mitigation plans are likely to be passed on to customers, driving up rates. Some projects may not be able to move forward, putting needed projects and the pace of Hawaii’s energy transition at risk, according to Glick.

This increases the need for a cheaper fuel source, perhaps LNG, to control customer rates.

At last month’s Hawaii Energy Conference in Maui, Gov. Josh Green surprised many in the audience by saying that LNG should be considered a “bridge fuel” as the state transitions to 100% renewable energy by 2045, as mandated by state law.

Henry Curtis, executive director of Life of the Land, said he is surprised that Gov. Josh Green is considering LNG as a bridge fuel source as Hawaii tries to accelerate its transition away from fossil fuels. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

Environmentalists described the remarks as troubling as LNG, made up mostly of methane, is considered a climate-destroying energy source, perhaps more polluting than coal. Opponents have described it as a “bridge to nowhere”.

“My first reaction was shock,” Henry Curtis, executive director of Life of the Land, said last week. “If you’re switching to renewables, you don’t try to import another fossil fuel.”

The Biden administration in January temporarily halted new LNG export projects while the Energy Department studies the impact of LNG in light of climate change, household energy costs and environmental justice factors, as LNG export facilities are often located in communities of color or low income.

Jeff Mikulina, executive director of Climate Hawaii, said he appreciates that the Green administration is considering all options to wean Hawaii off fossil fuels. But as for LNG, “it seems like a bit of deja vu,” he said last week.

Former Governor David Ige ruled out using LNG as an energy source in Hawaii because it would only prolong the state’s dependence on fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases when burned and contribute to the global climate crisis.

“We have to keep our eyes on the prize here, which is 100% renewable, reliable, low-cost energy. Switching from one imported fossil fuel to another imported fossil makes no sense,” said Mikulina.

HECO remains neutral on LNG. A spokesperson said the company supports the energy office’s work to build a comprehensive inventory of resources that can be part of the state’s energy portfolio.

#state #expects #energy #study #answer #cost #carbon #questions #Hawaii
Image Source :

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top