Hawaii, a state known for its abundant sunshine and picturesque beaches, is taking another significant step towards a greener future with the adoption of renewable energy.

Hawaiian Electric, the state’s largest electric utility, has announced plans to transform an 85-year-old oil-fired power plant into a renewable energy facility, contributing to the goal of having renewable energy in Hawaii.

The Waiau Power Plant, located in Pearl City outside Honolulu, currently relies on six oil-fueled generators to produce electricity.

Under the new proposal, these generators will be replaced with smaller units powered by fuels like biodiesel and possibly hydrogen, making it a more sustainable and environmentally friendly facility.

This move is part of Hawaii’s commitment to promoting renewable energy adoption.

In 2014, the state became the first in the US to require electric utilities to generate 100% of their power from renewable sources by 2045.

a power plant

Hawaiian Electric has made significant progress towards that goal, with 32% of its energy generated from renewable sources as of last year.

The Waiau Power Plant is the second-largest power production facility on Oahu, with a capacity of 500 megawatts, only surpassed by Hawaiian Electric’s oil-fired Kahe Power Plant in Waianae, which has a capacity of 650 megawatts.

The interesting part about this plan is the conversion of the Waiau Power Plant into a renewable energy facility will not only reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels but also limit the negative impact on the surrounding community and provide cost savings.

The plan is currently awaiting approval from the state Public Utilities Commission, which is also considering competing proposals by independent power companies.

If the proposal is approved, Hawaiian Electric expects to have the initial replacement generation units ready for use in 2029.

The company has declined to comment on the cost or size of the new plant, citing the competitive bidding process.

The transformation of the Waiau Power Plant into a renewable energy facility is a crucial step towards achieving the goal of having renewable energy in Hawaii.

By powering the facility with fuels like biodiesel and hydrogen, Hawaiian Electric is making a significant contribution to the state’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

With other fossil fuel facilities in Hawaii also undergoing transformation, the state is well on its way to a sustainable future, demonstrating a strong commitment to clean energy.


Featured image credit: Cory Lum / Civil Beat