Hawaii’s Renewable Energy Future

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“By 2020, Hawaii is aiming to generate 20 percent of its energy from non-fossil fuels” (Brown et al. 2008, 11). According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Arent et al. 2009, 1-2), petroleum accounts for 90% of Hawaii’s energy consumption and 75% of their electricity. Since Hawaii has no pipelines or oil fields, they are forced to import petroleum to accommodate their energy needs (Arent et al. 2009, 1). Hawaii is disconnected from the rest of the United States, which means that Hawaii has to take care of its own energy needs (Croucher 2010, 79).How can alternative energy sources reduce the need to import of petroleum?

Hawaii’s geography is optimal to make use of biofuel, solar, and geothermal resources (Brown et al. 2008, 27). The focus of this paper will concentrate on three alternative energy solutions: 1. Biofuels, 2. Solar Power, and 3. Geothermal. Biofuels will be broken down into biomass, ethanol and biodiesel. Solar energy will be divided into solar power plants, residential solar and passive solar systems. Geothermal energy is constituted of geothermal power plants, geothermal water heating and heat pumps.

How biofuels could reduce Hawaii’s dependence on petroleum?

When speaking about biofuels Koh and Ghazoul (2008, 2452) stated: “In its simplest analysis, biofuels are considered to be carbon neutral because all CO2 released during biofuel combustion is offset by carbon fixation during plant growth”. Hawaii is perfect for biofuels because according to Tran et al. (2011, 1757), “The Hawaiian Islands have varying agro-climatic regions with a year-round growing season, and relatively large arable lands.” This allows for a variety of fuel crops to be grown in Hawaii. Banagrass, Sugarcane, Eucalyptus, Leuca...

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