The Potential of Renewable Energy to Reduce the Dependence of the State of Hawaii on Oil

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

3 Scopus Citations


Deriving nearly 90% of its primary energy resources from oil, the State of Hawaii is more dependent on oil than any other U.S. state. The price of electricity in Hawaii is also more than twice the U.S. average. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 directed assessment of the economic implications of Hawaii's oil dependence and the feasibility of using renewable energy to help meet the state's electrical generation and transportation fuel use. This paper is based on the assessments and report prepared in response to that directive. Current total installed electrical capacity for the State of Hawaii is 2,414 MW e, 83% of which is fuel-oil generated, but already including about 170 MW e of renewable capacity. The assessments identified about 2,133 MW e (plus another estimated 2,000 MW e of rooftop PV systems) of potential new renewable energy capacity. Most notable, in addition to the rooftop solar potential, is 750 MW e and 140 MW e of geothermal potential on Hawaii and Maui, respectively, 840 MW e of potential wind capacity, primarily on Lanai and Molokai, and one potential 285 MW e capacity specific solar project (PV or solar thermal) identified on Kauai. Important social, political, and electrical-grid infrastructure challenges would need to be overcome to realize this potential. Among multiple crop and acreage scenarios, biofuels assessment found 360,000 acres in Hawaii zoned for agriculture and appropriate for sugarcane, enough to produce 429 million gallons of ethanol-enough to meet about 64% of current 2005 Hawaiian gasoline use. Tropical oil seed crops-potentially grown on the same land-might meet a substantial portion of current diesel use, but there has been little experience growing such crops in Hawaii.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2009
Event42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences -
Duration: 5 Jan 20098 Jan 2009


Conference42nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-6A2-45573


  • Hawaii
  • Renewable
  • Renewable electrical generation
  • Renewable energy


Dive into the research topics of 'The Potential of Renewable Energy to Reduce the Dependence of the State of Hawaii on Oil'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this