Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle and Alexander Karsner, U.S. Department of Energy, DOE, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.
The goal is to reduce the state's dependence on imported oil and help bring energy price stability to Hawaii consumers.
Hawaii gas prices are the highest in the nation. AAA and the Oil Price Information Service say the national average is $2.98 a gallon. In Hawaii, it's $3.50 a gallon, up 56 cents from a year ago.
Another goal of the initiative is to curb climate change. In 2007, Hawaii became the second state in the nation, after California, to establish a cap on greenhouse gas emissions.
'This innovative, unprecedented partnership builds on the progress the state has made to increase energy independence by decreasing Hawaii's reliance on imported oil,' said Governor Lingle, who previewed the historic agreement last week in her State of the State Address.
'Our islands' abundant natural sources of energy, combined with the considerable capabilities of the Department of Energy will help Hawaii lead America in utilizing clean, renewable energy technologies.'
'Through this unique initiative, DOE is pleased to commit its technical and policy expertise and capabilities to help demonstrate reliable, affordable and clean energy technologies in Hawaii,' Assistant Secretary Karsner said.
DOE will focus on working with public and private partners to design cost-effective approaches for 100 percent use of renewable energy on smaller islands.
Systems will be put in place to improve stability of electrical grids operating with variable generating sources, such as wind power plants on the Island of Hawaii and Maui.
Renewable energy, including solar, wind, energy storage and advanced vehicle technologies will be integrated into existing systems to meet the islands' energy needs.
At new large military housing developments, energy use will be minimized while energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies will be maximized.
Hawaii's capability to use locally grown crops as byproducts for producing fuel and electricity will be expanded.
And comprehensive energy regulatory and policy frameworks to promote clean energy technology use will be developed.
'With an abundance of natural resources and environmental treasures, Hawaii is the ideal location to showcase the broad benefits of renewable energy at work on an unprecedented scale,' said Karsner.
'Hawaii's success will serve as an integrated model and demonstration test bed for the United States and other island communities globally, many of which are just beginning the transition to a clean energy economy,' he said.
The partnership will provide technical assistance and technology program support for projects that draw on technologies developed through a range of DOE research and development programs.
The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative will also tap the expertise of other federal agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Defense, national research laboratories, and research and development entities, as well as the private sector.