Kauai’s Renewable Energy Future
The Garden Island News of Kaua’i published the following on December 9, 2011.
The energy conference hosted by Kaua’i Economic Development Board this Tuesday made clear once again that Kaua’i can obtain the majority of its energy from sun, wind and water. The planned goal is to have 70% renewable energy production by 2030.
Kaua’i can do better than 70% renewable and do it much sooner for its electrical power. Goals of 50% renewable within five years (2017) and 90% renewable in eight years (2020) are readily achievable. There are great advantages in having shorter time horizons. People will save money sooner. Centralized solar voltaics and wind generated power are cheaper than the oil produced electrical power produced on Kaua’i which as everyone knows is by far the most costly in the nation. By having a more aggressive near term renewable goal, planning and installation of renewable energy must begin now, and not put off many years into the distant future. To meet either the 50 and 90% renewable goals, every year should have a sizable 10-12% annual target.
As a environmental scientist who has studied and lectured on climate change for many years, we have only a limited time, perhaps just a decade, to begin bringing our global warming greenhouse gases under control. The longer we delay environmental damage, such as to our sensitive coral reefs, will become irreversible. Because Kaua’i is blessed with abundant solar and wind resources, there is nothing stopping Kaua’i and the state from becoming the nation’s and world’s model for renewable energy. We can all recall that it was commitment to a powerful vision and persistent political will that got us to the moon in less than decade. We can do the same for renewable energy on Kauai.