Currently Hawaii gets about 90% of its energy from imported oil. Last year, Assistant Secretary Alexander Karsner and Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the state government and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The agreement produced the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.
The Initiative is intended to convert Hawaii’s energy sources into a predominately renewable energy supply, and move the state away from its reliance on fossil fuels. MOU will propel Hawaii will to become a model for renewable energy technologies such as solar, oceanic, geothermal, and wind. The state intends to initiate policies that can be a leader for other states throughout the U.S.
Kauai, Hawaii, has long been shaped and defended by environmentally-minded residents. It is known for the way its citizens have fought to contain overbuilding and exploitation through the years. Their efforts have helped to retain the “Garden Island’s” pristine and pastoral character.
An example of this sort of enlightened, forward-thinking ethic is a car dealership on the island, King Auto Center. The company stepped up to the plate in the most concrete way by purchasing a $200,000 solar array-- a system that consists of 156 panels that can each generate 160 watts of power in full sun.
The owner, Charlie King, who also own's a Hawaii Nissan Dealer, was quoted as saying, “We want to do our part to support forms of clean, alternative energy. With our high electric rates, this kind of investment pays for itself in a relatively short amount of time."
State and federal tax incentives help increase the return on alternative energy systems, and this system may pay for itself in as little as five years, according to Doug Bath, vice president of ProVision Technologies. Bath’s company designed the system and provided the main components.
Kaua'i does have very high power rates that make the investment a little easier. But even at that, it takes decisive and visionary leadership to make such a considerable investment.
The Kaua'i Island Utility Co-op approved a hookup with the island's power grid. Since the dealership uses more power than the array will generate, the system will largely reduce the firm's demands on the electric utility—not to mention the reduction in CO2 emissions that will result.
If the system generates more power than it uses the co-op will buy the excess power.
Bath has noted that residential photovoltaic systems receive more limited tax incentives and do not pay for themselves as quickly.
In another example of efforts to move to home-grown sources of energy, Oren Rubin says you can help get America off oil imports by going to Long John Silver's more often.
He says the deep fat fryers and waste oil containers of America house a large, untapped source of transportation fuel. Rubin is business development general manager for a biodiesel company based in Sausalito, Calif, called BiOil. He claims that billions of gallons of animal fat and waste vegetable oil that can be converted into domestically produced, cleaner-burning biodiesel.
With assistance from biodiesel producer Pacific Biodiesel, based in Kahului, Hawaii, Ruben wants to collect a substantial portion of the 3.9 billion gallons of waste vegetable oil produced at fast-food eateries, refine it and then sell it to trucking companies and drivers.
BiOil is trying to raise $97 million. The sum is an unusually enormous sum for a start-up. The company needs it to build 30 processing plants. BiOil hopes to raise the money to build 30 processing plants.