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CLIMATE ACTION PROGRAMME

19 January 2017

Hawaiian bill proposes 100% renewable fuel target

The new bill – which was introduced to the State Legislature on Wednesday – sets the target of using 100 per cent renewable fuel for all forms of ground transportation by 2045.

The U.S. state is already aiming to source 100 per cent of its electricity from renewables by the same year.

Jeff Mikulina, Executive Director of the Blue Planet Foundation –one of the advocates of the bill – said: "The majority of our fossil fuel goes into transportation, and that's a challenge that we have to solve, and we currently don't have a vision for what that future looks like.”

With roughly one million cars on the roads and hundreds of auto dealerships, it is currently unclear how a renewable fuels policy will be enforced.

However, if the bill is passed, Hawaii would be the first U.S. state to pursue such an ambitious target for the transportation sector.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in 2015 Hawaii ranked second in the nation with 2.94 electric vehicles for every 1,000 residences, only narrowly behind California.

Mikulina said: "It's easier to manage more renewable energy when we have electric vehicles on the grid that can suck up that excess and hopefully in the future put some energy back on the grid".

Auto dealers in Hawaii largely support the transition to renewable energy, but believe it will take time to convince the public to invest in electric vehicles.

The state’s Department of Transportation has recently created a new position to explore renewable fuels and is planning to increase the number of electric charging stations – at present there is only one station per 100 spaces – in the state capital, Honolulu.

Regardless of the outcome of the bill, reducing the transportation sector’s dependence on fossil fuels will be crucial to the state achieving its renewable energy targets. 

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