Thursday, September 03, 2015


The unexpected truth behind “Hawaii’s renewable portfolio standard shall be 100 percent on Dec. 31, 2045”

Yes, even though coal, oil and gas are not renewable, they will still be in use in Hawaii in 2045 even if Hawaii makes it to 100 percent.—Richard Borreca in Star-Advertiser

by Larry Geller

Too late for a spoiler alert. The pull-quote is how the plot ends. Sorry about that.

I wish Henry Curtis, ED of Life of the Land and the only person in Hawaii who truly understands these things, would explain this on his own blog.

I thought, as you might have also, that by 2045 Hawaii is supposed to be getting all of its energy from renewables. Like solar, wind, waves. But this is not so. Doesn’t 100% mean 100%? Yes but not in this case. Not the way the law was written.

Henry has kind of explained this in a couple of articles on his own blog, for example here, but his explanation to Star-Advertiser political columnist Richard Borreca was much simpler. Unfortunately, that explanation is paywalled and most people can’t read it. Since it is copyrighted material, I can’t quote more than a little bit of it, for educational purposes.

So I wish Henry would write something that I could link to. If he does, I’ll amend this article with the link.

This snip is a fraction of the explanation. If you have a copy of the paper, check out the editorial page in the 9/1 edition. It’s an easy, if shocking, read.

It all seems complex to the extreme, but the result, as Curtis explained, is that a renewable standard does not mean renewable energy.

“An RPS [Renewable Portfolio Standard] of 100 percent occurs when the kilowatt- hours of rooftop solar generated equals the kilowatt- hours of fossil fuel derived electricity sold by the utility.

“Ironically, the more rooftop solar produced, the higher the amounts of fossil fuel-derived electricity that can be sold by the utility,” Curtis said in an interview.

[Star-Advertiser, Sometimes in Hawaii we do math differently, 9/1/2015]

Why, oh why, do they have to write laws like that?


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