by Courtney Murtagh, UMTC Intern
In December 2017 Hawaii’s four Mayors committed to 100% renewable public and private transportation by 2045. Meaning all of Hawaii’s cars, busses, trucks and trains will use renewable energy as fuel.
The four mayors – Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, Kauai County Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe, representing Mayor Harry Kim – signed their respective proclamations, solidifying Hawaii’s status as a nation leader in renewable energy.
Hawaii has always been on the forefront of sustainability and in many ways is leading the nation. In 2015, Hawaii’s Governor David Ige signed into law a bill to reach 100% renewable energy consumption by 2045. In June 2017, another law was passed and Hawaii was once again the first state to commit to the Paris climate accord, despite President Trumps decision to pull the U.S. out of the agreement.
Despite Hawaii being the second in the U.S for electric vehicles sales per capita, Hawaii’s ground transportation still accounts for over a quarter of the states imported fossil fuel consumption as well as a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions.
Exuberant gas prices due to the Islands geography and the high cost of importing oil are the reason many Hawaii citizens are readily accepting this act. Locals and leaders alike are hoping that renewable transportation will reduce the cost of living as well as attract businesses and create jobs.
Hawaii is the first state to commit to this goal, but other states including Massachusetts may not be far behind.
In September 2017, a hearing was held to consider the 100% Renewable Energy Act, which would put Massachusetts on the path to obtain 100% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2035, as well as heating and transportation by 2050.
The Bill (S.1849) passed the House on January 23 and is currently being referred to the joint committee on telecommunication, Utilities and Energy.
More than 40 U.S. cities and 100 global companies have committed to 100% renewable energy.