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Hawaii shuts down final coal-fired power plant pushing 100% renewable energy

Hawaii closed its last coal-fired power plant on Thursday, with the state aiming to be powered entirely by renewable energy by 2045.

In a statement, Gov. David Ige said he was encouraged to take AES Corporation’s coal power plants offline to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s really about reducing greenhouse gases,” Ige told the Associated Press. “And this coal facility is one of his biggest sources of emissions. Taking it offline means stopping his 1.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.”

The governor said his state has witnessed the impacts of climate change first-hand as it experiences warmer Pacific waters, rising sea levels, severe storms and severe droughts.

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barge carrying coal

Hawaii will receive its final shipment of coal from a barge docked in Honolulu on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Hawaii Department of Energy via AP/AP Newsroom)

Hawaii’s chief energy officer, Scott Glenn, described the situation as dire. If you don’t, you’ll drown. ”

The move also complies with a law passed by the Hawaii State Legislature in 2020 to ban the use of coal for energy production by 2033. The state then plans to move to 100% renewable energy by 2045.

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The bill and decision to close the factory were widely praised, but some critics say energy costs will skyrocket because Hawaii still lacks the renewable energy infrastructure it needs to tap into. .

“If you believe climate change is coming to an end now that we have closed this coal plant, today is a great day for you.” Technology. “But if you pay your electricity bill, today will be a miserable day for you.”

Hawaii Governor David Ice

Hawaii Governor David Ice speaking at the closing ceremony for AES Corporation’s coal-fired power plant in Kapolei, Hawaii, Thursday, August 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones/AP Newsroom)

“What we are doing is … moving from the cheapest fossil fuel to the most expensive,” Wakai added. “And geopolitical issues around oil pricing and access to oil. will be faced with

Hawaii Senate Minority Leader Kurt Fevera, a Republican, said the burden of financing the new energy costs would fall directly on taxpayers.

hawaii solar panels

Windmills and solar panels in Kahuku, Hawaii, Monday, August 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones/AP Newsroom)

“While Hawaiian homes are already doing what they need to do to reduce their energy use, the fact that we pay the highest household electricity bills in the country is unsustainable,” he said. I believe that developers of renewable energy projects should also bear a greater portion of transmission costs, as they have been passed on to Hawaii’s toll bearers. ”

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Other states have passed coal bans, but Hawaii will be the first state in the United States to do so. Her 2015 law banning coal production in Oregon won’t go into effect until 2035, and a similar coal ban in Washington passed in 2020 will begin in 2025.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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