Hawaii Solar Blog

Clinton Vs. Trump on Climate Change and the Environment

Election 2016 Candidates on Environment

325 seconds – that’s the amount of time spent talking about climate change and energy policy in the first two presidential debates. Although the environment hasn’t received much attention on the campaign trail, it’s an important issue that isn’t going away anytime soon. Environmental initiatives (or lack thereof) backed by the next President still have a chance to make a huge impact on the future of our planet.

For the most part, the 2016 presidential candidates’ positions align with the political platform of their party, which couldn’t be more different. Below we go over where Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton stand on climate change, water, conservation, and energy.

Climate Change

Hillary Clinton believes climate change is happening, saying “the science is crystal clear” on ScienceDebate. She vows to carry out the Paris global climate agreement President Obama joined and wants to steer our country to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 80 percent by 2050. Her goals include cutting oil consumption by one-third through cleaner fuels and more efficient vehicles, reducing energy waste in homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses by one-third, and generating enough renewable energy to power every home in the country within ten years of taking office.

two sides to environmental issues“Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time and its impacts are already being felt at home and around the world,” says Clinton. “That’s why as President, I will work both domestically and internationally to ensure that we build on recent progress and continue to slash greenhouse gas pollution over the coming years as the science clearly tells us we must.”

In 2009, business leaders took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to urge the government to take action against climate change. Donald Trump and three of his children were among the signatories of the open letter, which read, in part, “Please don’t postpone the earth. If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.”

Today, Trump has changed his tune. In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump says he doesn’t believe in man-made climate change despite changing weather. A look through his Twitter feed shows Trump using individual examples of cold weather to dispel global warming and claims that climate change is a hoax. A now-deleted tweet from 2012 says that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

If elected, Trump has promised to cancel the Paris climate agreement and stop all payments of US tax money to a United Nations fund to combat effects of climate change worldwide. He also vowed to dismantle the “Department of Environmental” because it is killing businesses. Although no “Department of Environmental” exists in our government, Trump was likely referring to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is responsible for implementing the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.

“I think our biggest form of climate change we should worry about is nuclear weapons. The biggest risk to the world, to me – I know President Obama thought it was climate change – to me the biggest risk is nuclear weapons. That’s – that is climate change. That is a disaster, and we don’t even know where the nuclear weapons are right now. We don’t know who has them. We don’t know who’s trying to get them. The biggest risk for this world and this country is nuclear weapons, the power of nuclear weapons,” says Trump.


A 2015 Gallup poll showed that the contamination of drinking water was the environmental issue that most worries people, and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan only exacerbates those fears.

When asked about Flint earlier this year during a campaign event in Iowa, Trump said, “Well it’s a shame what’s happening in Flint, Michigan. A thing like that shouldn’t happen but, again, I don’t want to comment on that. They’ve got a very difficult problem and I know the governor’s got a very difficult time going. But, you know, I shouldn’t be commenting on Flint.”

Clinton told Rachel Maddow that she was outraged by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder not asking for federal assistance and said she would look for a way to override him to get his constituents safe drinking water. She has pledged to form an Environmental and Climate Justice Task Force to locate and fix “the next 50 Flints” – impoverished communities most likely to face environmental risks.

In addition to polluted water sources, severe drought also plagues several areas of our nation, especially on the west coast. To improve water security and efficiency, Clinton proposes a Western Water Partnership which would help coordinate water use and invest in existing infrastructure, and a Water Innovation Lab to help utilities as well as agricultural and industrial water users discover more efficient strategies to use and reuse water.

Trump calls water “a top priority” and says “we must explore all options to include making desalinization more affordable and working to build the distribution infrastructure to bring this scarce resource to where it is needed for our citizens and those who produce the food of the world.”


Trump calls for a “shared governance of our public lands” where state and local governments will be empowered to protect wildlife and fisheries. “Laws that tilt the scales toward special interests must be modified to balance the needs of society with the preservation of our valuable living resources,” Trump said on ScienceDebate.

Clinton aims to keep public lands public to prevent them from being sold to the highest bidder, fight animal trafficking and illegal fishing, conserve wildlife by doubling the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program, and create “an American Parks Trust Fund to scale up and modernize how we protect and enhance” our national park system.


Clinton supports moving away from coal to renewable energy, using natural gas to transition and proposing a $30 billion plan to ensure that coal mining communities have secure healthcare, schools, and retirement plans and the land can be transformed into renewed places of economic and employment opportunity.

Continuing in Obama’s footsteps, Clinton aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 percent by 2025 relative to 2005 levels. Main objectives include installing over half a billion solar panels across the U.S. by the end of her first term and generating enough clean renewable energy to power every home in America within ten years of taking office.

These goals would mean installed solar capacity would increase to 140 gigawatts by the end of 2020, the equivalent of having rooftop solar systems on over 25 million homes, representing a 700% increase from current levels. In addition, more power from solar, wind, geothermal, and other renewable sources would be added to the grid than any other decade in history.

Clinton plans to accomplish these achievements by defending and expanding on the Clean Power Plan and implementing a Clean Energy Challenge that would offer grants and other incentives to encourage states to utilize clean energy, awards for areas that allow easier access to rooftop solar, work with local communities to improve the grid, and employ programs to provide clean and affordable energy to low-income communities.

This all sounds very supportive of renewable energy, but Clinton does have a questionable history. As a junior senator, she voted to expand offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. She has also flip-flopped on fracking and accepted donations and private fundraising events from the fossil fuel industry. But perhaps, the biggest concern was her inclination to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have increased drilling in the Canadian tar sands and released an enormous amount of greenhouse gases. (Clinton left office before a decision was made but formally came out against it only after environmentalists made a stink. Obama rejected the proposal.)

Trump has no voting record to analyze, but has never been shy about his support for fossil fuels. Trump favors an all-of-the-above energy strategy in order to make the U.S. energy independent of other nations.

“It should be the goal of the American people and their government to achieve energy independence as soon as possible,” Trump told ScienceDebate. “Energy independence means exploring and developing every possible energy source including wind, solar, nuclear and bio-fuels. A thriving market system will allow consumers to determine the best sources of energy for future consumption.”

He plans to produce “at least a half million jobs a year, $30 billion in higher wages, and cheaper energy” by opening up $50 trillion in untapped resources including shale, oil, coal, and natural gas reserves. This will be accomplished by rolling back most of the Obama administration’s “job-destroying” environmental policies, getting rid of a moratorium on coal leasing, and drilling on public lands, off American coasts, and in the Arctic.

There are no specific plans for renewable energy detailed, but Trump does hold an investment in NextEra Energy, one of the world’s largest producers of renewable power. He told a voter in Iowa, whose husband works for a wind turbine manufacturer, that he would support subsidies for the wind industry. Trump has called solar panels “very expensive” and “a disaster,” referring to the failed solar company Solyndra that received over $500 million in government aid before filing for bankruptcy.

The presidential race is gearing up to be a close one, and it’s important to know how each candidate will address crucial environmental issues facing not only our country but our planet. Please vote on November 8th.

Maui Sugarcane Land to Become Renewable Energy Crops

Maui Sugar Cane Lands

With the January announcement that Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S) will cease sugar operations at the end of 2016 and transition to a new diversified agricultural model, many have been wondering exactly what will happen to the 36,000 acres used for growing sugar cane on Maui. There has been talk of creating smaller farms and implementing varied agricultural uses, potentially including food and energy crops, cattle, and the development of an agriculture park where residents would be able to grow crops.

Alan Oshima, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric, recently confirmed to Pacific Business News that he met with Chris Benjamin, president and CEO of Alexander & Baldwin, the parent company of HC&S, where the two CEOs discussed the possibility of using some of the Maui plantation land for renewable energy crops or projects.

“There are different kinds of crops we have looked at in the past and there might be some new technologies available we could look at. We promised to continue discussions,” said Oshima.

Another organization, Hawaii Renewable Resources LLC, is also interested in Maui’s potential to produce renewable energy. State lawmakers are considering bills that would allow the state to issue special purpose revenue bonds to assist Hawaii Renewable Resources with renewable natural gas and electricity production.

The mission of Hawaii Renewable Resources is to offer sustainable food production and renewable energy solutions. If SB2369 passes, Hawaii Renewable Resources would use the funds to grow energy crops that would produce renewable natural gas, carbon dioxide, recovered organic composts, and recovered irrigation water on former sugar plantation land as well as build and operate a natural gas production facility on Maui. The compost and water leftover from making the renewable natural gas would be given to farmers to help increase local food production. Since the public will benefit from this alternative energy option, without investment or operational risk to the State or counties, reaction so far has been favorable.

Tran Chinery, a spokesperson for HC&S, would not comment on the plans proposed in the bill.

In a separate bill, HB2593, Hawaii Renewable Resources is asking for $30 million in bonds to develop a facility for food crop, animal feed, and renewable non-fossil fuel production on Oahu.

With over 80 percent of Hawaii’s energy coming from petroleum, electricity rates remain among the highest in the nation, so Hawaii has set a goal to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2045. Supporters applaud efforts to help Hawaii become self-sufficient, increase local food production, and help the islands reach its renewable energy goals.

Earth Day Events In Hawaii

Earth Day 2016

This year will mark 46 years since the very first Earth Day celebration which mobilized the public to unite in support of our planet and ignited the environmental movement. The theme for Earth Day 2016 is “Trees for the Earth” (#Trees4earth). The goal is to plant 7.8 billion trees, one for every person, by the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2020.

Why Trees?

Over 15 billion trees are lost every year because of land development, deforestation, and bad forest management. To put it into perspective, 15 billion trees is equivalent to around 48 football fields every minute.

Trees combat climate change by absorbing the carbon dioxide (CO2) building up in our atmosphere and releasing oxygen back into the air. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced from driving the average car 26,000 miles and provides enough oxygen for 18 people.

Trees make our air cleaner by filtering out pollutant gases and particulates, trapping them with their leaves and bark. The dust level in the air can be as much as 75 percent lower on the sheltered side of the tree compared to the windward side.

Trees reduce air temperature. Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can cut summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. Along with providing shade, further cooling occurs when water evaporates from the leaf surface. It has been found that areas with heavy tree cover are often 9 degrees cooler than urban areas.

Trees save water and help prevent water pollution. Shade from trees slows water evaporation, allowing lawns to absorb more moisture. Trees also reduce surface water runoff from storms, thus decreasing soil erosion and the accumulation of sediment and pollutants in our streams and oceans.

Trees create an ecosystem to provide habitat and food for birds and other animals.

Trees have also been known to boost property value, increase business traffic, reduce violence as well as heal and reenergize.

Other Ways to Help the Planet

Sign the #ParisAgreement Climate Petition. At the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, over 190 countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This Earth Day, world leaders have been invited to the United Nations to sign the agreement, and the petition will urge them to keep their word.

Go Meatless on Mondays. The meat industry accounts for 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, emitting over 36 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually. In fact, the amount of energy used to create one calorie of meat is almost twenty times the amount of energy as one plant calorie.

Reduce your food waste and start a compost. Over one third of all food produced around the world for human consumption is wasted every year. Only buy what you need and freeze or give away any excess. Recycle your produce scraps by composting and returning nutrients back to the soil.

End junk mail. The average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail every year and 44% of that mail goes straight to the landfill unopened. Millions of trees are chopped down to create this junk mail, 28 billion gallons of water are wasted to produce and recycle junk mail, and the creation and shipping of junk mail produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 9 million cars each year. What if you could prevent this completely and declutter your mailbox by removing your name from mailing lists? Find out more here.

Go solar. According to the EPA, the average household emits approximately 20 metric tons of carbon pollution annually. A typical residential solar system will eliminate 3-4 tons of carbon emissions every year, roughly the equivalent of planting over 100 trees.

Earth Day 2016 Events in Hawaii

Enjoy these Earth Day festivities near you.


UH Mānoa Earth Day
Promotes existing sustainability efforts on-campus and seeks to inspire students, faculty, staff, and administration to become more involved in environmental work out in the community.
When: Friday, April 22 from 10:00am to 4:00pm
Where: UH Mānoa’s Campus Center

Mauna to Makai (Earth Day)
The Waikiki Aquarium’s 9th annual Earth Day celebration provides educational activities for both children and adults and focuses on the impact we make on water sources.
When: Saturday, April 23
Where: The Waikiki Aquarium
Cost: Free admission

Earth Day Cleanup and Ultimate Sand Sifter Competition
Volunteers check in at Waimanalo Beach Park at 9:00am and, from there, head to nearby locations to remove debris. After the clean up, the Ultimate Sand Sifter Competition invites participants to come up with a solution to remove microplastic marine debris. Winners receive a $1,000 prize and all entrants get a goodie bag.
When: Saturday, April 30
9:00am – Check in
9:30am to 12:00pm – Clean up
12:00pm to 2:00pm – Live music, games, and more
Where: Waimanalo Beach Park


2016 Maui Earth Day Festival
Celebrate the land and come together as a community to enjoy live music, information booths, a silent auction, healthy food booths, eco-friendly products, and a healing zone of massage therapists, intuitive healers and body workers. A keiki zone of music and games as well as a petting zoo and horse back riding will be available for children.
When: Sunday, April 17 from 10:00am to 6:00pm
2:00 to 3:00pm – Inspirational educational hour on “How to co-create a healthy future for Maui? Challenges and Solutions”
2:00pm – Keiki parade
Where: Ke‘opuolani Park Amphitheater, behind the Maui Nui Botanical Garden, across from the War Memorial Stadium
Cost: $7 entrance fee, kids free


Earth Day Rising VI
Celebrate the earth featuring workshops and panels on sustainable living, agriculture, and conservation, keiki on the farm activities, seed and plant giveaway, clothing swap tent, free county compost bin distribution, vendor and info booths, music, and food.
When: Sunday, April 24
Where: Malama Kauai Community Farm in Kalihiwai Ridge
Cost: $15 advanced donation online, $25 donation at door, keiki 16 and under free

Earth Day – Yesterday and Today

Senator Gaylord Nelson - Founder of Earth Day 1970

“Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.”
-Senator Gaylord Nelson
founder of the first Earth Day in 1970.


Every year on April 22, the world comes together to honor our planet and shine a spotlight on environmental concerns. Earth Day is currently the largest civic event in the world, celebrated by over a billion people in 192 countries.

Earth Day History
Back in the 1960s, politicians’ focus was on development and economic progress. Laws to protect the environment were virtually nonexistent, so factories could pollute the air and dump toxic waste into lakes and rivers without punishment. Many residents drove big, gas-guzzling cars as a symbol of their status, and hardly anyone knew about, let alone practiced, recycling. As a result, this country’s beautiful natural areas were being destroyed, and pollution was viewed as a necessary consequence of prosperity.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson started Environmental MovementRachel Carson’s best-selling book ‘Silent Spring,’ published in 1962, is often credited with kick-starting the environmental movement. ‘Silent Spring’ caused a booming post-war America to stop and think about the dangers of applying DDT and other non-selective pesticides. “These sprays, dusts, and aerosols are now applied almost universally to farms, gardens, forests, and homes — nonselective chemicals that have the power to kill every insect, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad,’ to still the song of birds and the leaping of fish in the streams, to coat the leaves with a deadly film, and to linger on in the soil — all this though the intended target may be only a few weeds or insects. Can anyone believe it is possible to lay down such a barrage of poisons on the surface of the earth without making it unfit for all life?” asks Rachel Carson.

Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin, was elected to the U.S. Senate the same year ‘Silent Spring’ was published, determined to convince the government that the planet was at risk. In 1963, Nelson introduced legislation to ban DDT and not one single member of Congress joined him. Nelson was able to convince President Kennedy to join him on a 5-day, 11-state “conservation tour” in hopes of making the environment a national political issue, however the press was uncooperative, preferring to cover foreign policy over environmental issues.

Even though Washington was slow to respond, citizens increasingly began to share Nelson’s concerns. In 1969, two major ecological nightmares grabbed headlines – the largest oil spill in United States waters at the time occurring in Santa Barbara and the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio becoming so contaminated that it actually caught on fire. Nelson was returning from the oil spill devastation when he read about anti-Vietnam War “teach-ins” that were taking place on college campuses around the United States. The idea inspired a new strategy: “If we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force the issue onto the national political agenda.”

The First Earth Day
Earth Day 1970 Senator Nelson selected 25-year old student activist Denis Hayes as National Coordinator and California Republican Congressman Paul McCloskey to serve as co-chair. Together, with an army of student volunteers, Nelson’s Senate staff, and media support, rallies were organized in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and over 1,000 communities across the nation on April 22, 1970. A whopping 20 million people participated in the very first Earth Day, including 10,000 high schools, 2,500 colleges, and everyone from housewives and farmers to scientists and politicians.

The first Earth Day represented a turning point for many, as environmental issues became a community concern and residents grasped the effects of oblivious consumption and waste. When polled in May 1971, 25 percent of the U.S. public named protecting the environment to be an important goal, a 2,500 percent increase over 1969. In turn, Congress responded by making amendments to the Clean Air Act, creating the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and forming the EPA within three years of Earth Day 1970.

6th graders march at first Earth Day 1970.

6th graders march at first Earth Day 1970.

Balboa Park Earth Day 2011

Balboa Park Earth Day 2011

Earth Day Goes Global
Earth Day went global in 1990, with Earth Day Network, a nonprofit organization started by Denis Hayes, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and elevating environmental concerns onto the world stage.

The Importance of Earth Day Today
While the first Earth Day was focused on joining different groups of people together within the United States, today’s message is to think globally and act locally, meaning that no matter where you live, we are all environmental stewards of the planet. According to Hayes, “Important environmental issues that are facing us–climate change, everything from threats to the hydrological cycle and nitrate cycle, mining, devastation by over-fishing of the world’s oceans, acidification of the world’s oceans, the trade in endangered species, and on and on–are all things that no one country can control or cure by itself.”

Take Action
So, since the biggest problems are ones that can’t be solved by any one nation (let alone one person), what CAN you do?

Easy things to do today!
Help NASA raise awareness with a #GlobalSelfie – On April 22, 2014, Take a selfie out in nature, include the tag #GlobalSelfie, and upload on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram or Google+. NASA will then combine each of these individual photos and create the “blue marble”- a mosaic of the earth formed with all the collected images.

Plant a tree – Over a 50-year lifespan, one tree provides $31,250 worth of oxygen and $62,000 worth of air pollution control. Bonus if it’s a native Hawaiian tree.

Pump up your tires – Over 700 million gallons of gasoline are wasted in the U.S. annually because tires are not inflated properly.

Eat meatless – Reducing meat consumption conserves fresh water, saves topsoil, and even reduces air pollution.

Mother EarthPledge your commitment – Help Earth Day Network reach their goal of 2 billion acts of green. Even better, post your commitment on social media and encourage your friends to get involved.

Inspired to go green beyond Earth Day?
Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth – This can save up to 8 gallons of water.

Reduce your waste – The average American generates 4.38 pounds of trash per day. Start a compost, separate your recyclables, and remember to take your reusable bags to the store.

Buy local – 42% of carbon pollution emissions in the U.S. are associated with the energy used to produce, process, transport, and dispose of the food we eat and the goods we use.

Go solar! – Since electricity rates in our state are so high, solar power systems in Hawaii have a total payback of 3-4 years.

See even more tips on Going Green.

going green

Hawaii On Track With 100% Renewable Energy Goal

hawaii's goal of 100% green
Update as of May 6, 2015
House Bill 623, a measure that would require Hawaii to produce 100 percent of the state’s electric power from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal by 2045, passed the Legislature with a 74-2 vote on Tuesday and is now headed to the governor. The target year of 2045 is a compromise between two earlier versions of the bill, which had set dates of 2040 and then 2050.
“With this bill, we’ll now be the most populated set of islands in the world with an independent grid to establish a 100% renewable electricity goal,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard, Chair of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee. “Through this process of transformation Hawaii can be the model that other states and even nations follow. And we’ll achieve the biggest energy turnaround in the country, going from 90% dependence on fossil fuels to 100% clean energy.”
Considering that Hawaii already produces about 21 percent of its power from renewable energy, many believed the state could strive for much better than the current goal of 40 percent clean energy by 2040. HB 623 also sets interim goals of 30 percent renewable energy dependence by 2020, 40 percent by 2030, and 70 percent by 2040.
Being the first state in the nation to move towards 100 percent renewable energy will reduce energy bills for Hawaii residents, create jobs in our local renewable energy industry, and be the best choice for not just Hawaii but the entire planet.

Hawaii possesses unique challenges and potential when it comes to electricity generation. On one hand, geographic isolation and lack of conventional energy resources make Hawaii the largest consumer of fossil fuels per capita in the U.S. On the other hand, the islands have an ample supply of natural resources including solar, wind, geothermal, and wave power. Recognizing this potential and how much our fossil fuel dependence is costing us, both financially and environmentally, legislature is well on their way to requiring the Aloha State to generate 100 percent of its energy needs from renewables by 2050.*

“We are on the leading edge of the 21st century renewable energy transformation,” Chris Lee (D), Sponsor of the House bill, HB 623, and chair of the House Energy and Environment Committee. Lee has been wanting to propose a 100 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for three years, but this is the first year there has been overwhelming support to move forward.

In 2001, Hawaii enacted its current RPS of 70% clean energy by 2030. The state has made significant improvements such as generating a little over 21 percent of our power from renewable sources, a 12 percent increase over the past six years, and installing over 600 megawatts of renewable energy capacity in 2013 alone. The bulk of this 600 MW capacity consisted of wind, biomass and geothermal, so there is a lot of potential to add more solar to the energy mix, especially considering that the Hawaii solar industry has been doubling in size every year for the past five years. At the rate we’re going, having already exceeded our 2015 target of 15 percent renewables, many believe that increasing the goal to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 is not only feasible but necessary.

“Even our utility is saying we can hit 65 percent by 2030, so 100 percent is definitely doable,” Sen. Mike Gabbard (D), sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, SB 2181, and chair of Hawaii’s Energy and Environment Committee. “This is huge for our state’s future. Each year, we spend $3 to $5 billion importing fossil fuels to power our economy. Our electricity bills are roughly three times the national average.”

Not only is our electricity and the cost of transporting fuel expensive, but it also creates air pollution and contributes to climate change — a key fact that the Hawaiian islands, with its unique ecosystem and tourism-based economy, cannot afford to ignore.

According to the 2014 National Climate Assessment, rising air and ocean temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, and changing ocean chemistry in Hawaii will greatly affect everything from native plants and marine life to food and fresh water supply, infrastructure, and public health. These changes, in turn, impact tourism, especially on islands with more developed infrastructure. The loss of Waikīkī Beach alone would cost the state $2 billion in visitor expenditures annually.

In an op-ed in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, former Hawaii Governor George Ariyoshi, real estate developer Christine Camp, and dean of the college of engineering at the University of Hawaii Peter Crouch sum up perhaps the biggest reason why we need to aim for 100 percent renewable energy, “Under the state’s existing renewable energy laws, in 2031—around the time today’s pre-schoolers will graduate high school—the majority of our energy could still come from fossil fuels. We owe it to the kids growing up today, and the ones following them, to do better than that.”

The bills must pass final floor vote by May 5th. Stay tuned as Haleakala Solar keeps you updated on Hawaii’s path to 100 percent renewable energy and other important energy news.

*Former versions of HB 623 and SB 2181 had set a goal of 100 percent renewable by 2040. The bills have since been amended to aim for 70 percent renewable by 2040 and 100 percent by 2050.

Under the current RPS, our utilities must establish the following percentages of “renewable electrical energy” sales:
– 15% of its net electricity sales by December 31, 2015
– 25% of its net electricity sales by December 31, 2020
– 40% of its net electricity sales by December 31, 2030

New Electric Vehicle Charging Station on Maui

EV station Haleakala Solar MauiA new electric vehicle (EV) charging station is available for public use in the Kahului Minit Stop parking lot off Dairy Road.

Maui is currently home to over 450 plug-in electric vehicles, which represents a tripling of growth from the 150 EVs in 2012. However, with 110,000 to 120,000 gasoline-powered cars on the road, there’s certainly much room for improvement.

Haleakala Solar is proud to support the growing need for charging stations around the island. 46.3 million barrels of petroleum were imported for Hawaii’s total energy use over the past year. The transportation sector consumes about 60% of that petroleum, so the adoption of EVs will greatly help reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels. Plus, as our energy grid gets powered by more renewable sources, the electric vehicle will become greener too!

Electric Vehicle Station From Haleakala Solar

Ten Tips For Living Green

think green go green

TEN TIPS for Living Green

Here are some simple tips and ideas on how you can live more sustainably and save money at the same time.

  1. Use Energy Efficient Appliances

    The major appliances in your home- refrigerators, washer and dryers, dishwashers, etc. account for a large chunk of your monthly utility bill. We’re not saying to go out and get rid of all your appliances and buy new ones right now, but when the time comes they need replacing, it would be smart idea to consider purchasing energy efficient models. Some current energy-efficient refrigerators could actually use less than half the energy of a model that’s 12 years old or older.

  2. Unplug Your Charger

    It’s amazing the amount of devices, tools etc. we use today that need recharging. Smartphones, tablets, and portable tools are just a few. Once people are done charging their devices, often they will leave the charger plugged in the wall. Unfortunately, chargers keep pulling power whenever they’re plugged in and all that energy is wasted. Best thing to do? Unplug the charger from the socket when charging is done.

  3. Improve the Efficiency of Your Existing Water Heater

    Well, we debated putting this one on here, but in all honesty, it is one of the best ways to cut down your energy bill. Tankless and solar water heaters in of themselves are great, but simple changes to your existing setup can cut your energy bills by 25 percent or more. Reduce the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees, wrap it in a water-heater insulating blanket and insulate the first 3 to 6 feet of hot and cold water pipes. These changes don’t take a lot of time or money, but could make a real difference in the energy you use.

  4. Compost

    Composting is a great way to turn food and lawn wastes into rich mulch. What’s great about this is the idea taking something that’s considered (literally) trash and turning it into something valuable. Here are a few tips on how to get started:

    • Find an area in your yard with bare earth to start your composting pile. Having your pile on open earth would allow worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the compost.
    • Gather a pile of lawn and garden waste onto the bare area. Be sure to mix “brown” materials like leaves and shredded paper with “green materials such as grass clippings. Having both ensures better results.
    • Keep your compost pile damp but not wet. Moisten materials as you add them to your pile. This will help ensure your pile will not dry out which would slow down the process.
    • Do not compost meat, bones or fish scraps. Stick with food scraps and yard waste only.
    • Turning your pile as often as possbile helps to speed up the process. Aerating the pile in this way adds oxygen which helps the process to work better.
    • Cover the pile. You can use wood, plastic sheeting, old carpet for example. Covering helps retain moisture and heat, two elements essential for composting.
  5. Switch to CFL or LEDs

    CFL (compact flourescent lights) and LED (light-emitting diodes) use up to 80 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs and can last up to 25 times longer. Out of the three LEDs are generally the most efficient and have the longest life span but also the most expensive.

  6. Get a High-Efficiency Showerhead

    You can lower your water heating cost by getting a high-efficiency showerhead. Doing this can save up to 3,000 gallons of water per year. This equates up $50 in energy costs and roughly 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. The showerheads are specially designed to conserve resources while still providing like a luxurious-feeling shower.

  7. Buy Local Produce

    Many communities have a local farmer’s market. They are usually fresher (fruits and vegetables shipped from outside the state and country can travel up to two weeks before it arrives in grocery stores. As a bonus they are often cheaper than produce found in stores and many are organically grown as well.

  8. Use Rechargeable Batteries

    It’s amazing how many AA batteries one might use in the home. From remote controls to flashlights to computer mice. I recently went around my home and found over 40 AA batteries being used. Rechargeable batteries are more expensive than their non-rechargeable counterparts, but last many, many times longer. Just remember to unplug the charger after the batteries are recharged.

  9. Install a Drip Irrigation System

    Like many of the other tips listed, this one requires an investment up front, but delivers savings over the long run. If you are out in your yard watering your plants on a regualar basis, not only will installing a drip system save on your water bill, but plants will do better with the consistent watering and you will save time as well.

  10. Develop Better Energy Saving Habits

    This is something that really doesn’t cost anything other than a little bit of effort. Turn off the lights when leaving a room. Turn off the computer when not in use. Take shorter hot showers. Turn off water when brushing or shaving. Developing good energy saving habits may not seem like a whole lot over the short run, but if enough people do it over the long haul, it could add up. More than anything, it’s about developing the right mindset in helping our environment.

Go Solar – Conserve Water

stream of water

You already know that solar power reduces your energy bill and our dependence on fossil fuels, but did you know that going solar also saves water?

Water is used throughout traditional energy production: to pump crude oil out of the ground, remove pollutants from power plant exhaust, generate steam that turns turbines, flush residue after fossil fuels are burned, and cool power plants. In fact, fossil-fuel-fired thermoelectric power plants consume over 500 billion liters, or more than 132 billion gallons, of fresh water per day in the United States alone.

“The most important use of water for electricity production is for cooling,” says Adam Schlosser, an author of the study and the assistant director for science research at MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. “The benefit of renewables like wind or solar is that you don’t need to boil water for steam to spin the turbines, and then you don’t need water to cool the steam. That cooling process is removed, saving a lot of water.”

According to the EPA, each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of thermoelectric generation requires the withdrawal of about 25 gallons of water, however only an average of 2 gallons of water is actually lost to evaporation for each kWh consumed.

If the average residential meter in Hawaii uses 615 kWh per month, that’s 1,230 gallons of water used in addition to your normal water needs. That may not seem like a big deal since that water use doesn’t show up on your water bill, but water consumption is something we all need to be aware of now – before water scarcity becomes a problem here in Hawaii.

The Hawaii Water Conservation Plan written in February 2013 shows that “over 90 percent of the state’s drinking water comes from groundwater sources, while much of the water used for agricultural irrigation comes from surface water sources. It is estimated that public water systems supply approximately 205 million gallons per day (mgd) of potable water across the state. Water used for agricultural irrigation is estimated to be well over 350 million gallons per day. In some areas of the state, demand for water is approaching the sustainable limits of supply, and these demands are expected to increase in the future. In order to sustain and protect our water for future generations, we must strive to be as efficient as possible in all of our water uses.”

Normally, when folks think about going solar, they’re thinking about their wallets, not the environment. When they do think about saving the planet with their solar panels, they’re probably happy about the incredible amounts of carbon pollution they’ll be avoiding by switching to clean energy. But now, you can add conserving water as one more reason to go solar.

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