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Hawaiian Electric Goal: 70% Carbon Reduction by 2030

Hawaiian Electric News Release

Stressing the urgency of the global effort to slow climate change, Hawaiian Electric has set a goal to cut carbon emissions from power generation 70 percent by 2030. 

Cutting emissions from power generation by 70 percent, compared with 2005 levels, would provide a significant portion of the reduction the entire Hawaii economy needs to meet the U.S. target of cutting carbon emissions by at least 50 percent economy wide by 2030. The reduction includes generation owned by Hawaiian Electric and independent power producers who sell electricity to the utility. 

Hawaiian Electric has also committed to achieving net zero or net negative carbon emissions from power generation by 2045 or sooner, meaning that if there are any emissions, they will be captured or offset. 

Molokai is poised to add some large-scale renewable energy projects to the island’s grid, contributing to Hawaiian Electric’s goal. 

Led by the 70 percent emission reduction in the electricity sector, the rest of the state economy – including transportation, agriculture, construction and industry – would still have to cut emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 to stay on the path to meet the U.S. target. The U.S. commitment made at the COP26 climate conference in Scotland, along with commitments by other nations, aims to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, avoiding some, but not all, of the threats posed by climate change. 

“Hawaiian Electric has a critical role in reducing carbon emissions this decade in Hawaii, especially in transportation, so this new goal is significant,” said Gov. David Ige, who is attending the climate conference. “The COP26 meetings made absolutely clear that even though Hawaii has done a lot, we have to do even more. Working together, Hawaii can do its part to hit these targets. We are not willing to wait for the rest of the planet to do what we know is in our community’s best interest.” 

“The runway is getting shorter all the time,” said Scott Seu, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric. “The 2030 goal is a stretch for us, but we have to commit to bold actions in the next few years if we’re to have any hope of stalling climate change. We want to look back at this time and know we did all we could do to stop things from getting worse.”

Key elements of the 2030 plan include shutting down the state’s last coal plant in 2022; adding nearly 50,000 rooftop solar systems to the 90,000 now online; retiring at least six fossil-fueled generating units and significantly reducing the use of others as new renewable resources come online; adding renewable energy projects capable of generating a total of at least 1 gigawatt, including shared solar (community-based renewable energy) such as the projects being proposed on Molokai; using more grid-scale and customer-owned energy storage.


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