Hawaii’s Renewable Energy Future Essay example

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“By 2020, Hawaii is aiming to generate 20 percent of its energy from non-fossil fuels” (Brown et al. 2008, 11). According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Arent et al. 2009, 1-2), petroleum accounts for 90% of Hawaii’s energy consumption and 75% of their electricity. Since Hawaii has no pipelines or oil fields, they are forced to import petroleum to accommodate their energy needs (Arent et al. 2009, 1). Hawaii is disconnected from the rest of the United States, which means that Hawaii has to take care of its own energy needs (Croucher 2010, 79).How can alternative energy sources reduce the need to import of petroleum?
Hawaii’s geography is optimal to make use of biofuel, solar, and geothermal resources (Brown et al. 2008,
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Hawaii has the bioavailability to support biofuels as a renewable resource.
In addition to fuel crops, Hawaii also has abundant resources for biomass heating. During their research Turn et al. (2002, 4) found that the biomass resources for Hawaii include: swine, dairy, and poultry manure, sugarcane bagasse and trash, pineapple processing waste, macadamia nut shells, municipal solid wastes, food waste from commercial food preparation facilities, sewage sludge, and fat, oil and grease wastes from food preparation activities. One of the main advantages is that biomass energy can use municipal solid waste. Hawaii also produces about 10 pounds of trash per person coming to about 1.8 million tons of trash per year (Yap 2008). Hawaii has a power plant that can use over 2,000 tons of garbage a day to generate electricity (Covanta Energy 2011). Hawaii has decided to start exporting its garbage to give it enough time to expand the power plant’s capacity (Yap 2008). Smaller scale biomass fueled power generation can help get rid of agricultural and municipal refuse, while alleviating the strain on the electricity grid and providing a cheap locally based source of electricity (Turn, Keffer, and Staackmann 2002, 17). If Hawaii develops biomass as a renewable resource, it can reduce the need to import petroleum and export garbage.
Biomass is not the only renewable alternative option for Hawaii, ethanol can also be produced in Hawaii. According Keffer et al.(2009, 253), using