HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii is receiving its final shipment of coal this week, which Gov. David Ige called a huge step forward in the state’s transition to clean energy.
Coal is the cheapest but dirtiest source of power for Oahu. A law put in place a couple of years ago will finally shut down the island’s last coal burning power plant.
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“In its time, coal was an important resource for Hawai‘i and I’d like to thank the workers who have run our last remaining coal plant,” Ige said in a statement. “Renewable energy projects to replace coal are coming online with more on the way.”
As KHON2’s Always Investigating reports, replacement power projects are behind schedule due to unexpected global events with supply chain issues, so Oahu residents should prepare to pay even more for electricity this fall.
In the meantime, consumers can either cut back on power, try solar and batteries, or pay more for oil-generated power — which costs as much as five times more than coal.
The Kapolei plant has been Oahu’s largest single generator for three decades, meeting about 16% of the island’s peak electricity demand. Its closure on Sept. 1 means eliminating 180 megawatts of power, or about one-tenth of what Oahu needs.
So what can we do about it at home besides getting ready to write bigger checks to Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO)?
HECO vice president Jim Kelly suggests to “really be embracing the idea of conservation,” especially during peak hours. Between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., don’t be cranking on the air conditioner, taking long showers, running the oven, or whatever else that requires electricity and water.
For more information on the transition and for tips on saving, click here.