Renewable energy sources naturally and continually “renew” themselves.  These renewable energy sources are:

  • Bioenergy: From organic (plant, animal) materials; also includes municipal solid waste
  • Geothermal: From the heat of the earth
  • Hydroelectric: From flowing or falling water (streams, dams)
  • Ocean: From waves, tides, or currents (marine hydrokinetic, “MHK”); or temperature differences in the ocean (ocean thermal energy conversion, “OTEC”)
  • Solar: From the sun
  • Wind: From the wind

The islands of Hawaii have abundant natural resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels, and hydropower.  Harnessing them is critical to achieving our state’s clean energy goals.

Bioenergy comes from organic materials (anything that used to be alive or part of a living thing: leaves, branches, wood chips, paper, algae, manure).  Biomass can be used to produce electricity; can be converted into liquid fuels (called “biofuels”); or can be burned to produce heat for cooking or other uses (such as wood in a barbecue grill).

Geothermal (“geo” means “earth” and “thermal” means “heat”): In Hawaii, geothermal energy is generally associated with areas of volcanic activity, such as the island of Hawaii.

Grid Modernization
Grid modernization refers to computer-based control and automation technology to bring current utility electricity delivery systems into the 21st century.

Hydroelectric energy comes from flowing water.  The water flows through a turbine, which is attached to a generator.

Oahu-Maui Grid Tie
As outlined in the State Energy Policy’s second directive, connecting the islands through integrated, modernized grids is critical to meeting our energy goals.

The ocean is a huge storehouse of energy—the sun heats the surface, wind creates waves, and tidal forces exerted by the sun and the moon create tidal fluxes.

Solar energy is from the sun. Energy from the sun is used in two different types of solar energy systems: solar thermal and photovoltaic

Wind energy is generated by the force of the wind turning a turbine.

For additional information on renewable energy:

  • Hawaii State Energy Office Publications
  • Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy
    Searchable online databases of all state, utility and local level financial incentives, rules, policies and programs for renewable energy. Regularly updated, with contact information and links.
  • Hawaii Revised Statutes 
    Hawaii state laws relating to renewable energy include:
    §196 Energy resources
    §196-3 Energy resources coordinator
    §196-41 State support for achieving renewable portfolio standards
    §196-42 State support for achieving alternate fuels standard
    §201 Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism
    §201-12.5 Renewable energy facilitator
    §201-12.8 Energy security special fund
    §201N Renewable Energy Facility Siting Process
    §226 Hawaii State Planning Act
    §226-18 Objectives and policies for facility systems-energy
    §235 Income Taxes
    §235-12.5 Renewable energy technologies; income tax credit
    §235-110.3 Ethanol facility tax credit
    §237 General Excise Tax Law
    §243 Fuel Tax Law
    §243-3.5 Environmental response, energy, and food security tax
    §243-4 License taxes
    §269 Public Utilities Commission
    §269-91 through 96 Renewable Portfolio Standards
    §486J Petroleum Industry Information Reporting Act
    §486J-1 Definitions
    §486J-10 Ethanol Content Requirement

For more information on Hawaii’s energy sector and progress in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean transportation, download the 2020 Hawaii’s Energy Facts & Figures (PDF).

Please note that we do not necessarily verify, endorse or agree with statements or opinions presented on the listed sites. Links are provided to sites that appeared to provide information, present additional perspectives, or lead to further discussion on this or related topics.