Hawai‘i is undergoing a major transformation to move from a state that has been almost completely reliant on imported fossil fuels to one that is powered by clean renewable energy. Beginning in the late 1990s and early 2000s, state leaders began setting big, first-of-their-kind goals to change the course of energy production and delivery. Hawai‘i was the first state to commit to 100% clean renewable energy for electricity, to a net-negative emissions goal, to the Paris Agreement in law and to do our part based on the science and Hawai‘i’s share of the nation’s emissions. Hawai‘i is focusing on high-impact actions and leading by example.

Clean Energy Initiative

The Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative renewed Hawai‘i’s commitment to setting bold clean energy goals that include achieving the nation’s first-ever 100 percent renewable portfolio standards (RPS) by the year 2045.

The initiative was launched in 2008, when the State of Hawai‘i and U.S. Department of Energy signed a groundbreaking Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the reduction of Hawai‘i’s heavy dependence on imported fossil fuels. To turn that vision into reality, HCEI is transforming the financial, regulatory, legal, and institutional systems that govern energy planning and delivery within the state.


Achieving a net-negative, clean energy economy requires extensive planning and analysis. Understanding the economic, environmental, and energy security impacts of different scenarios is essential for decision-makers. The Hawai‘i State Energy Office is continually developing and improving upon robust tools and data resources that are needed to help policymakers, government, and industry make make informed decisions.

Engage Energy Modeling Tool

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed the Engage™ modeling tool in collaboration with the Hawai‘i State Energy Office. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Transitions Initiative and Solar Energy Technologies Office funded the effort.

Engage makes cross-sectoral energy system planning and simulation easier and more accessible. Engage is a publicly available, free tool to model energy system scenarios to transition to a net-negative carbon economy. Its integrated visualization capabilities let users view the results of modeled scenarios to better understand the trade-offs and interdependencies involved in energy system transformations.


HAVEN is a data visualization tool that assists planners, decision-makers, and other stakeholders to better understand the relationships, trade-offs, and impacts of policies, regulations, and other decisions made across the energy ecosystem.

Originally developed through a U.S. Department of Energy competitive grant in coordination with the University of Hawai‘i’s LAVA Lab, HAVEN was designed to display utility resource planning data so users can easily visualize and compare the land use and geospatial impact of different plans. The project has evolved over the years to incorporate plans beyond the utility’s, such as the scenarios developed using the Engage energy modeling tool for the HSEO’s Decarbonization Study, as well as added contextual layers for hazards facing the state, such as wildfire and sea level rise. HAVEN has been used to help facilitate community engagement and education and has proven to be a powerful educational and outreach tool that prompts conversation as users absorb the information displayed. Interest in the technology from other states, communities, and schools has driven iterations focused on user experience and portability.

HAVEN Part 1 (February 2018)

HAVEN/engage Part 2 (June 2018)


In 2022, the State Legislature passed Act 238 which tasks the Hawai‘i State Energy Office to “analyze pathways and develop recommendations for achieving the State’s economy-wide decarbonization goals.” Additionally, the study will evaluate emission reduction pathways from all emitting sectors economy-wide.

Under Hawai’i Revised Statutes §225P-5, Hawai’i has a target “to sequester more atmospheric carbon and greenhouse gases than emitted within the State as quickly as practicable, but no later than 2045”, effectively establishing a net-negative emissions target.

Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative

The Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) is a framework of statutes and regulations supported by a diverse group of stakeholders committed to Hawai‘i’s clean energy future. The goal of the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative is to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2045. HCEI has implemented many of the foundational policies and innovative solutions needed to reduce our dependency on foreign oil, maximize our diverse portfolio of natural resources, and create employment and investment opportunities throughout the islands. Our state has earned recognition as a clean energy leader and must continue to embrace innovative technologies and thoughtful decision-making. 

Powering Past Coal Task Force

Hawai‘i’s last coal plant is set to retire by September 1, 2022, and the use of coal in the State will be a remnant of the past. The retirement represents a significant milestone in Hawai‘i’s transition away from fossil fuel. The 180 MW coal plant generates firm electrical power for Oʻahu’s grid. It has been the largest single generator on Oʻahu, meeting 16% of Oahu’s peak electricity demand according to Hawaiian Electric (Hawaiian Electric, 2019). In 2020, the legislature passed Act 23, which effectively bans the use of coal for electrical power generation in Hawai‘i after September 1, 2022, the expiration date of the coal plant’s power purchase agreement with Oʻahu’s electric utility.


Hawai‘i’s transformation to a net-negative carbon economy includes transportation. Transportation energy demand is driven by the quantity of transportation (passenger-miles and ton-miles) needed; the modes (e.g., plane, boat, car, truck, bus, bicycle, scooter, on foot) used to meet the transportation needs; the fuels (e.g., jet fuel, low-sulfur fuel oil, gasoline, diesel, biodiesel, hydrogen, electricity, human power) needed to propel the various modes; and the primary energy sources (e.g., petroleum, solar, cooking oil, crops, other materials) used to create the fuels.