Four Hawaii counties commit to 100% renewables in transportation

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So far global transition to renewables has been largely focused on the electricity sector. However, as the leading global regions move to renewables-based electricity systems, they are starting to plan and in some cases act on shifting transportation away from fossil fuels as well.

Yesterday four mayors in the U.S. state of Hawaii committed to electrify their transportation fleets and public transit systems, and power these entirely by renewable energy by 2045. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell notes that this will include Honolulu’s new light rail system, which will be electric.

The first part of this rail system is scheduled for completion by 2025. Additionally Honolulu is in the process of ordering a new fleet of electric buses for the city, with the first scheduled to arrive in January. Caldwell estimates that the city’s entire bus fleet will be converted to renewable-powered electricity by 2035.

Some mayors expressed even more ambition, with Mau’i Mayor Alan Arakawa pledging to use batteries and solar to power Mau’i’s public vehicles and transit by 2035 “or sooner”. He says that he expects that this will likely be less expensive than power from the grid.

“It is essential that we set these goals,” stated Arakawa at a signing ceremony on the beach. “These industries and technologies will shift the way we power our vehicles, and will make them cost-effective – not just a luxury of wealthy people.”

Arakawa further expressed the hope that such a move in public and municipal transportation will help to push a transformation of private transportation in Hawaii away from internal combustion engines.

These pledges by Hawaiian mayors add to the state’s mandate that utilities source all of their electricity from renewable energy source by 2045. This is the first 100% renewable energy mandate in the United States, although Vermont has set a mandate for 75% of the state’s power to come from renewables by 2032.