University of Hawai’i sets 100% by 2035 renewable energy target

The University of Hawai’i is setting even more audacious goals than the state it is in, and is already reaching those goals in Maui.

The college system has set a goal for the entire 198 gigawatt-hours (GWh) that it consumes annually to be produced by renewable energy by 2035 — ten years ahead of the state’s mandate to move to 100% renewable energy. The college system sourced only 2.6% of its electricity (5.1 GWh) from all of its campuses directly from renewable energy in 2017, while its consumption was 200 GWh that year. This is already an increase over the 1.4% of demand met with renewable energy during the previous year.

But audacious goals are not just shared in that respect, because now the University of Hawai’i’s Maui College has planned to reach that percent of renewable energy before 2035. In fact, they expect to meet 100% of demand with on-site renewable energy by the second quarter of 2019.

Not only does Maui have these goals, but the four community colleges in Oahu under the University of Hawai’i umbrella have the same time line for their energy goals. UH Leeward, Windward, Honolulu, and Kapi’olani Community Colleges have renewable energy goals of decreasing their fossil-fuel consumption by at least 70%, with the reduction being by a whopping 98, 70, 97, and 74% by 2019, the same quarter.

These colleges also host, according to Trifonovitch, 2.4, 1.3, 2.2, and 1.8 MW of solar, as well as 42 MWh of combined battery storage. As part of this, University of Hawai’i at Maui hosts 2.8 MW as well as 13.2 MWh of energy storage.

These colleges plan to achieve their goals using measures such as solar shade canopies, distributed energy storage and energy efficiency measures in general by second-quarter 2019, which is when the infrastructure for the University of Hawaii Maui College, including “on-site solar photovoltaic (PV) systems coupled with battery storage,” according to the press release and Trifonovitch, will be completed for their energy goals. Both plans are in partnership with Johnson Controls and Pacific Current.