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Hawaii geothermal potential could cover more than half of the state power demand

Diamond Head, Honolulu, Hawaii, US (source: flickr/ snowpeak, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 6 Jan 2017

The state of Hawaii could derive more than half of all its electricity from geothermal, but the more realistic resource potential lies on the Big Island of Hawaii and on Maui.

In its Annual Report, the Energy Resources Coordinator for the state of Hawaii, highlights Hawaii’s clean energy progress in the last 12 months and how the Hawaii State Energy Office is creating policy and programs that are actively positioning the state as a clean energy leader.

As part of the report, which can be downloaded here (pdf), a very positive picture of geothermal energy is painted and what role it could play in the future energy supply for the state.

While the resources are described differently for the different islands, and the only potential is seen for the island of Maui (here geothermal could fuel the whole demand of the island) and the big island of Hawaii. The report highlights that today, geothermal energy fuelled power generation supplied around 10.5% of renewable energy generation in Hawaii.

With a strong dependency on diesel for power generation, the state has ambitious renewable energy targets and has set a goal to become 100% renewable in its electricity sales by 2045.

Depending on the islands, the current renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) lies between 17% and 49% … with a state average of 23.4%.

The chart below provides an overview (source: State of Hawaii Energy Resources Coordinator’s Annual Report 2016, page 33). It shows that the overall energy demand for the state of Hawaii is around 10,000 GWh/year, while geothermal could provide up to 7,500 GWh. But and one should be realistic, most of the potential can be found on the Big Island of Hawaii and on Maui, and might therefore not be of big use for all the islands, but could still play a major part on these two islands.

Hawaii_2016_geothermalpotential

Source: Hawaii State Energy Office