Private Investment and Renewable Energy in Hawai`i

Ross, Ian
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
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Renewable energy is recognized as a large issue in Hawaiʻi. In Hawaiʻi today, most energy used on the energy grid comes from gasoline. As a whole, Hawaiʻi spends billions of dollars each year purchasing this gasoline. In 2012, 8.6% of GDP was spent on energy costs. In the traditional sense, being that there are no deposits of fossil fuels, Hawaiʻi is an energy poor area. However, the sources of renewable energy such as sunlight, wind, tides, rain, and geothermal are abundant in the state. As of 2010, 10.9% of energy generated was renewable. I will explore the role of private investment in Hawaiʻi's transition to greater utilization of renewable energy. Impacts that the government policy has is of particular interest. Hawaiʻi is set in a fascinating situation where high costs may push the state down a pathway to increased reliance on renewable energy faster than the rest of the United States, making it a de facto leader for the country. For this reason, researching renewable energy in Hawaiʻi could provide insights into renewable energy nation-wide. By examining investment, production, consumption, and the market share of different sources of energy, I provide an analysis of how private investment influences the amount of renewable energy generated.
iv, 30 pages
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