Hawaii depends on Russian oil – but clean energy could change that – Are you okay?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Hawaiian grid operators have jobs from hell. Green-obsessed Hawaiian politicians have asked their grid operators to keep electricity flowing without buying oil, despite forced shutdowns of coal and renewable energy projects Creation is severely delayed.

Hawaii depends on Russian oil – but clean energy could change that

Hawaii’s transition to renewable energy becomes all the more urgent as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rattles energy markets.

February 25, 2022

Julian Spector

Russia Invades Ukraine, Global Oil prices soarand one US state in particular will feel the crisis.

Hawaii imports all of its oil, much of it from Russia itself. As the US Energy Information Administration succinctly Note, “Isolated by the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is the most oil-dependent state in the United States.” And while gasoline prices are rising everywhere, Hawaii is unique among the states in its dependence on oil for electricity.

The largest power plant on the most populous island, the coal-fired AESplant in West Oahu, will Turn off in September 2022. The group of large-scale renewable projects developed to replace the coal plant is facing delayand cancel. Until new clean capacity comes online, the oil plants are part of a contingency plan to keep Oahu’s 1 million residents open when coal power shuts down.

Jay Griffin, chairman of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, said: “We have warned about leaving the costs of this transition on world oil markets, and the events of the week. This is another reminder of the price we pay for our dependence on oil.” .

Regulators at the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission have previously criticized the company for its plans to increase reliance on oil-fired plants after the coal plant’s shutdown, citing concerns about gas emissions. carbon emissions and additional costs for consumers.

In one alphabet With Hawaiian Electric, regulators say Oahu expects enough energy to keep the grid reliable for the next few years thanks to the first two rounds of contracts for new renewable battery and battery projects. . However, the letter adds, “nearly all Phase 1 and 2 projects have faced delays,” and many have been canceled due to supply chain issues caused by the agency. caused by translation.

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One of my first contracts was to develop software for an electric utility, to help them manage their inventory. I like my manager Lou S., who is kind, gentle, kind, but with a real sense of mission. He approaches his job as keeping the lights on, the way police officers or other frontline workers approach their work. He knew there would be real consequences of a power outage, so he was quietly but utterly determined to prevent that from happening, by doing his best.

Somewhere in the Hawaiian grid hierarchy is someone like my former electrical engineer boss who is burning whatever remains of her life and sanity, trying to save the her boss from themselves. Nothing she does is right in the eyes of her bosses. Coal was being phased out, renewables were late, so she bought oil for an emergency diesel generator – then attacked in public for her job, to keep the lights on.

Whoever you are, walk away. They don’t deserve you.


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