Other Renewable Energy Sources

Industrial Wind Power

Wind power

Heavy government subsidies and big-business support have made industrial wind power one of the most capital-cost competitive renewable energy resources. However, its unpredictable, intermittent nature and weakness at the time of peak power demand score it as a low quality power source. Additionally, land use (footprint) is among the highest for renewable sources, and due to the invasive nature of the concrete bases supporting turbine structures, the lands which they occupy can never be
remediated to their original form, even if the turbines themselves are removed after their useful life. Building on the above description for domestic on-island wind power, interisland wind requires expensive power transformation facilities at both the wind source and the island receiving the power generated, along with a costly and complicated cable network linking the islands.

However, wind power should be pursued on a decentralized scale where applications are not intrusive to the grid and surrounding landscape. Sensible forms of wind power development can harness the true potential of wind resources avoiding excessive costs to the rate payer and curtailment that is inherent
with centralized industrial wind.



With the introduction of more intermittent power to the grid system, baseload fuels become less efficient due to the constant ramping of equipment to match fluctuations in sources such as solar and wind [think of power production as driving in traffic (with intermittent)  versus driving at a constant speed on the highway (without intermittent)]. Biofuel is also considerably more expensive than fossil fuel to purchase per gallon. This means that if biofuel is used as a baseload power source the utility will be burning a more expensive fuel less efficiently which would ultimately cause a significant increase in utility rates. Biofuel should not be used as a means for the utility and developers to “green wash” their way to the renewable portfolio standard goals.

This is why biofuel should be supported on the research and development level to create cost effective feedstocks that can provide a more sensible and sustainable use of the resource as a transportation fuel for the islands. After all, transportation does account for nearly 70% of the fossil fuel used in Hawaii.

Hawaii Bioenergy Master plan Project

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion


Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) has tremendous potential to be a significant contributor to Hawaii’s energy portfolio. However, to date a commercial grade pilot system hasn’t been deployed due primarily to lack of federal funding support. A commerical scale pilot system should be deployed as soon as economically and technically possible to demonstrate opportunities afforded by this technology. The ensuing proliferation of OTEC technology will likely be the most abundant baseload power source for Hawaii.

Makai Ocean Engineering
Lockheed Martin OTEC

Tidal and Wave Power

The ocean holds abundant potential for power generation in Hawaii. Countries in a Asia and Europe who are on a fast track to commercialize ocean power technologies should be closely observed to adopt those best practices in Hawaii.

Waves may one day provide an alternative source of renewable energy

Lack of lobbying efforts within the wave and tidal power industry, however, has caused these technologies to lag behind technologies such as solar and wind when it comes to government support. This is why these projects are only now emerging on a small commercial scale.

Ocean Energy Systems

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