Hawaii's clean energy outlook: sunny
By Pacific Business News
Pacific Business News
ENERGY – OUTLOOK SUNNY: This industry expects next year to be better than 2010. Sales will increase. Expansions are planned.
Hawaii's clean-energy sector mushroomed in 2010, and industry observers and insiders are anticipating another record year for 2011.
"We've created a new sector," said Ted Peck, the state’s energy administrator. "Renewable energy will be a driver of Hawaii’s economy at least for the next decade."
In 2010, roughly $1 billion was spent in the clean-energy sector, which includes public and private investment in renewable energy and energy-efficiency technologies, according to data culled by the state energy office. The figure marks a 62 percent increase from 2009. In 2011, expenditures are expected to increase another 26 percent to $1.25 billion.
From photovoltaic panels that line rooftops and big wind projects that feed energy into the electric grid to multimillion-dollar investments in converting feedstocks such as algae into biofuel, industry insiders say Hawaii has come into its own as a national hotbed for alternative energy.
And this is just the short list of technologies gaining momentum within the state’s energy sector. Geothermal energy, solar hot water heating, electric and hydrogen vehicles, biodiesel, building retrofits that reduce energy usage, off-grid wind turbines that power homes and acres of grid-tied solar thermal energy also are expected to drive growth through 2011.
Dozens of local companies have sprouted in the past year, while the state also is attracting a greater pool of outside companies that are tapping into the Hawaii market. Multibillion-dollar companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, General Motors, General Electric, Lockheed Martin and Logan Energy have signaled long-term Hawaii investments going into 2011 and beyond, as have up-and-coming Mainland companies such as Boston-based First Wind and Phycal, which is headquartered in Cleveland.
If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.