Clean energy is obviously a critical issue for Hawaii.

That’s why I welcomed the proposal from Civil Beat contributor Catharine Lo that she do an in-depth report on the Big Wind project.

Today, as we publish the first installment of her two-part report, we’re also publishing a new topic page on Big Wind, plus topic pages on Energy in Hawaii and Climate Change.

We hope these will be useful resources for you over coming months and years. They’re not static pages. We’ll continue to expand them as we deepen our coverage. We welcome your suggestions how to make them more useful for you. If you think something is missing, or could be explained better, please let us know.

Access to these pages is one of the benefits of full membership. We want the pages to be a valuable tool to help members understand complex issues, especially given that we know how busy everyone is.

Here are some examples of what you’ll find on these pages, and on all our topic pages.

The Energy page, as is typical of all topic pages, includes an overview of the situation in Hawaii:

“Hawaii imports petroleum for about 90 percent of its energy needs, making it the most oil-dependent state in the country. Residents here pay more for their electricity and fuel than almost all other Americans. Of all the energy consumed in the state, 40 percent of it is for transportation.

“Renewable energy initiatives have swept across the country and the world, and Hawaii is no exception. The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative has shined light on new technologies that could become more prominent soon. They include biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, ocean wave and ocean thermal, solar, waste-to-energy and wind. By focusing on the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of efficiency and conservation, state officials hope to reduce Hawaii’s overall energy demands.”

The Climate Change page, as is typical of all pages, provides an overview and the latest news from Hawaii:

“Players from several federal agencies gathered in July 2010 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa to discuss how global warming affects Hawaii. The meeting, one of just a handful across the country, will produce a plan to help humans adapt their lifestyle to accommodate unavoidable climate change. The plan was expected to be presented to President Barack Obama by October 2010.”

And the Big Wind page provides links to key players on the project as well as to related content, as is also typical:

At Civil Beat, we believe in doing the work for you to make it easier for you to understand topics in the news.

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