While Hawaii has made some progress in diversifying its energy sector, it’s still the most oil-reliant state in the U.S., according to new statistics from the Hawaii State Energy Office.

The annual, 43-page report released Thursday is full of graphs and numbers meant to quantify the state’s progress on its clean energy goals. A 2015 law required 100% of electricity needs to come from renewable resources.

The state still has much work to do before it accomplishes that goal.

Solar Farm Mililani Central Oahu Alternative Energy aerial.
Renewable energy, like this solar farm in Mililani, accounted for just 20% of Hawaii’s electricity generation. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

In 2018, About 84% of Hawaii’s energy needs depended on petroleum. That’s down from 90% in 2003, according to the report.

“As the only state still primarily reliant on oil-fired electrical generation, and with a significant demand for jet fuel, Hawaii depends more on petroleum for its energy needs than does any other state,” the report says.

Petroleum also accounts for 60% of Hawaii’s imports.

And in 2019, the majority of imported crude oil came from Libya (57%) followed by Russia (34%) South Sudan (5%) and Argentina (4%).

Air transportation accounts for a third of Hawaii’s oil usage, followed closely by ground transportation and electric power generation.

Last year, fossil fuels accounted for 75% of electric production in the state while renewable energy, which includes solar, wind and biomass, only accounted for about 20%.

Meanwhile, the average electricity prices in Hawaii are more than twice the national average, and appear to have nearly doubled since 2001.

Much of the data provided in the new issue of “Hawaii’s Energy Facts and Figures” comes from 2019 or years prior. Data from 2020, including analysis of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the energy sector, should be available in next year’s report, according to a press release.

What stories will you help make possible?

Since 2010, Civil Beat’s reporting has painted a more complete picture of Hawaii — stories that you won’t find anywhere else.

Your donation, however big or small, will ensure that Civil Beat has the resources to provide you with thorough, unbiased reporting on the issues that matter most to Hawaii. We can’t do this without you.


About the Author