Ulupono Initiative


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June 30, 2017

Driving the Clean Transportation Conversation on Kauai and Oahu

Categories: Energy | Featured | Transportation

When you drive around town, you may only think about how much gas you’re using when you’re almost empty or filling up at the pump. When you add it all up, about 7.5 million barrels of oil were used last year to get us from Point A to Point B last year. That’s because ground transportation used approximately 30 percent of the total 29 million barrels of crude oil imported into our state in 2016. In other words, that’s a lot of gas!
Following the state’s commitment of 100 percent clean energy by 2045, local renewable energy stakeholders, including Ulupono Initiative, are looking into how to align our transportation goals. Our investment focus has been on electric vehicles (EV), particularly in EV infrastructure, such as our support of the Volta and OpConnect public charging networks in the islands [link to portfolio pages]. We are also a founding member of the Drive Electric Hawaii (DEH) Coalition, formed in late 2016 with the state’s electrical utilities (Hawaiian Electric and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative), State of Hawaii (Departments of Transportation and Business, Economic Development and Tourism), Blue Planet Foundation and Rocky Mountain Institute.
While much of our work centers on collaborating with like-minded organizations such as our DEH partners, we also recognize the importance of community input and involvement. That is why we found the recent transportation sessions at the Kauai Energy Conference and VERGE Hawaii conference to be so valuable. In addition to sharing our views, we were able to engage with those who have an interest and are open to collaborating creative ideas. 

During the DEH panel at VERGE Hawaii, the session’s moderator Lisa Jerram of Navigant Research pointed out that Hawaii currently ranks among the top five in the nation for plug-in vehicle sales per capita. So, if it seems like you’ve been seeing more EVs on the roads, you’re correct!
Jerram also shared a forecast -- by 2025, Navigant project that 17 percent of new cars sold in Hawaii will be in plug-in vehicles. While we think it’s a conservative estimate, especially compared to Norway’s goal of 100 percent, it’s good to imagine a future where more people are choosing to replace their gas guzzler with an EV. Here is why we feel EVs are here to stay and will only become more popular:

As we continue our work with our own investments, DEH and other efforts, we will continue to keep you updated on the road to more EVs in Hawaii.


1 Hawaii State Energy Office, “Hawaii Energy Facts & Figures,” May 2017