Newsweek reports, Hawaii Is Aiming for 100 Percent Energy Renewables. Can the Nation Follow?

A view of houses with solar panels in the Mililani neighborhood on the island of Oahu in Mililani, Hawaii, December 15, 2013. In just 10 years, Hawaii has evolved from the state most reliant on fossil fuels to the most forward-looking renewable-energy producer, the authors write. HUGH GENTRY/REUTERS

As G7 world leaders in Germany on June 8 agreed to phase out fossil fuel use by the end of the century, that transition has begun in earnest on the other side of the world.

With Hawaii Governor David Ige’s signature, a 30-year countdown begins. By 2045, Hawaii’s utilities must generate 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. This makes the 50th state the first to set its sights on a 100 percent renewable grid, achieving what many thought impossible just a few years ago.

With rising seas already lapping at the foundations of the hotels along Waikiki Beach, Hawaii’s climate debate is over. The Aloha State is successfully proving that a clean and safe renewable-energy economy can save consumers money, create jobs and hedges against the worst impacts of climate change.

This new ambitious target demonstrates what is possible for the nation and proves that the obstacles to transition are not economic or technological. They are political, but they can—and must—be overcome.

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