Podcast

The risk of unforced error’ in Hawaii’s transition from coal

Will shutting down a major coal plant in Hawaii cause pollution to rise?

Hawaii wants a carbon-free electric grid by 2045. First, the island of Oahu must replace a major coal plant later this year.

But will there be enough renewable energy to fill the gap?

This week on The Carbon Copy, we examine the delays that are causing complications with Hawaii’s transition away from coal. 

We’re joined by Canary Senior Reporter Julian Spector, who recently traveled to Oahu to investigate the story.

Hawaii has long been a nationwide leader in solar development. In 2015, lawmakers crafted a law mandating an all-renewable grid within a few decades. And last year, they passed a bill that would end coal production in the state.

As large-scale solar and battery projects like the Kapolei Energy Storage facility break ground, Hawaii is inching closer to a fossil-free grid. But impediments to projects are causing concern that the grid will get dirtier — and potentially less reliable — when the AES coal plant shuts down. 

If things don’t go smoothly, it certainly could give fodder to people who say that it’s dangerous to move too fast. That would be an unforced error for the energy transition because technically, there’s no reason that this shouldn’t work,” explains Julian.

Guest: Julian Spector, senior reporter at Canary Media. 

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The Carbon Copy is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

Support for Carbon Copy comes from Climate Positive, a podcast from Hannon Armstrong, the first U.S. public company solely dedicated to investing in climate solutions. The Climate Positive podcast features candid conversations with the leaders, innovators and changemakers driving our climate-positive future. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.