A rare hurricane is bearing down on Hawaii, and it raises concerns about the state’s unusual electric power system.
At the heart of the problem is a dirty secret: The island paradise still burns petroleum to provide most of its electric power. Hawaii has pledged to go 100 percent renewable by 2045, but petroleum-fired power plants still produce about two-thirds of its large-scale power generation.
That’s fairly rare in the developed world, but it’s not uncommon in remote locations with isolated power systems. Hawaii certainly fits that profile, and it makes the state’s electric power system uniquely vulnerable to hurricanes.