by Pal Casinto,
Special to Ka ‘Ohana
Climate change is one of the most serious challenges that we are facing. One solution is to transition to renewable energy.
According to University of Hawai‘i Maui College electronic and computer engineering technology assistant professor Mark Hoffman, who is an expert in circuit analysis, renewable energy can mitigate climate change by reducing the amount of fuel that is burned, which is the main cause of climate change. He also said that charging cars from solar or wind energy sources can help.
“Replacing fossil fuels as an energy source with sustainable power might be the most important action to fight climate change,” Hoffman said.
However, renewable energy resources do not mean 100 percent pollution-free. Renewable resources take energy and chemicals to make solar panels and batteries.
“Even a full electric car takes energy to charge the battery,” he said. That means some fuel gets burned if you plug into the grid.
In addition, not everything can be replaced by renewable energy. Airlines, for example, only run on fossil fuel.
However, the best way to kick off the transition away from fossil fuels is to replace coal with solar or wind energy for generating electricity. Installing rooftop solar panels, for instance, is a home upgrade that can drastically reduce one’s electric bills, while reducing the dependence on coal.
Many of us share the common goal of a community with fewer carbon emissions, and we are slowly making progress. According to Hawaiian Electric’s Sustainability Report in 2018, Maui County boosted the amount of renewable energy used to generate electricity in the county by 38 percent, with 23.2 percent coming from wind turbines, 13.4 percent from customer-sited solar, 1.2 percent from grid-scale solar, and .1 percent from biofuels.
The report also projected that in 2022, fossil fuels will drop by 60 percent in the state as more than a dozen wind, solar and battery projects are now planned or in construction. In addition, the report stated that carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 1.2 million tons in the state in that same time.
In our modern society, we have developed many technologies that can facilitate our day-to-day needs. However, we are increasing the damage to our environment on a massive scale and are therefore facing climate change. The very least we can do is reduce our emission of carbon dioxide and strive for 100 percent green energy.