With more than 90 percent of Hawaii’s energy needs dependent on imported fossil fuels, we are particularly vulnerable to supply shortages. Unlike in years past, less than 4% of Hawaii’s petroleum consumption originates from domestic U.S. supplies; the remainder comes from foreign sources and depends increasingly on Middle Eastern sources. With rapidly escalating energy costs, negative impacts of energy importation can be expected to intensify in the future. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop local energy production capacity to improve Hawaii’s energy security and the State economy.
Parallel to this need is the mission of the national Sun Grant Initiative to grow renewable energy and biobased industries that revitalize rural communities by harnessing science and technological capacities of research, education and extension programs at the U.S. Land-Grant Universities.