Hawaiʻi just made history! SB2629 became law, solidifying the end of coal burning in Hawaiʻi before 2023. This is a huge step forward in our journey to 100% clean renewable energy, as the AES coal-fired plant in Kapolei, Oʻahu is the last coal plant in the islands. This also means that after 2022, the toxic coal ash resulting from the AES coal plant will no longer be transported to the PVT landfill in Nānākuli where it is used to blanket the day’s trash—harming the workers’ and surrounding communities’ health and air quality.
“Ending coal in Hawaii is a big win for our communities and environment,” said Jodi Malinoski, Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter Policy Advocate. “Coal burning, and the resulting toxic ash, has harmed the islands for far too long. We are eager to make coal a thing of the past and are grateful for the community members, volunteers and lawmakers that helped make this milestone a reality.”
We want to thank our CapitolWatch supporters for their support on these bills. The Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi has worked towards this moment for several years and we are excited to see it finally happen. We also extend a huge thank you to Rep. Nicole Lowen for championing this bill—take a moment to thank her, via email, for her support and hard work!
But this news isn’t just big for Hawaiʻi—closing the AES coal plant in West Oʻahu also marks 60% of the coal plants across the United States being retired. This milestone doubles the Sierra Club’s original goal, set in 2011, which pledged to retire 30 percent of the nation’s coal fleet by 2020 and accelerate the United States’ transition to a clean energy economy.
In anticipation of the coal plant closure in 2022, Hawaiian Electric Industries announced 8 projects selected for renewable energy projects on Oʻahu. These projects are solar-plus-storage, ensuring energy capture for electricity generation around the clock. Clean energy projects, done right, are better for the environment and lower electricity rates for our communities.