Hawaii recently shut down its last coal-fired electricity production center.
The shutdown is part of its effort to reduce the use of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, and to increase the use of renewable energy resources.
coal Factory I worked for 30 years. It produced up to a fifth of electricity on Oahu, the most populous island in Hawaii. The state has a population of nearly 1.5 million.
In 2020, the Hawaii legislature passed a law banning the use of coal for energy production by the beginning of 2023. Hawaii has set a goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. It was the first state to set such a target.
Hawaii Governor David Ige recently spoke with the Associated Press. “It’s really about reducing greenhouse gases,” he said. Scientists say that greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere trap heat and contribute to Air temperature rise. Ige said the power plant emitted 1.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases every year.
People in the state say the Hawaiian Islands have suffered from the effects of climate change. These effects include the destruction of coral reefs from rising sea temperatures, rising sea levels, severe storms, and drought This increases the risk of wildfires in the state.
However, not everyone thinks that shutting down a power plant is a good idea. They say the country will now have to burn more oil because the coal plant is no longer operating. Oil is currently much more expensive than coal and causes the same amount of pollution.
Hawaii has the highest energy and living costs in the United States. Hawaii Electric Company has estimated that eliminating coal and the additional cost of oil would result in a 7 percent increase in electricity bills for both consumers. The estimate was later lowered to 4 percent based on reports of lower oil prices.
Democratic Senator Glenn Wakai said Hawaii is changing “from… Cheaper Fossil fuels to the most expensive fossil fuels.” He also said, “If you pay the electricity bill, this is a disastrous day for you.”
Hawaii joins 10 other states that do not produce electricity from coal. This information comes from Global Energy Monitor, an organization Promotes Use of renewable energy around the world.
In 2001, there were about 1,100 coal burning plants in the United States. More than half of them have since stopped working, and most of them have stopped working switch for natural gas.
Hawaii actually gets about 40 percent of its power from sustainable Sources including wind energy, solar energy, hydropower and geothermal energy. But oil provides more than half of the electricity.
Kurt Vivella is a Republican Senator. He suggested that Hawaiian Electric and other energy companies pay some additional costs for the change to renewable energy.
Hawaii Electric Company is the state’s sole electricity provider. She said she can do little to change the prices consumers pay because she does not set prices. Jim Kelly, a company official said, “We don’t make any money from the fuel we use build up Electricity.”
AES Corporation is the operator of the last coal plant in Hawaii. “Renewable energy is getting cheaper by the day,” said Leonardo Moreno, Head of Clean Energy at AES. He said he could see a future in which renewable energy would be low-cost and plentiful.
Scott Glenn is Hawaii’s chief energy officer. He said the cost of coal is increasing. He said Hawaii gets its charcoal clearcut Rainforests in Indonesia.
“We are already feeling the effects of climate change,” Glenn also said. He said it’s not fair to ask states or other nations to help with climate change if Hawaii doesn’t help either. “If we don’t,” he said, “we drown.”
I’m Andrew Smith.
Caleb Jones reported this story for the Associated Press. Andrew Smith adapted it for VOA Learning English.
The words in this story
Factory -n. A building or factory in which something is made
contribute to -Fifth. to participate in achieving a result; To be partially responsible for the outcome
emit -Fifth. To release a substance or energy into the environment, such as heat, gas, sound, and the like.
drought -n. Long period of time without rain, which often leads to water shortage.
consumers -n. Those who use and/or purchase materials and services
Cheap -din. low cost
promote -Fifth. to encourage or invite
Transformation -Fifth. To change from doing or using one thing to another
sustainable -din. Can be used or renewed for an indefinite period of time in the future
build up -Fifth. to produce; To make or to invent
plentiful -din. In large quantities and more than enough
clearcut -din. In the forests, where all trees and plants were cut down and removed
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