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Understanding Sea Water Air Condition in Waikīkī

For this project, UH Sea Grant brought together its Center for Sustainable Coastal Tourism, the University of Hawai'i Economic Research Organization (UHERO), and the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE). The Center for Sustainable Coastal Tourism, with its extensive community networks in and around Waikīkī, managed the community outreach program. UHERO, and its Energy & Greenhouse Gas Solutions (EGGS) research program, provided in-depth research into and analysis of Hawai'i's energy and economic infrastructure and future. C-MORE conducted the microbial testing and analysis that formed the basis for the assessment of potential environmental impacts of locating a SWAC system in Waikīkī.

The scope of this work contains three components: 1) an extended, independent analysis of implementing a district-wide SWAC system for Waikīkī compared to business-as-usual (BAU) and a selection of alternative renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) options; 2) a focus on minimizing potential impacts on the coastal ecosystem as it relates to oceanography, in particular microbial oceanography; and, 3) a public outreach program to ensure stakeholders and the general community understand the implications of SWAC in relation to current AC technology and practices, while providing them an opportunity to contribute to the process of SWAC development.

Dependence on Fossil Fuels

Hawai'i is the most fossil fuel dependent state in the nation and is the only state in the country that generates most of its electricity from oil. In fact, oil supplies the state with around 75% of its electricity. In comparison, the rest of the country relies heavily on coal, natural gas, and nuclear power of electricity generation, all of which have always had more stability and higher reliability in terms of price and availability.

Hawai'i Clean Energy Initiative

In 2008, an agreement between the Hawai'i State government and the US Department of Energy helped establish the guidelines to transition the state's energy infrastructure from one primarily based on fossil fuels, to one that reduced its energy intensity and utilized more renewable energy. The goal is to reduce the state's oil consumption by 72% by 2030 (30% of which is to be derived from increased efficiency), with milestones along the way. Many of the policies outlined in the memorandum of understanding were subsequently formalized in the statutes that expanded upon the State's renewable energy portfolio standards (HRS 269-92) and energy efficiency portfolio standards (HRS 269-96). For large buildings and hotels, particularly in tropical climates, air conditioning (AC) represents the single major source of energy demand and cost. An estimated 42% of Hawai'i hotel energy consumption is used for AC, while AC represents 34% of Hawai'i office building energy consumption (Eley Associates, 2004).

- Eley Associates. (2004). Hawaii commercial building guidelines for energy efficiency (R. T. D. Energy, Trans.).
  Honolulu: Dept. of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, State of Hawaii.