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Federal infrastructure funds could help Hawaiʻi become more energy efficient

An electric vehicle charging station is seen at a BP gas station in Bridge, N.J. on May 6. The lack of widespread infrastructure for electric vehicles is seen as a major impediment to the sales of these cars.
Kena Betancur
AFP via Getty Images

The state is set to receive billions of dollars from the federal infrastructure bill. Some of that money will help advance clean energy initiatives in the islands.

The organization Hawaiʻi Energy reviewed the recently enacted bipartisan plan and identified clean energy opportunities for the state and local businesses.

Some options the state could use the money for include: electric vehicle infrastructure, energy efficiency grants and a program to reduce transportation emissions.

There are also grants available for local businesses to advance clean energy programs and projects.

Hawaiʻi Energy Executive Director Brian Kealoha says the federal aid will help communities become more energy efficient – resulting in savings for businesses and residents.

"We know that energy efficiency projects will make a big impact not only on energy usage, but it also helps in terms of driving down overall operating costs, which will help businesses pay for other, maybe, expenditures or deal with the challenges they’re facing," Kealoha said.

"Additionally, I think we all benefit from projects that go out into the public sector. For example, the grants that are coming down for public schools – we’re all taxpayers – being able to leverage some of that funding to drive down the energy costs with our schools will also help allocate taxpayer resources more effectively."

Kealoha says the federal money will go a long way to supporting the state’s goal of 100% clean or renewable energy by 2045.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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