Hawaii Received State’s Last Shipment of Coal

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A close-up image of a pile of coal.
Source: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

In an effort to shift to renewable energy, Hawaii accepted the state’s last coal shipment on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. The 15,000 tons of coal arrived from Indonesia and went to the AES Hawaii power plant in Oahu, which is the state’s last functioning coal plant and is scheduled to close in Sep. 2022. [1] [2]

The plant’s closure is but one step in a plan initiated by Governor David Ige in 2015 when he signed HB 623 and pledged to make Hawaii “the first state in the nation to set a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) for the electricity sector.” In 2020, SB 2629 was signed into law, banning both new coal-powered plants and the extension of agreements with existing coal-burning facilities after 2022. [1] [2] [3]

On July 28, Governor Ige tweeted, “This week Hawai‘i is receiving its final shipment of coal. This is a huge step forward in Hawaiʻi’s transition to clean energy. In its time, coal was an important resource for Hawaii and I’d like to thank the workers who have run our last remaining coal plant. Renewable energy projects to replace coal are coming online with more on the way. Even as we face challenges in making this transition, it’s the right move for our communities and planet. Most importantly, it will leave Hawaiʻi a better place for our children and grandchildren.” [4]

The shift to 100% renewable energy is not without complications. As the head of Hawaii’s State Energy Office, Scott Glenn, noted, “We’ve got a harder race to run because we’re taking six standalone grids, in the middle of the ocean, to a 100% renewable energy for electricity — and we’re starting from a high fossil fuel starting point.” [2]

Hawaii has relied heavily on fossil fuel energy. In 2015, over 67% of the state’s electricity came from oil and over 15% from coal, all imported from out of state. That combination made Hawaii’s electricity costs the highest in the United States, almost three times the national average. [2]

Discussion Questions

1. Should states transition to renewable energy sources? Why or why not?

2. What should happen to decommissioned coal plants? Explain your answer(s).

3. Can renewable and alternative energies replace fossil fuels? Why or why not?


1. Zoe Sottile, “Hawaii Receives Its Last Shipment of Coal before Shuttering Last Power Plant,” cnn.com, July 30, 2022

2. Molly Taft, “Hawaii Gets Its Last Shipment of Coal, Ever,” gizmodo.com, July 29, 2022

3. David Ige, “Press Release: Governor Ige Signs Bill Setting 100 Percent Renewable Energy Goal in Power Sector,” governor.hawaii.gov, June 8, 2015

4. David Ige, twitter.com, July 28, 2022