Hawaiʻi residents overwhelmingly support more renewable energy with electricity costs being the main factor

May 23, 2024

Ulupono Initiative Releases Survey Results on Public Opinion Sentiments

KAHULUI, MAUI — This morning at the 11th Annual Hawaiʻi Energy Conference on Maui, Ulupono Initiative released what is believed to be the most extensive and comprehensive public opinon survey on the topic of energy in Hawaiʻi.

Ulupono commissioned the survey of full-time Hawaiʻi residents to test long-standing assumptions around public perception and acceptance of renewable energy projects. Eighty-eight percent of the residents who responded are registered voters. “We’re at a transition point where the next decade will be very critical for the state to meet our clean energy goals,” said Michael Colón, director of energy for Ulupono Initiative. “It’s important to understand how people are feeling about specific technologies, and this survey has provided vital insights that can help us shape Hawaiʻi’s energy future in collaboration with communities.”

From October 2023 through January 2024, Anthology Research surveyed nearly 2,000 residents in all four Hawaiʻi counties. Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • 91% said they are supportive of expanding renewable energy in the state
    • The neighbor islands had slightly higher support compared to Oʻahu
  • Residents in all counties placed a high importance on developing our own resources
    • Producing inexpensive electricity was the most important factor behind the support
  • About two-thirds say individuals play a role in the expansion of renewable energy, while one-third say it should be the government’s responsibility

The survey further explored geothermal, utility-scale solar, land-based wind, offshore wind, and fossil fuel plants.

“We’re excited to be expanding our support and emphasis on geothermal technology,” said Colón. “We think it’s very crucial for the next phase of energy deployment in the state because it’s among the least carbon-intensive resources on a life-cycle basis to provide 24-hour electricity generation. We wanted to better understand what people know about geothermal and where there are opportunities to engage with communities.” 

To view a summary of the survey results, visit https://ulupono.com/project-list/statewide-energy-survey/.

About Ulupono Initiative

Ulupono Initiative was founded in 2009 and strives to improve the quality of life for the people of Hawai‘i by working toward sustainable solutions that support and promote locally produced food, renewable energy, clean transportation choices, and better management of freshwater resources. For more information about Ulupono Initiative, visit ulupono.com or connect with Ulupono on FacebookInstagram, LinkedIn and X.