Hawaii received its first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) this week via container ship. Hawaii Gas has been providing gas service to Hawaiians for over 100 years and has now taken the plunge to diversify its product base in an attempt to lower prices for customers.
Hawaiians currently pay the highest gas and electricity prices in the United States, mostly due to the cost of importing crude oil. Hawaii Gas hopes that by using LNG for everyday household use, like drying clothes and cooking, as well as for transportation and power production that the dependence on crude oil can be trimmed.
Because many Hawaiians place utmost importance on conserving the environment and since tourism is the number one industry on the island, utilizing a cleaner burning source of energy like natural gas seems like a good move for the islands. LNG produces 50% less CO2 emissions than coal and 30% lower emissions than oil. Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative will require 40% of Hawaii’s energy to come from renewable, or “green” energy sources by 2030; however, Hawaii cannot rely completely on renewable sources, and LNG seems to be a viable source to reduce dependence on the more expensive crude oil.
Currently, Hawaii Gas produces synthetic natural gas in an Oahu plant. Where synthetic natural gas is not available, residents use propane and a variety of alternative energy sources for power. Hawaii is one of only two states in the United States that produces synthetic natural gas, North Dakota being the other. Hawaii Gas hopes to make the use of LNG a statewide solution to help cut the petroleum dependence, leaving both synthetic and liquefied natural gas a cheaper solution for residents.
Hawaii Gas plans to receive a shipment of LNG every two to four weeks as long as they receive approval from the state Public Utilities Commission.