Hawaii Plans Solar Expansion


A non-profit Hawaiian agricultural organization is planning to build a series of solar power plants on several of the major islands. The effort is part of a broad US Department of Agriculture to embrace alternative energy forms.
For the last several years, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and President Barack Obama have encouraged the USDA to subsidize and fund green energy programs. With oil and gas prices rising and with increasing concern over greenhouse gas emission and global climate change, more and more Americans are interested in new forms of renewable energy.
While most of the USDA’s funds have focused on ethanol production, with farmers across the Corn Belt being incentivized to contribute corn to gas production, solar and wind energy have both been ongoing parts of USDA spending.
The Hawaiian proposal, suggested by the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center, would set up more than 70 solar plants across Oahu, Maui, and the Kona side of the Big Island. The plants, which will generate no more than 500 kilowatts each, will feed into the larger Hawaiian power grid. While the solar plants will not solely power the Hawaiian islands, it will help create a more sustainable future for farmers and consumers in Hawaii.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer