The state unveiled a new online mapping tool Friday to showcase the distribution and locations of renewable energy resources throughout Hawaii.
It's called Renewable EnerGIS (eh-ner-JIS). The interactive tool was launched by the State Energy Office to help landowners, developers, residents and policy makers assess the renewable energy potential of sites statewide.
"This administration is committed to spurring innovative projects and activities in the energy sector that reduce Hawaii’s reliance on fossil fuels," said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. "Clean energy and technological innovation are key drivers for Hawaii’s economic growth, and this interactive tool combines both to provide a new, valuable resource for parties interested in pursuing renewable energy development opportunities in Hawaii."
Based on available data in the Office of Planning Statewide GIS (Geographic Information Systems) files, also known as "layers," Renewable EnerGIS displays the location of renewable resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric, OTEC, and wave. It will also identify related attributes including rainfall, slope, soil characteristics, land use zoning and critical habitats. It does not show existing renewable energy projects, which can be found at the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative website.
"Renewable resources are essential to helping Hawaii achieve our goal of energy independence," said Richard Lim, Director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. "EnerGIS is part of a suite of products created by our State Energy Office to enhance the overall understanding of renewable energy resources and associated permitting and siting requirements."
The Renewable EnerGIS tool is designed to be user-friendly without the need for special skills, software or experience. The user can search for renewable resource information utilizing a navigation map, a tax map key number (TMK) or a site address. A user guide is also available on the website with detailed instructions.
"A good reason to use Renewable EnerGIS is to help with 'first cut' site decisions," explained Mark Glick, State Energy Administrator. "Once you determine what renewable resources, if any, are available at a specific location, the next step would be to conduct a site survey to determine actual site attributes."
The Renewable EnerGIS tool is a joint project between DBEDT's State Energy Office and Office of Planning Statewide GIS Program.