To address two goals of our 10 Point Plan, the Forum has supported (i) research and development of alternative energy sources (eg. hydrogen, wave energy) and (ii) extensive and broad-based discussion of Hawaiiʻs options in renewables, including bioenergy (biomass and biofuels). There is potential for locally produced biomass and biofuels to replace at least some of the imported fossil fuels used in Hawaii. In the electricity sector, as intermittent and variable renewable sources (wind, solar, hydropower, and wave) increase their presence, there is a need for energy that is "dispatchable" (i.e. is available when it's needed); currently, that need is generally met by fossil fuels. Fossil fuel use is also high in the transportation sector, and there are opportunities for bio-based fuels to contribute to meeting ground, aviation, and marine fuel needs. The Forum continues to support Hawaiiʻs comprehensive understanding and innovative approach to bioenergy.
The Forum, in response to HCR 195 (2006), coordinated and co-sponsored the Hawaii Agriculture Bioenergy Workshop to explore the potential for a domestic bioenergy and biofuels future. Co-sponsors were: DBEDT/U.S. Department of Energy, Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawai‘i Agricultural Leadership Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, UH College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources and Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute. The goals of this workshop were to inform stakeholders about recent legislation, publicize federal and state incentives and funding opportunities, increase collaboration and develop action steps to encourage bioenergy crop production. Participants include farmers, landowners, the business community, renewable energy advocates and others who seek to stimulate expansion of Hawaii's bioenergy industry.
Based on recommendations from the Hawai‘i Bioenergy Workshop and other discussions with stakeholders, the Forum developed legislation to initiate the development of a Hawaii Bioenergy Master Plan (see the Forumʻs report to the Legislature). Completed in December 2009, the Hawaii Bioenergy Master Plan Project was established and funded under Part III of Act 253, Session Laws of Hawaii (2007). The Act called for the preparation of a bioenergy master plan to “set the course for the coordination and implementation of policies and procedures to develop a bioenergy industry in Hawaii." The primary objective of the plan was to develop a Hawaii renewable biofuels program for power generation and transportation as we transition to energy self-sufficiency.