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Hirono holds energy hearing in view of rising gasoline, food prices

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US Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaiʻi said Congress should provide individuals and businesses with long-term incentives to speed up the transition to cheaper, cleaner sources of power, higher energy efficiency, and more affordable transportation options.

As chair of the subcommittee on Energy, she held a hearing Wednesday to look at ways to lower energy prices in the United States long-term, including continuing tax incentives for electric car makers and increasing renewable power.

The hearing took place as gasoline prices have jumped, contributing to rising cost in food and other goods. Rising prices have followed a continuing COVID pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and a US Congressional decision to halt buying oil from Russia.

Hirono said Congress should support clean energy manufacturing and supply chains in the United States.

“As we deal with high oil and gas prices now, we need to keep our eye on how we can accelerate the transition to more affordable options while making our our country much more energy self-reliant in the long-term, like Hawaiʻi is doing,” she said.

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She said Hawaiʻi’s clean energy initiative, the first in the country, has set a goal of 100% renewable power by 2045.

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“Hawaiʻi is leading our nation’s transition to clean energy, and creating a blueprint that others can follow,” she said.

One of those testifying was Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative President David Bissel who mentioned that 45% of the island’s energy is provided by solar energy and that solar energy has helped to stabilize prices.

He said a proper amount of batteries provide a mix of firm and reliable energy.

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Earlier this year, Hawaiʻi received more than $3.6 million in federal funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program, which provides grants for households with low incomes to save money by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes.

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