By Amanda Weston

Hawaii has set ambitious energy goals in the face of global warming: the state wants to run completely on renewable energy by 2045.

Connie Lau, the president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries and chairman of Hawaiian Electric Company, said the shift makes economic and environmental sense.

"Hawaii for the longest time has imported a lot of fossil fuel, and so all of that is actually a big hole in our economy because we're sending all those dollars out of the state to buy imported fossil fuels," Lau said in an interview Monday on Cheddar.

The state has expanded its use of renewables from 8 percent to about 27 percent in the past decade. It's also second in the number of electric cars per capital, behind California.

Though President Trump has called for a resurgence of coal and aims to bring back industry jobs, that doesn't make much sense for Hawaii, which doesn't have direct access to fossil fuels. Lau said her company, which provides power to 95 percent of Hawaii, is committed to expanding renewables with a focus on wind and solar.

"We live in a part of the United States that has very different economics when it comes to the energy picture. So, not having coal or having natural gas or even hydro really changes the picture for us in Hawaii," Lau said. "When you're dealing with energy and you're dealing with natural resources, it's very location-specific. So you've got to really think about what you've got in your own community and what you can take advantage of."

Lau said Hawaii is on track to be 30 percent renewable by 2020, and the ultimate goal is within reach.

For full interview, [click here] (