New Hawaii 'Clean Economy Bank' Will Help Support Green Initiatives

Green travel is a notable and laudable trend no matter where one goes, and destinations are actively investing in green developments. According to the Honolulu Civil Beat, Hawaii is considering the creation of a "clean economy bank" that would allow clean energy companies to take out low-interest loans. Start-up funding could come from more than $10 million in federal stimulus money for energy projects that the state has yet to disburse.

This announcement seems poised to encourage eco-friendly developments on the islands, as companies take out loans for projects. But how will green initiatives impact Hawaiian tourism?

In fact, some are already in effect. Business Insider notes that due to high gasoline prices on the islands (listed at $4.45/gallon as of last week), the state is embracing electric cars. Peter Rosegg, of the Hawaiian Electric Company, told the paper that the island chain is an ideal laboratory for broad-scale conversion to vehicles powered by grid electricity.

Three local power companies--Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Company serving Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island--already offer discounted rates for off-peak charging of plug-in cars.

And public charging stations are being installed at a fast clip. The first one went live more than two years ago, in January 2010, well before either the Chevrolet Volt or the Nissan Leaf arrived at dealers in December of that year. WFMY News notes that all Element hotels, a Starwood brand, have charging stations, as do many Starwood properties, including six in Hawaii.

And hotels are taking green steps, too. Several Aqua hotels on Waikiki have eco-friendly touches like key-card-activated light switches, for example. Going forward, developers will be able to apply for funds to help add green details to their projects, encouraging more eco-friendly properties.