If you’ve been reading Greentech Media and, frankly, any other national energy beat, you’re well aware that Hawaii is at the forefront of the energy revolution. We set a goal of 100% renewables by 2045, NextEra announced a deal to buy Hawaiian Electric, Governor David Ige publicly opposed the deal, and solar tax credits became the talk of the town.
Governor David Ige; President & CEO of Hawaiian Electric, Alan Oshima; CEO of NextEra, Eric Gleason; former Chairwoman of Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission, Hermina Morita; and others from across the state and nation will come together at the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit (August 24-26) to discuss these issues.
To provide context to the discussion, we co-wrote an article with U.S. Senator Brian Schatz describing our journey toward a clean energy future. In one of our favorite parts of the article, we describe how getting to 100% renewable will require innovation:
“As we shift from oil to renewable energy there will certainly be growing pains, but the answer to these challenges is not to slow the pace of change. These challenges present opportunities for innovation and new businesses to flourish. We need to embrace change and support initiatives to systemically integrate new technologies and transform our energy system.”
Check out the full article below and on Medium.
The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed… yet.
by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, Hawaii & Dawn Lippert, Director of Energy Excelerator
It is possible to look into the future.
As the NY Times put it in their article from April 18th, Hawaii is truly “on the forefront of worldwide changes”.
In other words, if you want to look into the future, look to Hawaii.
Here in Hawaii, we are proud to announce that we recently passed a bill requiring the state to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable energy resources by 2045. Our state sends $5 billion out of the state every year to buy oil. That shocking figure means that every woman, man, and child in the state spends over $4,000 per year on imported oil. They also bear the risk that our famous beaches and visitor industry face from oil spills… which are all too common these days.
For all of these reasons, Hawaii has been moving aggressively to become energy independent and cleaner. We’ve more than doubled the amount of renewable energy statewide in the last 7 years, from 9% to 21% today. Right now our state boasts the highest percentage of solar in the country, with 12% of homes having solar installed.
To be sure, this aggressive move towards renewables has also brought complications and challenges. Our local utilities have understandably been hard-pressed to adapt the grid to accommodate the influx of solar and renewables. There have been significant backlogs of frustrated customers who have solar panels sitting on their roofs, but are waiting to be connected to the grid.
As we shift from oil to renewable energy there will certainly be growing pains, but the answer to these challenges is not to slow the pace of change. These challenges present opportunities for innovation and new businesses to flourish. We need to embrace change and support initiatives to systemically integrate new technologies and transform our energy system.
One such initiative is the Energy Excelerator, a public-private partnership supported by the U.S. Navy, the Department of Energy, and private investors. The accelerator uses Hawaii as a testbed for new technologies that will profitably ensure a stable climate for future generations and help us meet our ambitious goal of 100% renewable energy.
It’s working — out of the 32 companies it has funded to date, 10 are now working with the utility to integrate more renewable energy.
These include a distributed battery company that helps businesses lower their energy costs and simultaneously provides energy storage for the utility to balance the grid. Another makes smart electrical plugs that allow businesses, schools, and military bases to turn off printers and other devices that are not in use and connects these plugs to the utility to better manage the grid.
It’s these win-win solutions that can scale new solutions for climate change while also creating jobs.
Hawaii, the newest state, is certainly unique, but our solutions are a lens to the future for all of us.