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We Joined a Gang… Greentech Media’s Energy Gang!

January 22, 2016

· 3 min read
Elemental Excelerator

For their 3rd episode of 2016, titled “How Startups and Incumbents Are Collaborating to Make Hawaii 100% Renewable“, Stephen Lacy, Jigar Shah, and Katherine Hamilton focused on Hawaii’s unique approach to funding, deploying, and supporting innovation. The discussion centered around 3 key points:

1. What’s missing on our quest to accelerate innovative energy solutions? Capital, but not in the way you may think…

By ‘capital’, we mean financial innovation. Our most successful companies have been able to knit together different pieces of the capital pipeline the finance they need to scale is there before they need it. We’ve seen this with Stem, which has combined equity capital with grant funding and project finance to deploy 85+ MW of energy storage across Hawaii and California, and we’ve seen this with Go Electric, who started off developing microgrid systems for the military and are now providing UPS systems to customers and paying for them with demand response services.

2. We’re moving toward closing the gap between technology and policy… because the market is demanding it.

Hawaii is unique in that the same person leads innovation and the state’s energy policy board (just in case you didn’t guess who that person is, it’s Dawn!). That says something about how important we believe innovation is for our state. What does rapidly changing policy mean for innovation? Let’s look at residential storage, for example. We’re seeing companies figure out a business model for residential storage and it’s happening in Hawaii first because we have high levels of distributed, intermittent renewable energy (the most solar capacity per capital) and pay about 4 times the national average for electricity.

3. What is going on in Hawaii has implications beyond Hawaii.

Our state is seeing rapid change in energy policy and rapid deployment of innovation. But as we saw during and after Paris, other states and countries are heading down the same path Hawaii committed itself to in June 2015 – 100% renewable energy. “Hawaii’s going first because it has to,” said Greentech Media Reporter, Jeff St. John in one of his 2015 articles.

Listen to the full podcast here:

Get up to speed on Hawaii’s energy system with these helpful resources:

Get up to speed on Hawaii’s energy system with these helpful resources:

For updates on Hawaii’s energy mix, 2015 policy achievements, and RPS: Hawaii State Energy Office’s Annual Report
For a real-time display of Hawaii’s energy usage: Island Pulse (created by Blue Planet Foundation; data from Hawaiian Electric)