National organizations cite Hawaii clean energy leadership and innovation

Release Date: 2/10/2020

Download PDF

HONOLULU, Feb. 10, 2020 ‐ Two nationally recognized organizations are highlighting Hawaii’s leadership and innovation in clean energy transformation.

In the 90-page report, "Powering Paradise: How Hawaii Is Leaving Fossil Fuels and Forging a Path to a 100% Clean Energy Economy," (rmi.org/insight/powering-paradise/), researchers for the Rocky Mountain Institute conclude that the numerous technical, financial and regulatory challenges met by Hawaii energy stakeholders, including its utilities, provide practical strategies for other states embarking on their own energy transformations. The report notes:

"Beyond its natural beauty, Hawaii has also become recognized for its leadership paving a path to an economy powered by renewable energy…

"Hawaii’s utilities are leading on the implementation of innovative electric planning and procurement processes, customer solar and demand management programs, and advanced rate designs that will allow the state to achieve that 100 percent target. The operationalization of these strategies has been directed by consistent regulatory guidance that has set the course for utility evolution and ensures alignment of utility incentives with customer needs and state policy goals…

"The culture of relentless innovation that permeates Hawaii continues to be cultivated by this community. Together, these organizations and individuals constitute a broad ecosystem of bold, committed change agents that are demonstrating that a decarbonized energy system is not only possible but also practical and necessary."

Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute is an independent non-profit established in 1982 by physicist Amory Lovins to foster sustainability, with a special focus on profitable innovations for energy and resource efficiency.

The magazine Public Utilities Fortnightly (fortnightly.com), which covers utility regulation and policy, features an overview of Hawaii’s efforts to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. Its February cover story includes interviews with Public Utilities Commission Chair Jay Griffin, commissioners Leo Asuncion and Jennifer Potter, several commission staffers and state Consumer Advocate Dean Nishina. Hawaiian Electric executives and staff members also discuss various initiatives including renewable energy planning and acquisition and customer programs.

"Unquestionably, Hawaii is blazing the trail to a renewable-based electricity supply system," writes Editor-in-Chief Steve Mitnick. "The state wants all electricity supply – all, as in a hundred percent – to be renewable by the year 2045. So Hawaiian Electric, the PUC and literally everybody else involved in the state’s electric industry is working toward this unprecedented and challenging goal."

These reports are the latest recognitions for Hawaii and its electric utilities, which have been cited numerous times for a shared commitment to sustainability and energy independence. Hawaiian Electric was named 2019 Utility of the Year by Utility Dive, a leading online energy industry publication, and in 2018 the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) named Hawaiian Electric the Investor-Owned Utility of the Year.