A number of key decision makers from throughout the state and nation exchanged ideas on the challenges associated with replacing fossil fuels with diverse and renewable energy resources during the 6th Annual Hawaii Energy Conference (HEC) and Exhibition at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Presented by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) and supported by the County of Maui Office of Economic Development, this year’s conference theme was Innovation in Practice.
“MEDB has focused on the importance of investment, the technical and policy challenges, and the centrality of consumers in the journey,” said Frank De Rego, Jr., Vice Chair, Conference Program Committee, and Director of Business Development Projects at MEDB. “HEC participants benefited from the conference’s thought-provoking keynote speakers, panel sessions, case studies, and exhibits, with ample networking time.”
A highlight of HEC was the signing of a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by James Griffin, Chairman of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC), and Michael Picker, President of the California PUC.
According to Griffin, “The MOU establishes a framework for the Hawaii and California PUCs to collaborate toward the implementation of clean, renewable energy. It also gives us a more formal way of sharing resources.” Picker noted, “California and Hawaii have the same kind of challenges. Hawaii has large amounts of solar on very thin grids, which we have in many parts of our state. We are eager to work together.”
Governor Ige added, “Hawaii is at the forefront for a 100-percent renewable energy future. The goal is for the utility, consumers, and investors to have the right incentives to create a win-win for all.”
Hawaii Commissioner Jennifer Potter concluded, “The California and Hawaii PUCs will now officially collaborate to address climate change, reduce the use of fossil fuels, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By entering into a MOU, staff at each Commission will undertake actions within their mandate to further these goals. This was a remarkable opportunity for the Hawaii PUC to make a strong public commitment to reducing carbon emissions and accelerate clean energy in our state. I am honored to have worked on the MOU.”
Hawaii’s goal is to be truly sustainable and self-reliant.
David Y. Ige, Governor of the State of Hawaii