I had the pleasure of speaking at the West Hawaii Forum the other night. It was an honor to share the floor with Isaac Moriwake (EarthJustice), Jose Dizon (Paniolo Power), Henry Curtis (Life of the Land), and Robert Harris (SunRun). The session was moderated by Bill Bugbee (Community Enterprises).
The discussions offered a variety of perspectives regarding Hawaii’s sustainability journey. We were reminded that despite the current US administration’s counter-measures against climate change mitigation strategies, the momentum towards more sustainable practices continues at the national and global level. We discussed the role of science and technology in creating innovations that enable wind and solar power to be more accessible (Paniolo Power uses water that is pumped to an elevated reservoir to generate electricity when production is low). We discussed the need for our utilities to adopt truly renewable production strategies (burning trees is not one of them), and to reinvent its role in tomorrow’s energy ecosystem. We discussed the role of electric cars in enabling our shift away from oil and the rapid adoption curve (something that will escalate as affordable long-range electric cars become available).
I walked away with a better understanding of the ‘speed bumps’ in front of us but greater confidence that we will meet our sustainability goals. Further, the discussion highlighted the need for solutions that offer a ‘win-win’ for all parties – consumers, renewable energy providers, and our utility – and the need for everyone to be engaged.