Our Islands, Our Future

The 9th Annual Hawaii Energy Conference (HEC), presented by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) and supported by the County of Maui Office of Economic Development, explored the theme “Electrification: Where are we now? What does the future hold?” The two-day virtual conference revisited all the aspects of electrifying the grid and transportation—current successes, potential pitfalls, and future opportunities.

Mayor Victorino stated, “MEDB is helping to lead the way to the future. Hawaii is a leading state for solar energy in the nation with a goal of 100-percent renewable energy by 2045. Our famous trade winds can help generate electricity and we have the potential to capture wave energy and geothermal for our energy needs. We have sustainable energy, and an abundance of sunshine and resources to help us. We look to the engineers, scientists, and other experts at this conference to help the people of Hawaii make a transition to renewable energy sooner than later.”

Leslie Wilkins, MEDB President and CEO said, “Electrification will completely impact how we approach the issues of energy, production, distribution, energy equity, resilience, and more. Our program focused on the challenges and opportunities before us all in building a resilient, sustainable, affordable, secure, and equitable energy future.”

“There is no doubt that the push to electrification will affect our way of life,” explained Frank De Rego, Jr., Director of Business Development Projects, MEDB, and Co-Chair of the Conference Program Committee. “Electrification demands attention, among other things, to upgrading the grid, working out a reasonable and responsive regulatory framework, and responding to community needs and concerns, including equity.”

Abigail Anthony of the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission said during her keynote at the conference, “Rhode Island, the smallest state in the country, roughly the size of Oahu, asserts that right rates and benefits are needed in order to encourage residents to convert to electrification. Electrification is no longer just for early adopters; it is ready to go to scale. We are focused on advancing equity, by making sure our customers are paying only for things that they can benefit from as well as afford.”

The 2022 HEC brought together experts on energy policy, strategies, leadership and innovation to help Hawaii reach its goal of 100-percent renewable energy sources.

Frank De Rego, Jr., MEDB Director of Business Development Projects, Co-Chair, 2022 HEC Program Committee