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Powering Up: Energy in Hawaii

A Special Report from the State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT)

(page 2 of 9)

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Japan-based NEDO President Hideo Hato agree to pursue a $37 million partnership to test smart grid technologies on Maui.

The Time is Now for Clean Energy

In August 2010, Gov. Neil Abercrombie launched his “New Day Plan,” which aimed to transform the state’s energy policies and reinvigorate Hawai‘i’s economy. The governor shares his insights on what he considers the “most important” economic enterprise today: Hawai‘i’s pursuit of becoming 70 percent energy independent by the year 2030.

Hawai‘i has been talking about becoming energy independent for more than 40 years. That problem is even more urgent today.

In recent months, my  administration has taken bold steps that will lay the groundwork for reducing this decades-long dependence on foreign oil and position Hawai‘i as a leader in the clean energy sector.

Clean energy will serve as a cornerstone of Hawai‘i’s economy for generations.

This year, we worked closely with legislators, energy companies, environmental groups and other stakeholders to pass a measure that establishes the regulatory structure for financing and installing an undersea interisland transmission cable that could connect renewable energy sources—solar, geothermal, wind, small hydroelectric and ocean technologies—onto a single transmission system. This is not about one island producing energy for another.

If we are truly serious about making progress in the area of energy, our state must move away from insufficient, island-by-island silos and toward a reliable, statewide power network that is able to employ all available alternative energy options for the benefit of us all.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism is now tracking over 80 renewable energy projects that are either operating today or are in the process of doing so. These are high impact solutions that provide a great opportunity for the creation of high-paying jobs.

Projects like these could generate much of the energy that’s being produced in the islands and bring us closer to our clean energy goals for the year 2030.

Hawai‘i as a clean tech role model.

In November, I signed two international agreements that underscore the state’s critical development as a clean tech testbed.

The first was signed during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit with the China Council for Promotion of International Trade to pursue mutual interests in clean energy development. The second with Japan-based New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) is a $37 million in research and development partnership to test advanced smart grid technologies on the island of Maui.

The state is in the midst of finalizing a third partnership with South Korea to test smart grid technologies in hotels and the electric vehicles markets on O‘ahu.

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