Amy Myers Jaffe, a research professor at Tuft’s University, boldly declared in the Wall Street Journal, “The electrification of (almost) everything is coming, and we’re just not ready for it.” The 9th Annual Hawaii Energy Conference will explore the theme “Electrification: Where are we now? What does the future hold?” as it revisits the challenges of electrifying the grid and transportation – current successes, potential pitfalls, and future opportunities.
Presented by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) and supported by the County of Maui Office of Economic Development, the conference will again be virtual and will feature keynotes, panel discussions, interviews and exhibits over two days – May 10 and 12.
The concept of electrification usually refers to a loosely defined slogan – the “electrification of everything,” explained Frank De Rego, Jr., Director of Business Development Projects, MEDB, and Co-Chair of the Program Committee. “In essence, electrification means all the energy we rely on to power our homes, offices, industries, and transportation will eventually come from electricity. For a growing number of states in the U.S. that energy must be produced by 100% clean, renewable sources by a date certain – for Hawaii it’s the year 2045.”
Electrification has created the potential for new technologies associated with the production and use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel source and has necessitated innovations in battery storage for utilities and transportation. Electrification also demands attention, among other things, to upgrading the grid, working out a reasonable and responsive regulatory framework, and responding to community needs and concerns.
“There is no doubt that the push to Electrification will affect our way of life,” stated De Rego. “A study by Princeton University predicts that by 2050 electrifying transport and buildings could double the amount of electricity consumption in the U.S.”
He continued, “Our communities will need to develop disciplined, proportional responses to the challenges Electrification poses. Strategies for energy efficiency and the equitable distribution of electrification’s benefits must balance building capacity for increased consumption.”
The two-day discussion will review the issues surrounding electrification with the following thoughts in mind: How do we define “electrification” and is it the same everywhere? How are the community’s needs and concerns being addressed as the infrastructure for electrification become more prevalent? How is resilience being brought into the equation of electrification? What has been and will be the impact of COVID-19 on customers of the utility? What should the climate goals of electrification be – net zero carbon, net negative carbon, or zero emissions? What is the role of hydrogen in electrification? …and more
With in-person gatherings still impacted by COVID-19, the virtual presentation allows the energy industry leaders from Hawaii, the Continental U.S., Japan and Europe to continue to exchange ideas on how to better serve the community in today’s rapidly changing power generation and delivery environment.
The conference will also include a virtual exhibit hall for companies to showcase their products and services and connect with attendees. The virtual venue will be open up to a week in advance, encouraging attendees to network to connect and build important relationships prior to, during and after the conference.
Frank De Rego, Jr, (pictured right) Director of Business Development Projects, MEDB and Co-Chair of Conference Program Committee hosts the 2021 Hawaii Energy Conference with former Chair, Doug McLeod