After three years of virtual streaming, the Hawaii Energy Conference (HEC) is returning to the Maui Arts and Cultural Center May 24-25, 2023 for an in-person gathering. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the conference is presented by the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) and will feature a mix of keynote speakers, panel discussions, case studies and an exhibit venue.
The conference will open with a keynote by Daphne Frias, a 25-year old youth activist who is a loud champion for the disabled community. Born and raised in West Harlem, NYC, Daphne has seen how minority communities are disproportionally affected by climate change — she has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to ambulate. Daphne will speak to the innate resiliency of disabled people and how that relates to adaptation and sustainability.
“Energy is a complex topic, and it is easy to get lost in the details. We rarely get to talk about the bigger purpose of our work,” added Doug McLeod, of DKK Energy Services and a member of the HEC Program Committee. “In the first ten years of this conference, the discussion evolved from whether our planet was experiencing climate change to whether our energy policies will be enough to avoid excessive climate change. Our keynote speaker this year is part of the next generation of climate leaders. Her story and her message are inspirational.”
In 2019, Daphne was appointed as one of the North American Regional Focal Points for Sustainable Development Goal 16 at the U.N. Major Group for Children and Youth. In this position, she works to highlight and represent the voice of her fellow youth and the work they are doing to become pivotal peacemakers. As a freelance organizer, she spends her time speaking at various colleges, summits, and panels. In addition, she consults with non-profits, crafting engaging campaigns highlighting the voices of Gen-Z.
“Daphne is a really great spokesperson for personal resilience, for accessibility and she does an amazing amount of community organizing,” said Jonathan Koehn, a founding member of the HEC Program Committee and Chief Sustainability & Resilience Officer, City of Boulder. “I think it’s a good opportunity for the conference to kick-off with a discussion oriented to those who are most vulnerable in our communities.”
Daphne’s presentation will segue into a segment of panels that focus on community engagement and empowerment as it relates to energy. The discussion will look at new ways of engagement including the new participatory budgeting model and Molokai’s recently approved community-based renewable energy project.
A second focus area of the 2023 program will look at Hawaii’s clean-energy goals in which panels will question:
It takes how long for a building permit? A discussion on the challenges and solutions of permitting for distributed energy resources like rooftop PV and lithium-ion batteries.
What does the data say? This panel will discuss the different “100%” goals involving Renewable Energy, Carbon, and sustainability, whether Hawaii is on track to meet them and whether the focus needs to change?
Why are large scale renewables across the US coming online slower than expected, and often at higher cost? Wren Westcoatt of Longroad Energy will lead this developers’ roundtable.
A third focus area of the 2023 Hawaii Energy Conference will look at new tools and technologies in the renewable energy domain, including geothermal, aviation fuel, energy storage, and use of hydrogen.
The HEC consistently attracts energy leaders from Hawaii, the Continental U.S., Asia-Pacific, and more exchange ideas on how to better serve our communities in today’s rapidly changing power generation and delivery environment. It is supported by the County of Maui Office of Economic Development and 2023 Sponsors: Johnson Controls, Ulupono Initiative, Hawaiian Electric, AES, Kamehameha Schools, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, Sunrun and STEM Energy.
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.
Energy industry leaders participated in a panel at the 2019 Hawaii Energy Conference L to R: Abigail Anthony, Rhode Island PUC: Michael Picker, President of the California PUC; Governor David Ige; Jennifer Potter, Hawaii PUC; with moderator Matthew McDonnell, Navigant Energy Practice.
The 7th annual Hawai’i Energy Conference will explore the timely issues of beneficial electrification and the design of an equitable energy transition. The dates are March 18 and 19, 2020. Presented by the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) and supported by the County of Maui Office of Economic Development, the Hawai’i Energy Conference is the leading energy conference in the islands and brings together regional and national experts on energy policy, strategies, leadership and innovation.
Participants will take a deep dive into how electrification can be “beneficial”. As more functions are served by electricity, demand for electricity will rise. This opens pathways for more deployment of renewable generation, which supports the sort of ambitious decarbonization goals that state legislatures throughout the nation are enacting.
“Keynote and panel presenters will attempt to answer a number of questions regarding the benefits, challenges, and practical limits of electrification”, said Doug McLeod, Conference Chair. “How can this concept have meaning so that ‘beneficial’ does not become another throwaway word like ‘clean’ or ‘green’? How does beneficial electrification differ from low cost energy and ideas of what is just?”
Given the wildfire issues affecting the West, will there be the same access to electricity for those who cannot afford microgrids or DERs? Can an electrified system be more resilient and efficient? What are the alternatives to electrification?
When exploring equity, the conference will consider how we can break through economic, cultural and linguistic barriers to ensure that we have an energy system that works for everyone. Where should we invest and put equity into equity? What does an equitable energy transition look like? Is it possible to create a transition that respects local cultures, is socially just, and protects our most vulnerable?
The 2019 Hawaii Energy Conference featured an MOU signing with PUC’s of Hawaii and California. L to R: James Griffin, Chairman Hawaii PUC; Michael Picker, President California PUC
“These topics are not unique to Hawai’i,” says Frank De Rego, Jr., Director of Business Development Projects at MEDB and Program Committee Vice-Chair. “Whether someone lives on an island or not, they will benefit from participating in the conversation to explore pathways to creating an equitable, resilient energy system of the future.”
The HEC consistently attracts energy industry leaders from Hawai’i, the Mainland, Japan and Europe to exchange ideas on how to better serve customers in the Islands’ rapidly changing energy environment. Participants can take advantage of the ample networking time and have access to the leading experts in the state.
Registration for the March event, held at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului, will be launched in December.
Alice Madden, Executive Director, Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources and former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy
The Maui Energy Conference returns to the Maui Arts and Cultural Center on March 14-15, celebrating its Fifth Anniversary.
Alice Madden, Executive Director of the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment at Colorado Law and keynote speaker at the first Maui Energy Conference in 2014, will open this year’s second day with a reflection on the tremendous changes that have occurred in Hawaii and the nation’s energy landscape over the last five years.
Alice started her distinguished career as a lawyer, specializing in employment, civil rights and anti-discrimination law. Elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 2000, she served as Majority Leader from 2005 – 2008. Her legislative priorities included helping build the foundation for a sustainable energy economy.
Subsequently, Alice served as Climate Change Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and later held the Timothy E. Wirth Chair in Sustainable Development at CU Denver. In 2013, she accepted an appointment to the U.S. Department of Energy where she served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental & External Affairs.
Her current priorities at the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment include bridging the gap between research and practice by drawing on the perspectives of diverse stakeholders.
The Maui Energy Conference is presented by Maui Economic Development Board Inc. (MEDB) and supported by the Maui County Mayor’s Office of Economic Development. The in-depth conference sessions and ample networking opportunities aim to provide valuable resources for participants. As Hawaii’s leading homegrown energy conference, it attracts more than 300 energy industry leaders from Hawaii, the Continental U.S., Asia, and Europe.
The 2018 Conference theme is Decarbonization: A Business Opportunity for Innovative Communities.
Session topics include exploring technical innovations in energy storage, an economic analysis of utility PV customers as they respond to new policies on distributed energy, the future of ground and maritime transportation, and the potential of carbon farming techniques in agriculture.
“The challenges that increasing levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere present to our environment also provide innovative communities, from Hawaii to New York, with new business opportunities,” remarked Frank De Rego Jr, Director of Business Development Projects at MEDB and Vice-Chair of the Program Committee. “The key is to seize those opportunities and make them work.”
The 2018 Maui Energy Conference sponsors include Ulupono Initiative, a Hawaii-focused impact investing firm that uses investments to improve the quality of life for Island residents and Hitachi, Ltd., a company who has conducted important research in Hawaii to improve the stability of the electric grid through a system that employs electric vehicles.
The full list of conference sponsors include: Ulupono Initiative, Hitachi, County of Maui, Hawaii Energy/Leidos, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, Hawaii State Energy Office, Hawaiian Electric Companies, Sempra Renewables, Amber Kinetics, Ameresco, Gridworks, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, Kevala, Ohm Energy Technologies, Steffes, and Tabuchi Electric.
Diane Moss, founder and Director of the Renewables 100 Policy Institute
Diane Moss, Founding Director of the Renewables 100 Policy Institute, will be the keynote speaker for the Fifth Annual Maui Energy Conference held at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center on March 14-15, 2018.
The theme for this year’s conference is Decarbonization: A Business Opportunity for Innovative Communities.
Moss will also participate on a panel entitled “International Lessons in Carbon Reduction”. With other global experts, she will discuss the technical, political, and social challenges of reducing carbon emissions.
Moss’s distinguished career in the public and private sector includes being Environment Deputy to former U.S. Representative Jane Harman (D, CA). Currently, she is an independent consultant focused on energy policy, government relations, and sustainability related communications and campaigns. Moss has also served as a consultant to a broad range of entities from the non-profit, clean tech, and utility sectors, among others. She has published articles on a broad variety of renewable energy related issues in prestigious media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Today’s Facility Manager, and Cleantechnica.
The Maui Energy Conference is presented by the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) with support from the County of Maui through the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development. This event will explore within a global context a wide range of topics related to the state’s goal of clean, reliable, and affordable sources of energy. The specific focus will be on the challenges of reducing Hawaii’s carbon footprint through developing and supporting effective policies, technologies, and best practices.
“The Maui Energy Conference is current, timely and explores the issues facing all energy related sectors,” offers Sebastian “Bash” Nola, Program Committee member and Renewable Energy/Utility Consultant. “Here is an opportunity for attendees to network with others concerning the near term and future perspective of energy related challenges and opportunities facing Hawaii and our global community. The program should appeal to those that are serious about achieving 100% renewable penetration and the opportunities that present themselves to achieve this goal.”
Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative 10th Anniversary
This year the State of Hawaii celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI). The conference will begin by discussing the motivations and accomplishments of this landmark effort, while the rest of the conference will be devoted to exploring the challenges that remain.
Energy technology will feature at the conference with topics such as Storage Technologies, Carbon Farming, and Decarbonizing Transportation. Case studies will provide field studies on particular technologies and data-driven reports on the economic impacts of carbon reduction strategies.
The Maui Energy Conference attracts more than 300 energy leaders from the electric utility industry, the environmental community, power generation providers, investors, entrepreneurs and more. These leaders from Hawaii, the Mainland, Asia, and Europe are all here to exchange ideas on how to provide optimal service to energy customers, while preserving our precious environment.