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The States

Visiting Hawaii's PUC

We interviewed the chair, commissioners and more at Hawaii's Public Utilities Commission.
Author Bio: 

Steve Mitnick is President of Lines Up, Inc., Editor-in-Chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly, and author of “Lines Down: How We Pay, Use, Value Grid Electricity Amid the Storm.”

Unique Renewable Goals

Hawaiian Electric: Leland Cockcroft and Robert Kaneshiro

“We have four cross-island transmission lines of 69 kV. During that storm, three of them got affected, so we only had one transmission line remaining across the island.”
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Robert Kaneshiro: We have about 97 megawatts of connected rooftop solar
Robert Kaneshiro: Our transmission system is 69 kilovolts. Our evening peak comes in at about 185 or 190 megawatts.
Leland Cockcroft: The 2018 Lower East rift zone of Kilauea erupted and took out two of our transmission lines, as well as our interconnecting switching station for the geothermal plant.
Author Bio: 

Robert Kaneshiro is Operations Superintendent at Hawaii Electric Light.

Leland Cockcroft is System Planning Engineer at Hawaii Electric Light.

Hawaii Electric Light subsidiary

Hawaiian Electric: Yoh Kawanami

“Community Based Renewable Energy is where you have a solar farm but people that live in a condo or have an odd-shaped roof may be able to invest in those panels and get a bill credit as if they have rooftop solar.”
Author Bio: 

Yoh Kawanami is co-director for customer energy resources at Hawaiian Electric.

Co-director for Customer Energy Resources

Hawaiian Electric: Christian Whitney

“In order for anyone to accomplish their sustainability goals or for Hawaiian Electric to accomplish our reliability goals, the future is all in the telecom and the technology.”
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At the Leilani Estates subdivision and nearby Puna Geothermal Venture plant on Hawaii’s big island, on May 3, 2018, volcano fissures appeared. Massive lava flow soon followed, devastating the subdivision and then the plant by May 27 and 28. Here’s a view of the area and the cooled lava.
Hawaiian Electric is working closely with Ormat Technologies to bring the Puna Geothermal Venture plant back online. Here, utility linemen are restoring a line to bring some power in for the reconstruction project.
When the PUF team visited in December 2019, our Hawaiian Electric friends encouraged us to pick up the cooled lava rock. The lava rock was eerily light belying its destructive power.
When the PUF team visited the Puna Geothermal Venture plant – or what remains of it after the volcano’s devastation – our friends from Ormat Technologies (the plant’s owners) showed us that fissures are still emitting gases into the air not far away at all. The plant, completed in 1993, had 38 megawatts capacity, sufficient to supply about a quarter of the big island’s electricity demand.
Author Bio: 

Christian Whitney is the director for pole infrastructure enterprise at Hawaiian Electric.

Director for Pole Infrastructure Enterprise

Hawaiian Electric: Jack Shriver

“Our islands are relatively small, and the acreage footprint is going to start to become a more contentious issue. We’re going to need to look for technologies that don’t use up as much of our precious resources.”
Author Bio: 

Jack Shriver is the director for generation project development at Hawaiian Electric.

Director for Generation Project Development

Hawaiian Electric: Rebecca Dayhuff Matsushima

“We will be doing procurements on a regular basis moving forward between now and 2045.”
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“The RFP was technology agnostic. As long as it meets Hawaii’s definition for renewable energy and our statutes, then it could fit into the projects, or into the RFP.”
“Under the Integrated Grid Planning docket we’re anticipating we would do a procurement about every two years for generation. Then with non-wire alternative procurement also happening every year.”
Author Bio: 

Rebecca Dayhuff Matsushima is the director for renewable acquisition at Hawaiian Electric.

Director for Renewable Acquisition

Hawaiian Electric: Scott Seu

“If you’re going to operate a business here in Hawaii for 20 years or so, you will be expected by the community to become a part of it, to be able to engage on an ongoing basis.”
Author Bio: 

Scott Seu is SVP for public affairs at Hawaiian Electric. Hawaiian Electric announced that Seu will become CEO this year.

SVP for public affairs

Hawaiian Electric: Colton Ching

“Our electric supply plans are aggressive. They’re forward leading within the industry and there does not exist technology today at this moment in time that will meet all of our needs over the next 20 or 30 years.”
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Hawaiian Electric’s operations and maintenance center in downtown Honolulu.
Author Bio: 

Colton Ching is SVP for planning and technology at Hawaiian Electric.

SVP for planning and technology

Hawaiian Electric: Alan Oshima

“Ninety-five percent of Hawaii’s electricity comes from our company.”
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“There’s a Hawaiian word called kakou, that means together. We’re trying to make sure  the underserved are not left, and only those  who can move with individual investments reap the benefits of renewable.”
“We were rock stars in Southeast Asia. I got a standing ovation when  we talked about why we have to do this for global climate change.”
At the Hawaiian blessing and dedication ceremony for the West Loch Solar Project. This is part of the ceremony.
At the Hawaiian blessing and dedication ceremony for the West Loch Solar Project. The PUF team marvels at the large size of the solar project.
At the Hawaiian blessing and dedication ceremony for the West Loch Solar Project. The PUF team marvels at the large size of the solar project.
Author Bio: 

Alan Oshima is the CEO of Hawaiian Electric.

CEO

Visiting Hawaiian Electric

Perhaps the highest of the high points of visiting Hawaiian Electric and Hawaii's Public Utilities Commission was when Commission chair Jay Griffin announced during the pre-hearing conference we attended that "the Mitnicks" of Public Utilities Fortnightly were sitting in, as welcome guests of the Commission. (One Mitnick had flown in from Washington, D.C., the other from Tokyo.) Or perhaps when we watched the moving Hawaiian blessing of the West Loch Solar Project of Hawaiian Electric and the U.S. Navy.

Author Bio: 

Steve Mitnick is President of Lines Up, Inc., Editor-in-Chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly, and author of “Lines Down: How We Pay, Use, Value Grid Electricity Amid the Storm.”

Unique Renewable Goals

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