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Experts to discuss rapidly changing energy landscape

By Staff | Feb 27, 2014

KAHULUI – Leading power and utility experts will share ideas at a conference, “Electric Utilities: The Future Is Not What It Used To Be,” on March 26-28 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

With Hawaiian Electric Companies (Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light) as the title sponsor, the event comes at a time when Hawaii is experiencing an unprecedented wave of growth in solar and wind generation.

Leaders here and across the country will gather to talk about the rapidly changing energy landscape and its implications for power utilities, policy makers and consumers.

Colton Ching, vice president of energy delivery at Hawaiian Electric, said he looks forward to exchanging ideas with leading power and utility experts at the conference. Event partners include the Maui Economic Development Board, Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Public Utilities Commission and Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.

Although Mainland utility operators don’t face the same problems with isolated power grids, “there are a lot of smart people out there in the industry, and they can bring to the table very good technical ideas, very good regulatory ideas, very good customer ideas that we can benefit from,” Ching said.

Conference attendees should come willing to listen and exchange ideas, Ching said. “Everyone put your biases and beliefs aside and have a very frank and open dialogue about what a utility will be like in the future,” he commented.

Ching said Hawaii’s unique power grid environment presents operational and technical challenges in integrating renewable energy.

Conference registration costs $395. Organizers are offering limited sponsorship opportunities ranging from $500 to $25,000. To learn more, go to www.hightechmaui.com/energyconference.