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Equity and electrification to be explored at the 2020 Hawaii Energy Conference

By Staff | Nov 21, 2019

A panel at the 2019 Hawaii Energy Conference featured (from left): Abigail Anthony of the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC); Michael Picker, president of the California PUC; Hawaii Gov. David Ige; Jennifer Potter, Hawaii PUC; with moderator Matthew McDonnell of Navigant Energy Practice. PHOTO BY MAUI ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD.

KIHEI – The seventh annual Hawaii Energy Conference will explore the timely issues of beneficial electrification and the design of an equitable energy transition.

Presented by the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) and supported by the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, the Hawaii Energy Conference on March 18-19, 2020, is the leading energy conference in the islands.

The event 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 U.S. West Coast, will there be the same access to electricity for those who cannot afford microgrids or distributed energy resources?

Can an electrified system be more resilient and efficient? What are the alternatives to electrification?

When exploring equity, the conference will consider how to break through economic, cultural and linguistic barriers to ensure that an energy system works for everyone.

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?

“These topics are not unique to Hawaii,” said 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 conference consistently attracts energy industry leaders from Hawaii, 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.

For more information, visit www.hawaiienergyconference.com.