Earth Day Energy Summit Galvanizes Action Toward Hawaii's Clean Energy Goals

Filed under Elemental

Elemental Excelerator's Earth Day Energy Summit in Honolulu brought the community together to spur legislation that will help the state solidify its role as the country's clean energy leader.

Despite its abundance of wind power, solar power, and rich culture, Hawaii is the most oil-dependent state in the nation. But not for long, says a report commissioned by Elemental Excelerator and released at the Earth Day Energy Summit in Honolulu.

Transcending Oil measures the progress that Hawaii has made against the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, a set of ambitious yet achievable goals to reach 100% renewable energy by 2045. The report says that not only is Hawaii on a path to meeting its goals, but the state can get there cheaper if it moves even faster.

Following the summit, policymakers and community leaders have responded with a surge of activism, enacting two key pieces of legislation at the state level in particular: one that transforms utility payment models to incentivize renewable energy and lower costs for consumers, and one that sets a technology-neutral, outcome-specific, zero-mission standard.

"We've made enormous progress in Hawaii toward clean energy," says Elemental Excelerator CEO Dawn Lippert. "What's left to do is about timing and what's standing in our way."

At the Earth Day Energy Summit in Honolulu, business leaders, elected officials, entrepreneurs and changemakers gathered to celebrate progress and discuss a speedy path forward to meet Hawaii's clean energy goals sooner.

Today Hawaii is at 25% clean energy. According to Transcending Oil, in the 10 years since the launch of the initiative, the cost of renewables plummeted drastically. Business leaders and policymakers stepped up to do their part. Innovations in technology expanded dramatically. More money is staying in Hawaii and twice as many people are working in the clean energy sector as in conventional energy. The faster the state moves, the more money they save, and the more jobs they create.

If oil prices rise and the cost of renewables declines even more rapidly, Hawaii could achieve 84% renewable energy by 2030, create 3,500 additional jobs, and save the state up to $7 billion in the process. This means more jobs created, more money, and a cleaner Hawaii all going straight to families – sooner. This finding establishes a sense of urgency: there is great incentive in leaning into challenges in energy storage, calling for innovation in transportation and mobility, and doubling down on efforts to ensure equity across communities.

Governor David Ige, pictured with Elemental Excelerator CEO Dawn Lippert, proclaimed Friday, April 20, 2018 as "Transcending Oil Day" in honor of the report's release.

Emerson Collective's Ernie Moniz, Hawaiian Electric's Connie Lau, Elemental Excelerator's Maurice Kaya, Emerson Collective's Andy Karsner, and Elemental Excelerator's Dawn Lippert spoke on a panel at the Earth Day Energy Summit.

Watch Presentations from the Earth Day Energy Summit

"Fulfilling Our Promise" with Andy Karsner, Maurice Kaya, Dawn Lippert, Connie Lau, and Ernest Moniz

"Designing a Compass for a World Without Maps" with Joi Ito

"Our Economy & Our Electricity: Two Decades in Three Charts" with Trevor Houser

"Our Clean Energy Future: Transitioning by Design, Not by Default" with Yunji de Nies, Colton Ching, Brian Kealoha, and Jeff Mikulina

"Our Mobility & Our Place: Three Charts on Redesigning the Way We Move" with Beth Osborne

"Our Mobility Opportunity: Uplifting Community through a Clean & Equitable Mobility System" with Aki Marceau, Ford Fuchigami, Peter Fukunaga, and Alvaro Sanchez

"Reaffirming Hawaii's Commitment to a Clean Energy Transition: Governor David Ige" with Dawn Lippert

"4x4: In Doing There is Knowledge" with Aki Marceau, Roy Amemiya, Mayor Alan Arakawa, Ben Sullivan, and Wil Okabe

"Moonshot Thinking" with Astro Teller and Miki Tomita

"HNL to Paris: How the Paris Agreement Opens an Opportunity for Hawaii" with Laurene Powell Jobs, Peter Ingram, Representative Chris Lee, and U.S. Senator Brian Schatz

"E Hana Hou" with Pono Shim

"Panina" with Kamehameha Schools Children's Chorus

"Change and Innovation in Hawaii"

Reciting the Kamehameha Schools Pledge

Learn More

See the interactive report Transcending Oil to learn more about Hawaii's goals, progress, and where challenges and opportunities lie.