Officials Discuss Hawai‘i’s Leading Role in Energy Innovation

June 19, 2019, 11:36 AM HST (Updated June 19, 2019, 11:36 AM)
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(L–R) Hawaii County Deputy Director of Research and Development Ron Whitmore, Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino, City and County of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i President & CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara, Kaua‘i County Mayor Derek Kawakami and Hawaii Energy Executive Director Brian Kealoha. Courtesy photo

The Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i and Hawaii Energy hosted a roundtable discussion with Mayors Kirk Caldwell, Derek Kawakami and Michael Victorino, and Hawai‘i County Deputy Director of Research and Development Ron Whitmore on Monday, June 17, 2019.

They discussed the state’s leading role in energy innovation to confront climate change through efficiency and renewable resources.

Gov. David Ige discussed Hawai‘i’s leadership role in transitioning to renewable energy. Courtesy photo

“As an island state, Hawaii must face the realities of climate change and take bold steps to mitigate its impact,” Sherry Menor-McNamara, Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i president and CEO said. “The chamber and our business community will continue to play a vital role in addressing climate change and facilitating our state’s transition to 100% renewable energy. Convening our state’s top leaders to discuss how we can work together is a critical step in this transition and we thank Hawaii Energy for making this event possible.”

“The beauty of aggressively pursuing energy efficiency, combined with renewable energy and clean transportation, is that this mitigation strategy provides both an attractive return on investment and creates economic development in our counties,” Brian Kealoha, Hawaii Energy executive director, said. “By reducing the over billion dollars we spend on oil that leaves our state and investing it into smart, connected buildings, we can make our counties and our grid more resilient while reducing carbon emissions and energy costs.”

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Kealoha facilitated a discussion on how counties can work together to promote environmental sustainability, the use of renewable energy and the mitigation of sea level rise and other effects of climate change.

The mayors and Deputy Director Whitmore presented information about the innovative programs that their counties are undertaking to support these efforts and how these initiatives will also increase quality of life for Hawai‘i residents. Gov. David Ige provided opening remarks.

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