Hawaii’s Clean Energy Future
By Dick Rosenblum
President & CEO of Hawaiian Electric Company
At Hawaiian Electric Company, we’re proud to carry on the legacy of King David Kalakaua, who pioneered the use of electricity in our islands and recognized the potential of electric power to transform Hawaii.
Today, we’re rising to meet new challenges. Our focus is on doing everything we can to lower our customers’ electric bills – we know the cost of energy impacts everyone in our community.
To help stabilize and lower electricity costs, we’re aggressively expanding our use of clean energy. An estimated 18 percent of the electricity used by our customers comes from renewable resources, already ahead of our state’s goal of 15 percent by 2015. So far this year, our use of clean energy has saved customers $243 million by reducing our use of oil by 1.9 million barrels. We’re seeking more low-cost clean energy, including solar, wind, biofuel and geothermal projects.
We’re also deactivating our older, less efficient oil-fired generating units – about 14 percent of the generation we own – so we can increase the use of renewable energy generation and use less oil, which lowers cost. And we’re making it easier, faster and less expensive for our customers to install solar electric systems on their rooftops while still ensuring grid safety and reliability.
To respond more quickly to your needs, we’re modernizing our grid and investing in better information systems. In the first half of 2013 alone, our companies invested $140 million in capital improvements to benefit all customers.
October is Energy Awareness Month, and we invite you to learn more about our progress. Visit us at our annual Clean Energy Fair Saturday, Oct. 5, at Kahala Mall. The free event will feature live music and entertainment for the whole family. And it’s a great chance to connect and talk about how we can work together for a clean energy future for our Islands.
Hawaii has been our home for more than 120 years. Although much has changed during that time, one thing has endured: our commitment to our community and our customers.