Top Ten Highlights of Cleantech Hawaii

With Hawaii’s increasing dependence on fossil fuels, it has been very important for the nation to develop renewable energy technologies that will allow them to remove their dependence on fossil fuels and move it to more sustainable energy sources that will also preserve the environment and minimize overall carbon footprints.

1) Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. By the year 2030, Hawaii plans to ensure that 70% of their power will come from clean energy sources, including 40% from renewable energies and 30% from overall energy efficiency programs. Through this, many cleantech companies are beginning to make their home in Hawaii. This plan is the most aggressive one that Hawaii has attempted in response to its dependence on fossil fuels for 90% of its total power. A lot of the energy has to be shipped in, increasing the overall price of energy throughout the Aloha State. To ensure this plan gets off the ground, Hawaii is starting to take advantage of its natural resources that can be used for energy, including large ocean swells, continuous trade winds, lots of sunshine, and geothermal vents. Every part of Hawaii is doing their part for the plan. For example, the Hawaiian Electric Company is going to change numerous measures to reach the 30% energy efficiency goal.

2) Recycle Hawaii. The mission of Recycle Hawaii is to enhance awareness of recycling measures. They do this through informational and educational platforms that explain the necessity of recycling for the environment. They provide numerous recycling opportunities to create a future that is more sustainable. They have numerous presentations to assist on recycling, including what and how to recycle, business recycling systems and various opportunities, backyard composting, and minimization of hazardous wastes.

3) Hawaiian Electric Company. As mentioned previously, the Hawaiian Electric Company, has made a commitment to assist in creating a more energy efficient nation. They promote using less energy through conservation. It also pledges to assist the islands in increasing their use of renewable energies that are local. It is also big on decreasing the total amount of global warming associated with the production of energy. Their actions promote energy conservation as well as the transition to efficient, clean, and eco-effective production of energy.

4) Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture. Through the transformation of the energy sector of Hawaii into one that uses clean energy instead of oil, a growing market opportunity has presented itself. The goal of the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture is to assist businesses in Hawaii in commercializing their energy efficiency and renewable energy innovations to aid in solving the current energy challenges that face Hawaii. The Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture wants to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels as it has made Hawaii susceptible to supply disruptions and price vitality. By providing investment in these energy saving, renewable energy companies, the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development seeks to present a unique market opportunity to meet the goals of the state.

5) Hawaii Natural Energy Institute. Established in 1974, the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) seeks to assist moving Hawaii away from their dependence on oil. The HNEI was created after the OPEC oil embargo, a time when Hawaii was, in essence, held hostage due to a dependence on oil. HNEI assesses and monitors the resources that could best be utilized for the energy goals of the state, and then doing extensive research and development on how to pursue to goals. Research and development has gone into the use of biomass, biocarbons, hydrogen, photovoltaics, and number other options.

6) Hawaii Energy and Environmental Technology Initiative. The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, University of Hawaii, and the Naval Research Laboratory created the Hawaii Energy and Environmental Technology (HEET) Initiative. HEET looks at the development and testing of fuel cell systems, and the development of methane hydrates from the sea floor.

7) Hawaii National Marine Renewable Energy Center. The mission of the Hawaii National Marine Renewable Energy Center is to assist with the facilitation, development, and commercialization of wave energy conversion devices, as well as ocean thermal energy conversion systems. One of the largest sustainable resources Hawaii has is water, and therefore, it should be utilized for renewable energy purposes. It seeks out partnerships with the marine renewable energy industry, government agencies, utility companies, NGOs, environmental consultants, and engineering firms. It has maintained partnerships with many private, international, public, and industrial companies, including Hawaiian Electric Company, Makai Ocean Engineering, Ocean Power Technologies, the Office of Naval Research, and the Norwegian Institute of Water Research.

8 ) Ocean Power Technologies. Ocean Power Technologies, OPT, is dedicated to harnessing energy from water. One of OPT’s largest projects is the Kameohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii Project located at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. This project has been used to demonstrate the potential of using the power of wave technology to reduce overall consumption of fossil fuels at marine and navy bases throughout the globe.

9) Hawaii Renewable Energy Alliance. Also known as HREA, this business was formed by a number of advocates for renewable energy, as well as industrial equipment and services supplies, technologists, developers, operators, and installers of renewable systems. Their mission statement is “to help secure Hawaii’s energy future by promoting, through education and advocacy, the increased use of renewable with a sustainable, environmentally-responsible, and economically-sound approach.” Their objectives are to promotes interests in renewable technologies across all sectors of energy, education on sustainable energies implementation, reduce energy bills, and enhance overall quality of life by using renewable sources of energy. Their core values include using renewable energy installations that maintain indigenous values, overall sustainability, and a system that is good for the environment and the Hawaiian economy.

10) United States Military. The United States Army has had a long list of sustainability initiatives, one of the newest being rainwater harvesting in Hawaii. Located in Oahu, the water is collected in a storage tank and then used to irrigate the location. This project is to be completed in 2011. However, it is not just rainwater harvesting that the military has been involved in. because of Hawaii’s fossil fuel challenge; the military has implemented a number of other renewable energy programs, including a new solar power installation at the Pearl Harbor base.

Article by Shawn Lesser, president and founder of Atlanta-based Sustainable World Capital, which is focused on fund-raising for private equity cleantech/sustainable funds, as well as private cleantech companies and M&A. He is also a co- founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association, and can be reached at

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One comment on “Top Ten Highlights of Cleantech Hawaii

We took our needed relaxing yet fun, Kona trip last year at the same time, and had a most excellent Hawaii travel adventure seeing the development of renewable energy.

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