Stephen Walls Headshot

"The office is going through an exercise of trying to think through and identify what resources the state does have, to make sure that the energy system remains available, even in, during strange or extreme weather events."

STEPHEN WALLS, DEPUTY CHIEF ENERGY OFFICER, HAWAII STATE ENERGY OFFICE

Hawaii gets about one-third of its energy from renewables, and it aims to get to 100 percent by 2045. In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg interviews Stephen Walls, the deputy chief energy officer of the Hawaii State Energy Office.

The state is still busy assessing the impact of Maui’s devastating fires on its electric grid. 

“The office is going through an exercise of trying to think through and identify what resources the state does have, to make sure that the energy system remains available, even in, during strange or extreme weather events,” said Walls.

Long term, the question is how the state gets to 100 percent renewable generation. 

“I think we’re encouraged by a few things. One, Kauai - over half of its energy supplied is renewable and if they are able to complete their pump storage hydro project, then they’ll be pushing over 70 percent and they’ll still have the rest of the time to figure out what else they should do”

Walls says the state is banking on continued technology change and cost improvements.

“We’ve led with the use of and reliance on distributed energy renewable resources and will continue to do that and be at one of the leading voices in smart inverters and inverter-based resources in providing grid services there.

Stephen Walls has worked on energy and climate issues in the private, public, non-profit, and academic sectors. Prior to working for the Hawaii State Energy Office, he worked for the U.S. Department of Energy and General Electric.

Stephen earned his J.D. with honors from The George Washington University Law School and studied International Relations (B.A.) and Economics (B.S.) at the University of Delaware.