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The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) is an unprecedented effort to transform the entire Hawaii economy from getting 95% of its energy, including most electricity, from imported oil today, to meeting the state’s energy needs from 70% clean energy (primarily indigenous renewables and efficiency) by 2030. DOE’s work on the HCEI was initiated and coordinated through OE’s then Deputy Assistant Secretary William Parks, an expert in renewable energy and fossil generation technologies and electricity system integration serving as a loaned executive to the State of Hawaii.
At the request of the State of Hawaii, OE State and Regional Assistance provided regulatory and policy support to the HCEI. OE-hired consultants provided advice on electricity regulatory options to Hawaii officials, including the Governor, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (HI-DBEDT, the lead State agency working on energy issues), and the Public Utility Commission (PUC). A team of OE consultants provided seven days of regulatory and policy training on how to articulate and achieve the HCEI goals to the Hawaii PUC and its staff and to a large group of Hawaii energy stakeholders and State staff. Based on what they heard from State officials and energy stakeholders, that team then developed a “regulatory strawman” for Hawaii regulators and stakeholders to consider as a starting point for redesigning Hawaii’s electricity system to achieve the HCEI goal. The Team spent further time with regulators and stakeholders reviewing their options and concerns. Members of the team also provided support to the negotiations among HI-DBEDT, HECO (Hawaii's investor-owned utility company), and the Hawaii Consumer Advocate that resulted in an October 20, 2008, voluntary agreement to achieve the goals of the HCEI. The Agreement includes renewable energy commitments, measures to increase energy efficiency, and improvements to grid operation and infrastructure–all in the regulated electric utility sector.