January 5, 2016
The State of Hawai'i set a goal in June 2015 of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. To meet this clean energy goal in 30 years, the Hawai'i Public Utilities Commission is exploring several options, including a merger between two industry leaders in clean and renewable energy: Hawaiian Electric Industries and NextEra Energy.
Kris Mayes, Director of the Energy Policy Innovation Council - a LightWorks initiative at Arizona State University - and former Chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission, serves as one of the key expert witnesses for the County of Hawai’i. With testimony from expert witnesses and input from stakeholders, the three-member PUC will assess and determine the path towards transforming Hawai'i’s energy future.
Professor Mayes is a member of the faculty at ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Mayes is also Co-Director of the ASU Energy Policy Innovation Council (EPIC). Mayes provides direct testimony during the evidentiary hearings and affirms that the utility should “in partnership with the communities it serves and other interested stakeholders, define a vision for sustainability for the state of Hawai'i, and by which a new direction for the utilities' business models is established.”
ASU is broadly contributing expertise to this decision-making process as a third-party. The ASU Wrigley Institute, Seidman Economic Policy Group and EPIC are collectively analyzing the Merger docket as it relates to PUC Docket No. 2014-0183 (Power Supply Improvement Plans). With significant capabilities to model and optimize electric utility systems, the ASU team is also developing scenario planning to explore the HECO Companies' grid and generation development options.
Gary Dirks - Director of the ASU Wrigley Institute - says, “the path to ensure Hawai'i’s sustainable and renewable energy future must combine innovative approaches from industry leaders with culture, values and public interest for affordable renewable energy. ”