Maui News

Keynote speakers announced for upcoming 9th annual Hawaiʻi Energy Conference

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The 2022 Hawaiʻi Energy Conference features L-R: Shelee Kimura, Abigail Anthony and Amy Myers Jaffe.

The 9th Annual Hawaii Energy Conference on May 10 and 12 will feature two keynote speakers: Abigail Anthony, Commissioner of the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission, and Amy Myers Jaffe, Research Professor and Managing Director of the Climate Policy Lab at the Fletcher School of Tufts University.

The virtual conference’s theme is “Electrification: Where are we now? What does the future hold?” It also will feature panel discussions, interviews and exhibits.

Commissioner Anthony will open the conference, discussing “When Tradewinds Blow: Maintaining Course during the Energy Transition.”   

She currently is the Chair of the Commission on Energy Resources and the Environment of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and the President of the Board of the New England Utility Cybersecurity Integration Collaborative.

Previously, Anthony was the director of Acadia Center’s Grid Modernization and Utility Reform Initiative, and the organization’s Rhode Island director.  During her time as director of Acadia Center, Anthony was appointed to the Rhode Island Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council, where she served from 2010 to 2017 overseeing the implementation of the state’s energy efficiency programs and policies. 

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On Day 2, Jaffe, a leading expert on global energy policy and sustainability, will address the conference. She boldly declared recently in the Wall Street Journal: “The electrification of (almost) everything is coming, and we’re just not ready for it.”  

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Jaffe previously served as senior advisor for sustainability at the Office of the Chief Investment Officer at the University of California, Regents and as executive director for energy and sustainability at University of California, Davis, where she led research on low or zero carbon fuels and transportation policy. Jaffe has taught energy policy, business and sustainability courses at Rice University, University of California, Davis and Yale University.  

The widely published Jaffe is the author of “Energy’s Digital Future: Harnessing Innovation for American Resilience and National Security” and  is co-author of “Oil, Dollars, Debt and Crises: The Global Curse of Black Gold.”

She is chair of the steering committee of the Women in Energy Initiative at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy policy and a member of the Global Future Council on Net Zero Transition at the World Economic Forum (Davos). 

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The conference is presented by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) and supported by the County of Maui Office of Economic Development.

The program includes a conversation with Shelee Kimura, newly-appointed President and CEO of Hawaiian Electric. Kimura previously served as senior vice president of Customer Service & Public Affairs and senior vice president of Business Development & Strategic Planning. She provided leadership for the company’s customer care initiatives through the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, making equity and access a top priority while improving customer satisfaction and stakeholder engagement.

She led the development of Hawaiian Electric’s 2015- 2020 Strategic Transformation Plan. During that period, she strengthened and grew the Hawaiʻi market for affordable, clean energy resources and launched the electric transportation division, which will play a critical role to help decarbonize Hawaiʻi’s economy. 

Panel topics to be explored over the two days are: 

  • Electrification and battery storage 
  • The community and electrification  
  • Electrification and energy efficiency  
  • Electrification and transportation 
  • Electrification and carbon: It’s a math problem 
  • Systemic shocks and the changing pace of electrification 
  • Electrification and the cost of resilience: Are we prepared? 

A study by Princeton University predicts that by 2050 electrifying transport and buildings could double the amount of electricity consumption in the U.S.  

“There is no doubt that the push to electrification will affect our way of life,” said Frank R. De Rego Jr., conference co-chair and director of business development projects for Maui Economic Development Board, Inc.

“Electrification demands attention, among other things, to upgrading the grid; working out a reasonable and responsive regulatory framework; and responding to community needs and concerns.” 

The virtual venue will be open up to a week in advance, encouraging attendees to network to connect and build important relationships prior to, during and after the conference. They will be able to visit the virtual exhibit hall where companies showcase their products and services and can connect with attendees via chat or video. 

For information on how to register and other details, visit: www.hawaiienergyconference.com

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