Key Lessons from SEPA Fact-Finding Mission to Hawaii

In September 2015, ScottMadden supported the Solar Electric Power Association’s (SEPA) fact-finding mission to Hawaii. The purpose of the mission was to explore impacts of high-penetration renewables and how lessons learned can be transferred to other utilities around the country.

Key Details

  • Key lessons from the Hawaii experience can be grouped into three categories:
    1. Operational and Technical – Expect that the grid can take more. Technical issues are challenging but not impossible to solve with the right economics and political environment
    2. Customer and Stakeholder Relations – The Hawaii experience is a reminder for utilities to develop and offer programs to customers that provide transparent value and allow them to be the trusted energy advisor
    3. Leadership – Challenges can quickly grow when established utility practices prevent innovation and there is lack of a unified message
  • A detailed discussion of key findings will appear in a forthcoming article in Public Utilities Fortnightly

Implications

The Hawaii experience provides lessons to others on how and how not to manage this transition to high penetration of renewables and distributed generation. The key takeaway is utilities and regulators should be proactive in order to get ahead of the wave or risk being overtaken by it.

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Contributing Authors

Paul Quinlan Clean Tech Manager

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