Postcards from the Future: Lessons Learned in Hawaii on Grid Transformation

February 2016

The evolving role of the Hawaiian utilities and fast changing solar market are, as officials there like to say, “postcards from the future” for mainland energy markets. The changes underway send a clear message about the solar market and what the mainland should expect in its future.

Driven by market forces and evolving customer demands, Hawaii has in a very short time integrated a significant amount of distributed renewables. This experience provides lessons to others on how and how not to manage this transition: physical integration, stakeholder management, internal alignment, and customer focus. Utilities and regulators can either get ahead of the wave—with a focus on customer and grid solutions—or risk being overtaken by it.

Such insights are a few of the key takeaways that a group of nearly 20 utility and solar industry executives brought back from a recent fact-finding mission to Hawaii. This article builds on the “postcard” narrative and provides insight and understanding of Hawaii’s response to its booming solar market.

You may also access this report by visiting the Public Utilities Fortnightly website here.

Additional Contributing Authors: K Kaufmann

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