eLab Accelerator 2016

EVs as Sustainable Grid Solution in Hawaii

Project Objective

Evaluate options for a long-term vision, strategy, and business plan for incorporating electric vehicles (EVs) into utility business models, leading to 1) accelerated EV adoption rates 2) a more effective path to 100% renewable electricity, and 3) increased access to low cost and low carbon transportation solutions in Hawaii

Team Members

Richard Wallsgrove, Policy Director, Blue Planet Foundation
Dean Nishina, Division of Consumer Advocacy
Greg Gaug, VP of Investments, Ulupono Initiative
Shelee Kimura, VP of Corporate Planning and Business Development, Hawaiian Electric
Lorraine Akiba, Commissioner, Hawaii Public Utilities Commission

Project Description

Led by the first-in-the-nation 100% renewables law, and the need for a long-term sustainable business model, Hawaii’s long-term energy plans are in transition. In this context, electrified transportation is a massive opportunity: EVs could be an electric utility’s largest business development opportunity and customer value opportunity. EVs will likely be a key component of reducing petroleum use for transportation. EVs can be a substantial grid resource, and work from the University of Hawaii is showing that achieving 100% renewable electricity may be more effective and cheaper if the state exceeds prior EV adoption targets and makes EV charging a central strategy for managing the grid in the future. Utilities around the world are evaluating ways to innovate their business models, rate structures, and operations. There is no uniformly accepted vision for how electrified transportation will fit into those innovations. This leaves ample room for creativity and analysis on the cutting edge of renewable energy integration.

Post-Accelerator Outcomes

The team from Hawaii came to Accelerator to develop a vision for the future of Electric Vehicles on the island. In addition to developing this vision, the team laid out the foundation for a high level strategy to deploy and integrate an increasing number of electric vehicles on the Hawaiian grid in support of 1) a 100% renewable future and 2) increased access to clean affordable mobility. Since leaving Accelerator, the Hawaii team has moved full steam ahead, educating key organizations, companies, and individuals across the island about the goal that was developed at Accelerator: transition 100% of light duty vehicles and mass transit IN Hawaii to renewable power. Now, the team is digging deeper into the strategy to identify which steps need to be taken near, medium, and long term in order to achieve this bold goal. The team expects this strategy to be more fully developed by end of Summer 2016 with on-the-ground implementation of actual programs beginning towards the end of this year.