HEPF Peer Exchange: Advancing and Accelerating Hawai’i’s Renewable Energy Goals through Clean Transportation

The Hawai’i Energy Policy Forum (HEPF) held its second member-driven peer exchange on October 10, 2019, with a focus on clean transportation and opportunities for unlocking procurement options for government fleets. Participants from all four Counties and the State government came together to tackle two main objectives: 1) To move towards government procurement of clean transportation options by drafting initial language, and identifying areas where further investigation is needed; and 2) To build connections among the counties and state level to support ongoing collaboration on clean transportation procurement.

The peer exchange, led by the County of Hawai‘i, began with a request for participants to zoom out, and think about their overall role and contributions in the clean transportation shift happening in Hawai’i – and recognizing that each of us has something to offer and contribute in support of the state’s ambitious goals, as well as questions that we are each working through in order to unlock progress. After an open opportunity for sharing information on ongoing initiatives, the group jumped into discussion focused on what concerns would need to be addressed in any clean transportation procurement process, regardless of how it were structured – considering both vehicle fleets themselves and the purchasing process. This portion of the day provided an opportunity for people who are in similar roles but in different organizations, such as across different state agencies and the Counties, to connect and interact.

Participants then drilled down further into the details, discussing what components must be included in a successful clean transportation procurement process, and what gaps or placeholders will need to be filled (starting to build the framework for procurement documents). Four breakout discussions focused on different topic areas, and key takeaways included:

  • Fleets and Vehicles – vehicles need to meet basic requirements in terms of size and performance; there are opportunities to explore multi-use options such as fleet vehicles available for rent when not in use.
  • Infrastructure and Charging – the overall approach should consider optimization of multiple objectives, with current route/use analysis and maintenance requirements feeding into the infrastructure system design.
  • Service Models and Approaches – the concept of sustainability-as-a-service is promising, while raising many questions about how to best outline what is needed and ensure that it is delivered.
  • Legislative Aspects – there are opportunities to incentivize actions such as collecting the most relevant data; a designated coordinator is needed to maintain joint work across the counties and state fleets.

The peer exchange closed by defining immediate next steps, and an activity to remind us that we are working on complex problems that can sometimes require actions that seem both complementary and opposing. Several of these “wicked questions” were surfaced, such as how we can both act and plan simultaneously, and how fleets can both collaborate (across counties and the state level) while also meeting their individual needs. Finally, participants were asked to share one thing they were excited about moving forward with after the peer exchange; it was clear in the room that everyone is dedicated to making progress and continuing to work collaboratively.

The event was facilitated by Kaitlyn Bunker from Rocky Mountain Institute, who interacted with several of the participants at RMI’s recent Mobility Innovation Lab Project Accelerator. This external facilitation allowed all attendees to actively participate, and also brought insights from RMI’s experience working on mobility system transformation around the globe.