The Hawai’i Energy Policy Forum had its beginnings in May 2002, when the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa was funded by the Hawaiian Electric Company to bring together energy stakeholders to chart a new future for energy in Hawai’i. For decades, Hawai’i’s dependence on imported fossils fuels increased despite numerous planning efforts and advances in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
The University of Hawai’i team took a new approach to collaborative energy planning by convening relevant energy stakeholder and other community leaders to develop an energy vision for the year 2030 and a strategy to ensure its implementation. The University with its 30-member advisory group (later to become the Hawai’i Energy Policy Forum,) commissioned studies of renewable energy options, energy efficiency and conservation, hydron futures, and future greenhouse gas emissions regulations. The goal was to incorporate as many different perspectives and the broadest possible experience into the design of a flexible, forward-looking energy strategy that would be environmentally friendly, renewable, safe, reliable, and affordable.
In December 2003, to get broader community input fora strategy for Hawai’iʻs energy future, the Hawai’i Energy Policy Summit was convened. From the Summit, a long-term, strategic, comprehensive, and action-oriented plan was developed, which was documented in Hawai’i at the Crossroads: A Long Term Energy Strategy (PDF) that included guiding principles and policy options to meet Hawai’i’s long-term energy needs. Additional funding from the State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, the Hawai’i Community Foundation, and the Department of Health and University of Hawai’i, provided further support for Forum projects, governance and administration.
In its early years, the Forum was instrumental in several significant areas—including focusing priority and getting energy issues “on the decision-making table,” promoting funding and needed reform for the State’s utility regulatory agencies (i.e., the Public Utilities Commission and the Division of Consumer Advocacy), and commissioning studies, reports and briefings to raise the level of dialog concerning energy issues for legislators and the general public. The Forum sponsors and organizes several well attended annual events, including Hawai’i Clean Energy Day, and a Legislative Briefing at the Capitol at the opening of each legislative session, and sponsors programs to develop reliable information and educate and raise awareness in the community, including The Clean Energy Metrics Project, ongoing participation in initiatives promoting sustainability and transportation reforms, and weekly energy shows on ThinkTech Hawai’i.
The Hawai’i Energy Policy Forum enables informed decisions to advance Hawai’i’s clean energy future by convening a collaborative network of stakeholders for fact finding, analysis, information sharing, and advocacy.
To seek a pono energy system that sustains a healthy, prosperous, and resilient Hawai’i in the face of climate change.
Last Updated: 3/25/2022