HONOLULU — The State of Hawaii’s dual announcement of a fulfilled and new Commitment to Action took center stage at the opening of the Clinton Global Initiative’s 2015 CGI America in Denver. Hawaii achieved its 2013 commitment to double the value of performance contracts for energy efficient buildings by 2015, and pledged to create a statewide curriculum and training program to prepare the next generation of skilled workers for Hawaii’s emerging clean energy sector. Hosted by President Bill Clinton, CGI America focuses on identifying solutions that promote economic growth in the United States.
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Director Luis Salaveria appeared on stage Tuesday to announce the launch of the Hawaii Statewide Modern Grid-Workforce Training Deployment. The initiative, led by the Hawaii State Energy Office, is a collaboration with four departments of the University of Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric Co. and the Blue Planet Foundation. The project will train smart grid and clean energy technicians, electrical engineers and managers, including graduate masters- and doctoral-level instruction and research.
“This effort will prepare Hawaii’s workforce to deploy advanced metering infrastructure by 2020 and to achieve our goal of achieving a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard in the state’s electricity sector by 2045,” Salaveria said. “This kind of innovative program not only serves to facilitate Hawaii’s clean energy transformation, it helps expand and diversify our state’s economy. It’s an honor to have our commitment featured by CGI America.”
Mark Glick, administrator of the Hawaii State Energy Office, has been a facilitator of CGI America’s Renewable Energy Working Group at CGI America for the past two years and sees the Commitment to Action process at CGI America as a way to forge alliances, share best practices and drive action on Hawaii’s ambitious clean energy agenda.
“For Hawaii to take full advantage of our efforts to transform our economy through clean energy, we need to broaden our coalition of energy stakeholders to build capacity in a workforce skilled in the tools of the new energy economy,” Glick said. “That is why we are so gratified to have the College of Engineering, the College of Social Sciences, Honolulu Community College, Hawaiian Electric Co., the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute and Blue Planet Foundation as partners in this endeavor.”
For example, the smart grid deployment alone will require an estimated 75 contractors and consultants on a full-time basis as Hawaiian Electric Company’s advanced metering infrastructure is rolled out over an estimated 2 ½ to 3 years. Following installation, it is anticipated that about 30 new highly skilled engineering positions will support the smart grid program from within the utility.
The initiative will receive financial support from the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute and the State of Hawaii. Outreach and recruitment will be provided by the Blue Planet Foundation.
In his progress report on the state’s 2013 commitment to reduce electricity use through energy savings performance contracting in state and county buildings, Salaveria noted that the state has invested $168 million in two energy saving projects, bringing the cumulative investment to $315 million since 1996. The investment has resulted in more than 10 million tons of avoided greenhouse gas emissions, and an estimated $830 million in energy cost savings for the state.
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) addresses economic recovery in the United States. CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. To learn more, visit cgiamerica.org.