Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More and Better Quotes on HECO’s Set-Asides Intended to Attract Ocean Technologies to Hawaii

We couldn’t contain our enthusiasm last week after hearing Hawaiian Electric Company executive vice president Robbie Alm (at right) say “set-asides” for ocean technology will be part of HECO’s future energy mix. If that’s old news to some of you, we apologize, but it was the first time we heard such welcoming comments about ocean energy from the utility. Just to be sure we had it right, we went to the Hawaii Venture Capital Association website and viewed the video. Here are the pertinent quotes:

“We need to have (projects) get on our system, so we have a strong preference for technology that’s proven. At the same time, we are going to create specific room for new technology. We talked to the PUC about this, and they are strongly supportive of it, so we do intend to have set-asides to allow, for example, the ocean people to come to Hawaii. They have not had either the federal or the state tax support, public support that wind and solar have had. And so to some degree, we need to give the ocean resources a special opportunity to be successful in Hawaii. If we do that, they’ll come here. If they come here, we all benefit by that.”

That’s enough to make ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) enthusiasts start emailing one another and visiting this website (our Site Meter count is way up since last week). Here’s more from Alm’s speech:

“The bottom line for us, and I think all the speakers said it today, is we have to find a way to make all of this work. We have to find a way for people to want to invest money. We have to find a way to make the rules simple enough and straightforward enough. We have to make a system where the incentives line up to the right place. The right place is off oil. The right place is Hawaii-based energy. The right place is to keep that money in our economy.”

“Hawaii is going to lead the world in the switch away from oil. Hawaii is absolutely going to be the place that finds the way to do this business in a way that makes sense for the private sector, for the public sector and for the utility. And I think everybody involved here is absolutely committed to making that happen.”

The HVCA luncheon was packed last week, and the association anticipates an overflow crowd on September 25th when entrepreneur and philanthropist Henk Rogers of the Blue Planet Foundation addresses the group. Anybody intending to be there had best submit a reservation soon.

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