Hawaiian Electric Lays out Transportation Electrification Roadmap


Utility company Hawaiian Electric, whose subsidiaries include Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light, recently released its “Electrification of Transportation Strategic Roadmap,” describing near- and long-term actions to create a clean energy future and reduce dependence on imported fossil fuel for transportation, as well as electricity.

The plan, filed with the Public Utilities Commission, foresees Hawaii in 2045 with most personal light-duty vehicles powered by electricity generated by solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal and other renewable resources. Hawaii currently has a goal for its utilities to procure 100% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2045.

According to Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii already has the second-highest rate of electric vehicle (EV) adoption in the U.S.

“This is a global movement that is transforming the way that individuals, families and businesses use vehicles – and we have to be ready,” says Brennon Morioka, Hawaiian Electric’s general manager of electrification of transportation. “This roadmap lays out the steps for meeting the changing needs of our customers and communities and adapting to the new technologies we know are coming.”

The report notes that Hawaii already has nearly 7,000 EVs registered, second only to California per capita. In addition to rail, which will be powered by electricity, the City and County of Honolulu are considering electric buses to replace their diesel fleet, as are other counties. In addition, electrification at harbors and airports presents possibilities for increased renewable energy use.

“Hawaiian Electric first promoted electric vehicles more than 100 years ago,” Morioka adds. “Today, the urgency has never been greater to reduce our use of oil for moving people and goods on the way to our clean energy future. This roadmap will guide our actions. The timing and precise route may change, but our destination and determination to reach it are clear.”

The plan lays the foundation for future actions to realize these benefits for customers and the state. Some will require regulatory review and approval, and the plan cites these key near-term steps:

  • Boost EV adoption by working with automakers, dealerships and advocates to lower the purchase price and educate customers on vehicle options and benefits;
  • Partner with third-party charging providers and others to facilitate the build-out of charging infrastructure, especially in workplaces and multi-unit dwellings;
  • Expand the network of utility-owned fast chargers and public Level 2 chargers in gap areas to reduce range anxiety;
  • Support customers’ transition to electric buses, with targeted efforts to reduce the upfront cost and provide practical charging options. From buses, efforts can move to trucks and other heavy equipment;
  • Create grid service opportunities with incentives for demand response participation and charging aligned with grid needs to reduce costs and save drivers money; and
  • Coordinate with ongoing grid modernization to ensure smooth integration of EVs into energy delivery networks and optimum use of renewable resources.

Hawaiian Electric says its report stems from extensive information-gathering. Key sources included stakeholder engagement, via a workshop and small group meetings; customer research, including panels and surveys of EV owners and non-owners; direct conversations with automakers, dealers and large utility customers; Hawaii’s clean energy and EoT policies, including regulatory proceedings; other utility filings and regulatory decisions; and knowledge from Energy and Environmental Economics, CALSTART and Integral Analytics.

The full roadmap is available here.

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