Panel to Parse ‘Perfect Storm’ of Energy Opportunities


On the surface, Hawaii’s energy sector seems poised for growth. But a Thursday panel discussion will dig deeper, assessing the state’s true prospects in industries that are innovating and growing quickly.

This year alone, the state set an ambitious goal to run entirely on renewable energy within 30 years, Henk Rogers made international headlines with a new home battery storage startup, a Danish company announced plans for an offshore wind farm, and we got a sexy dashboard to track local energy use. From  solar-powered planes to wind-powered yachts, Hawaii seems to be a can’t-miss stop for any globe-spanning sustainability campaign.

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Earlier this month, the state’s consumer advocate came out against a proposed $4.3 billion takeover of Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii’s largest energy supplier, by Florida-based NextEra Energy.

This month’s Hawaii Venture Capital Association luncheon is dedicated to energy, and one of the featured panelists is Alex Weiss, NextEra’s Chief Investment Officer. He’s the most recent addition to an already solid panel, including Colin Yost, Chief Operating Officer of RevoluSun, Rick Robertson, Senior Director of Power & Water at GE Ventures, Tad Glauthier, Vice President of Hawaii Operations at Stem, Inc., and Mark Glick, the state’s Energy Administrator.

The panel, “In Energy, All Eyes are on Hawaii,” will address funding energy innovation, and put Hawaii’s many initiatives in context with others around the world.

The HVCA says that Hawaii has “a perfect storm of economic and environmental conditions that make it the world’s best test bed for innovation.”

“The most innovative startups, backed by the likes of GE Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Bill Gates rather than the traditional Silicon Valley VCs, flock to our islands,” the group writes. “Non-traditional investors, such as large financial institutions and family offices, are establishing new models to deploy patient capital.”

The panelists, guided by moderator and Energy Excelerator director Dawn Lippert, will cover how Hawaii businesses and entrepreneurs can capitalize on this influx of interest and capital.

This month’s luncheon is sponsored by ecoQoob, a Honolulu-based energy startup led by former Revolusun partner and Sunectric developer Charles Wang.

The HVCA event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27 at The Plaza Club (900 Fort Street, 20th Floor). Tickets are available online, $30 for HVCA members and $40 general admission. For more information, visit, connect with the HVCA on Facebook, or follow @HVCA808 on Twitter.

Photo courtesy Jim Larrison on Flickr.


1 Response

  1. August 25, 2015

    […] respective technologies. No doubt more details of the expanded relationship will be revealed at Thursday’s HVCA luncheon, which features a panel that includes Rick Robertson, Senior Director of Power & Water at GE […]

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