Technological innovation and public policy are foundational elements of any energy transition – which we define as a multilevel and purposive intervention to replace or modify an existing energy ecosystem with renewable energy resources, a modernized energy grid (i.e. smart grid), storage infrastructure and governance. Energy policy development and support must work in concert with the research, design, deployment and demonstration (RDD&D) of new and improved technologies to efficiently manage change within a complex, integrated energy business system. Whether policy is intended to be a driver of technological innovation or a facilitator in removing institutional inertia that is blocking technological change, HNEI applies an analytical framework to appropriately align public policy and technological development beneficial to Hawai‘i and society at large.
HNEI has a clear understanding that policy drivers should be informed by technical and economic analyses to create long term, sustainable solutions that minimize risk and unintended consequences. HNEI’s independent and impartial research, analysis, demonstration and testing has informed critical decisions made by regulators, legislators, utilities, and other energy stakeholders at the state, federal and international levels. In Hawai‘i, HNEI closely collaborates with the State Energy Office and the Public Utilities Commission to support Hawai‘i’s energy transformation. HNEI also exports its knowledge and expertise to assist governments in the Asia-Pacific region with policy design and implementation roadmaps to support energy transition efforts globally.