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Six Reasons Hawaii is Paradise for Energy Startups Six Reasons Hawaii is Paradise for Energy Startups

Six Reasons Hawaii is Paradise for Energy Startups

by Dawn Lippert
September 7, 2013

The Energy Excelerator is a startup program dedicated to helping solve the world’s energy problems, starting in Hawaii. Why Hawaii? The island state has the best economic conditions for launching a clean energy company on the planet. Here are six reasons why, and one reason why everyone else should care:

1. Electricity prices are quadruple those on the mainland.

While this means high electric bills for residents, it is an opportunity for energy startups whose technologies are cheaper than grid electricity. Those solar panels tied into a neighborhood battery with next-generation controls and electronics are actually a good investment when compared to Hawaii electricity costs.

2. Hawaii pioneered the most aggressive clean energy goals in the nation because the government is super-serious about getting off imported oil.

We use the sticky black stuff for electricity as well as cars and airplanes. Yuck. Our goals of 40 percent renewable energy and 30 percent energy efficiency by 2030 will help change that.

3. Excellent natural resources.

You know that Hawaii’s sun, breeze, plants, volcanoes, streams, and ocean make for a stellar vacation destination. But did you know that these same resources could provide all the renewable energy that the islands need?  

4. Lots of renewable energy already in place.

Hawaii has very high levels of solar and wind energy (on Maui, more than 50 percent of the energy capacity is solar or wind!), which cause variability on small island grids. New technologies are needed to effectively integrate these resources, and we’re all looking for the best solutions.

5. Customers.

Every startup needs customers, and we have motivated ones in Hawaii and the Asia Pacific—including the U.S. military, whose Pacific Command is headquartered in Honolulu.

6. Energy Excelerator.

On top of these ideal economic conditions, we’ve built an infrastructure to specifically support startup companies. The Energy Excelerator helps innovative energy companies succeed in Hawaii and the Asia Pacific region with non-dilutive funding up to $1M, strategic relationships, and a vibrant ecosystem. The Department of Navy just backed this effort with $30M, and that kind of non-dilutive funding doesn’t come around too often for energy startups. The program is accepting applications until September 27 at energyexcelerator.com.

And one reason everyone else should care: Some people may doubt that clean energy can power the world. But as Hawaii successfully transforms into a clean energy economy based on solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, energy efficiency, and clean transportation, we will show others that it can be done. Then you can take this model to your community, and help create a greener future where you live.

Beyond ideal economic conditions, funding, and customer relationships, we build a community around startups. This is what makes Hawaii special, and it’s something you have to experience for yourself. Get in touch; we’d love to hear from you. 

Wind farm image via Shutterstock

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