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Pacific Business News: Close to 200 people attend Hawaii Energy’s inaugural Innovation Symposium


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Hawaii Energy attracted almost 200 attendees and more than 20 exhibitors for its inaugural Innovation Symposium at the Sheraton Waikiki hotel on Thursday.

The one-day conference, which kicked off at 8 a.m. this morning, featured a number of energy-related seminars and several high-profile speakers, including Elemental Excelerator CEO Dawn Lippert and Jennifer Potter, who will join the state Public Utilities Commission as its newest commissioner this summer.

"Today's event is another example of innovation. It's a new approach to being able to connect customers, clean energy allies and other energy stakeholders," Brian Kealoha, executive director of Hawaii Energy, said in his opening remarks. "The idea for this event didn't come from us, it really came from a lot of you guys here in this room."

Hawaii Energy said the event was designed to provide Hawaii businesses of all sizes with vital tools necessary to evaluate their energy usage and increase their profits.

The inaugural Innovation Symposium, which was sponsored by Honolulu-based investment firm Ulupono Initiative, welcomed a total of 196 attendees, along with 23 exhibitors, according to Hawaii Energy's Marvin Buenconsejo.

"In the end it's really incumbent on all of us here today that we build a robust energy community," Kealoha said. "Innovation also requires takings risks, and at times that's accompanied with failure. The importance is to learn from that failure, to improve and ultimately succeed."

Hawaii Energy, the state's ratepayer-funded energy conservation and efficiency program, is coming off its most successful program year in history.

According to its most recent annual report, the organization helped deliver 141 million kilowatt-hours in first-year savings from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017, and 1.76 billion kWh in lifetime energy savings.

The program delivered 35 percent more energy savings with 20 percent less budget in program year 2016 than it did in PY 2015.

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