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Hawaiian Electric working to improve resiliency against natural disasters

Hawaiian Electric

The Hawaiian Electric Company is building resiliency into its systems and grids as the state moves toward a clean energy future.

The Hawaiʻi Society for Business Professionals hosted a webinar Thursday focusing on the utility’s renewable energy and green initiatives.

HECO Vice President of Planning and Technology Colton Ching says the utility is on track to meeting or exceeding its goal of 70% renewable energy by 2030.

He says as part of the utility’s transition to a renewable electric grid, it has been planning and preparing it for natural disasters and the impacts of climate change.

"We rely very heavily on our own people, on our own engineers, our own electricians, our own linemen. The resources needed to respond to events are here. They’re always here," Ching said. "There’s a lot of work that we need to do to make our grid more resilient, and we need to upgrade, strengthen, harden."

"Our system that was designed for the weather and storms that we used to have in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, we need to design them for the kinds of storms, rain bombs, high winds that we’re experiencing today, and will experience in the next 20 to 30 years," he added.

Ching says the utility also has a mutual aid agreement with utilities in other states to get assistance when needed.

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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