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National energy leader visits Hawaiʻi, emphasizes 'real world' climate action

David Turk
Savannah Harriman-Pote
/
HPR
David Turk spoke as a keynote speaker among state leaders and energy advocates at the Hawaiʻi Energy Policy Forum on Thursday.

Hawaiʻi needs to be a leader in the clean energy transition if the U.S. is going to meet its climate goals, said Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk.

He believes this is a “magic moment” to transform energy grids, with record levels of funding available from the Inflation Reduction Act.

However, policymakers need to act fast in order to make use of that money.

Turk spoke as a keynote speaker among state leaders and energy advocates at the Hawaiʻi Energy Policy Forum on Thursday.

This was the forum's 20th anniversary legislative briefing and took place shortly after Hawaiʻi Climate Week.

"It's great to be passionate. It's phenomenal to see folks out there protesting and doing marches and other kinds of things and holding political leaders' feet to the fire," Turk said.

"What we need to do is translate that into: where does that impact real world action? How do we accelerate the pace of what we need to be doing? Going forward?"

That means taking stock of what resources are needed, including manpower. Turk said education is a crucial part of creating a workforce that can build a clean energy future.

"There is a passion and a commitment and this youngest generation that's inspiring," he said. "What we need to do is help inform their career choices and help channel that for real world impact."

Under the Biden-Harris administration, the U.S. has set a goal to reach 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035.

Savannah Harriman-Pote is the energy and climate change reporter.
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