Mana Pacific Co-Hosts Second Cohort of the Blue Planet Alliance 100% Renewable Energy Fellowship in Honolulu

From May 5-11th, Mana Pacific co-hosted and facilitated the second cohort of Blue Planet Alliance‘s Fellowship Program, which aims to provide tangible resources and action plans for island attendees to achieve 100% renewable energy. The Fellowship was held in Honolulu, Hawaii, with over 40 representatives from 10 islands, including Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands from the Pacific; Jamaica, Bermuda, Grenada, Dominica, and Puerto Rico from the Caribbean, and Seychelles from the Indian Ocean.

Team Jamaica injecting a "bolt" of energy into the first day of the Fellowship at the East-West Center
Inside the main room, where speakers presented and key discussions were held throughout the week

The week kicked off with a Hawaiian blessing and island groups sharing insights into their cultures and renewable energy journeys. In addition, key speakers representing Hawaii spoke in its legislative journey towards 100% renewable energy, including its former Governor and renewable energy champion, David Ige. He not only highlighted the passage of the state’s groundbreaking 100% renewable energy law in 2015 that set the example for other states, but also the path that Hawaii has taken since and continues to take into the future.

In addition, attendees heard from Senator Chris Lee, the 100% renewable energy bill’s primary senatorial champion. Among points about the positive direction Hawaii is headed, Chris showcased his childhood beach and how it is barely in existence today: a living example of the current effect that climate change is already having on island communities. However, with continual hard work to make the right choices for the future rather than maintaining the status quo, islands can change their fate.

Former Hawaii Governor, David Ige

Throughout the week, each island country or territory spent time in break-out rooms that were facilitated entirely by the Mana Pacific team. These rooms allowed each island team to learn and share insights, barriers, and successes with each other. Furthermore, they were prompted to outline how the discussed resources and strategies showcased by speakers can or should be applied at home, if they had not been already. 

To see technologies operating in action, we spent time touring Oahu’s only agrivoltaic farm. Built by Clearway Energy Group, this solar farm is five years old and was transformed into an agrivoltaic research site run by HARC (Hawaii Agriculture Research Center) to test the effects of growing certain crops under and around the existing solar infrastructure. Being the only operational agrivoltaic site in the tropics, this project is essential to learning the best practices and accelerating the growth of agrivoltaics across the region and island nations around the globe.

Fellowship cohort attendees and hosts together at the agrivoltaic farm in northern Oahu
Mana Pacific Managing Director of Origination, Nailasikau Halatuituia, at the agrivoltaic site

To get into the financial and technological strategies, this week included and was not limited to: modeling software workshops utilizing Xendee provided by ASU Laboratory for Energy And Power Solutions (LEAPS), resources for creative financing solutions from the private and public sector including examples from Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority, and an overview of grid stabilizing technologies presented by Mana Pacific Chief Engineer Logan Weber. Logan touched on battery storage, strategies for spinning reserve, power systems modeling, and grid controls, to name a few.

Mana Pacific Chief Engineer Logan Weber presenting on grid-stabilizing technologies for island grids
During his presentation, Logan took the time to discuss technical questions with the audience

At the end of the week, the island attendees were facilitated by the entire Mana Pacific team to draft tangible short-term and long-term action items that each member could commit to in order to further their island’s transition to 100% renewable. After each island team presented their commitments to the entire fellowship cohort, the week ended with a closing ceremony at the Governor’s estate in Honolulu. 

What a week! Mana Pacific extends its thanks to their partner, Blue Planet Alliance, for making this happen. As an official technical and project development partner to this Fellowship, Mana Pacific is excited to continue working with all of the island attendees and assisting them with their energy transitions.

Mana Pacific Energy Policy and Project Manager, Sierra Jackovics, shaking hands with Hawaii Governor Josh Green, next to Blue Planet Alliance Founder, Henk Rogers
Mana Pacific Energy Policy and Project Manager, Sierra Jackovics, and Government Affairs Intern, Madalyn Tolbert, with cohort attendees from Seychelles and Bermuda