In this cover story for the new year, we asked several experts from a wide variety of industries in Hawaii to tell us what they're hopeful for, and concerned about, in 2018. Here's what leaders in the energy, finance and tech sectors had to say.
What is the biggest problem in your world right now that needs to be solved?
Since Ulupono Initiative was formed in 2009, we've dedicated our work and investments to helping Hawaii become more self-sufficient and resilient in the areas of renewable energy, local food production, and the management of our waste and water resources. While we continue to invest in for-profit and non-profit projects that have the potential to impact these sectors, our biggest challenge continues to be navigating and building an awareness of the complex networks and systems that form Hawaii's unique foundation.
What are you excited about for the coming year?
We are hopeful that more innovation, ideas and integration will lead to sustainable solutions for the Islands. We are optimistic that 2018 will bring better partnerships, new opportunities and collective thinking. For example, we are ending 2017 with a renewed spirit for one of our largest energy projects, Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning, which reached a preliminary agreement with the state of Hawaii in November. We look forward to seeing that momentum carry HSWAC forward and have it come to fruition.
What are you worried about?
We have learned firsthand the difficulty of getting good projects off the ground. Hawaii’s reputation for moving at a slower pace is worrisome for progress. From permits to regulation, it takes projects two, sometimes three, times longer to be developed here than other states. The lengthy processes cost valuable time and resources, and are huge barriers to getting things done. If Hawaii wants to be a test bed for innovation, we must find a compromise.
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