Meet our ohana: Samantha Ruiz

Mar 10, 2021

As director of regulatory affairs for Ulupono Initiative, Samantha Ruiz brings tremendous strength to the team in its work as an intervenor and advocate in complex regulatory proceedings that ultimately guide the path to a more sustainable and resilient Hawaii, particularly in the area of renewable energy. 

Prior to joining Ulupono Initiative, Samantha served as an energy analyst at the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC), where she led research on a number of diverse topics, including distributed energy resources, microgrids, grid modernization and renewable energy procurements processes. Before working with the PUC, Samantha served as a regulatory analyst for a Honolulu-based boutique law firm, Yamamoto Caliboso, and as an energy consultant for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Samantha’s knowledge of energy policy and sustainable development is an asset in moving Ulupono Initiative’s mission goals forward. Her role promotes sustainable change within Hawaii’s renewable energy sector and will expand to include clean transportation, local food production, and better management of freshwater and waste. Most recently, Samantha provided support in the area of performance-based regulation. In December 2020, following the groundwork laid by several years of collaborative meetings and workshops with involved stakeholders (including Ulupono Initiative), the PUC announced its approval of the pioneering performance-based regulatory framework that encourages Hawaiian Electric to make improvements to its business operations and services to accelerate renewable energy innovation and meet customer needs and the state’s energy policy goals. The PUC’s decision marks a crucial step toward Hawaii reaching its goal of 100% renewable-energy usage by 2045.

Samantha earned a master’s degree in environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School in South Royalton, Vermont, and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and urban and regional planning from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida.

Click here to learn more about Samantha and the Ulupono Initiative team.