Special Report

Electric Dreams

About the Series

For the past 125 years, Hawaiian Electric Co. has helped shape Hawaii’s development, its politics and its culture. We explore its past to see what we can learn about its future.
How One Company Turned ‘Darkness Into Day’ Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Chapter 1: How One Company Turned ‘Darkness Into Day’

From its beginning in 1891, Hawaiian Electric Co. has been deeply entwined with the economic, political and social history of Hawaii.
Friends In High Places Helped HECO Tighten Its Grip On Hawaii Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Chapter 2: Friends In High Places Helped HECO Tighten Its Grip On Hawaii

The federal government's takeover of Hawaii proved extremely fortuitous for Hawaiian Electric. So was the involvement of leading local families.
Learning To Live In The Electric Century Courtesy of Hawaiian Electric Co.

Chapter 3: Learning To Live In The Electric Century

Hawaiian Electric Co. saw its profits skyrocket as people began using newfangled electric appliances.
How HECO Helped Pull Hawaii Through The Tough Times Courtesy of Hawaiian Electric

Chapter 4: How HECO Helped Pull Hawaii Through The Tough Times

Hawaiian Electric played a key role in Hawaii's economic recovery from the Great Depression. And then World War II hit the islands.
Why Everyone Wanted To Work For Hawaiian Electric Wikimedia Commons

Chapter 5: Why Everyone Wanted To Work For Hawaiian Electric

With a devastating war behind it, Hawaii embraced the promise of a bright future. And it needed HECO more than ever.
What Happened When HECO Went To Wall Street Courtesy of the Hawaiian Electric Co. - All Rights Reserved

Chapter 6: What Happened When HECO Went To Wall Street

Energized by statehood and a booming economy, Hawaiian Electric began to reach beyond Oahu for investors and investments.
How A Mideast War Made HECO Start To Think Green PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Chapter 7: How A Mideast War Made HECO Start To Think Green

The Arab oil crisis brought a new awareness of the promise of renewable energy. But the spark fizzled. Hawaiian Electric was hooked on oil.
Big Risks Led To Big Losses For Hawaiian Electric Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Chapter 8: Big Risks Led To Big Losses For Hawaiian Electric

Hawaiian Electric leaders tried to turn an electric utility into an investment powerhouse. It didn't quite stick.
Why It Took A Republican Governor To Get Blue Hawaii On The Path To Clean Energy ProVision Solar

Chapter 9: Why It Took A Republican Governor To Get Blue Hawaii On The Path To Clean Energy

When Gov. Linda Lingle pushed for sweeping renewable energy legislation, Hawaiian Electric pushed back. But Lingle eventually won.
How The Quest For Clean Energy Sank HECO’s Biggest Deal Ever Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Chapter 10: How The Quest For Clean Energy Sank HECO’s Biggest Deal Ever

Hawaii political leaders and regulators didn't think selling Hawaiian Electric to a mainland company would help get the utility off oil.
What’s Next For The Company That Shaped Hawaii History? Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Chapter 11: What’s Next For The Company That Shaped Hawaii History?

The president of Hawaiian Electric Co. discusses how the utility plans to get Hawaii to a 100 percent renewable energy future and the difficulties it faces.

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Back To The Future — The ‘Honolulu Of Tomorrow’

Seventy years ago, Hawaiian Electric Co. envisioned the future. Here's what it looked like.