Lanai Should Be A Model For Smart Grid Transformation - Honolulu Civil Beat

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About the Author

Mina Morita

Mina Morita was born and raised on Lanai and now lives in Hanalei, Kauai. She served as chair of the state House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee from 1999 to 2011 and was the chair of the Public Utilities Commission from 2011 to 2015.


If Larry Ellison’s Pulama Lanai truly is a “sustainability focused company” it would be concerned about how defection would impact Lanai’s electricity rates rather than simply taking a self-serving approach with its proposed micro-grid project.

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Anything less is simply green-washing for the sole benefit of its uber-expensive resorts at the expense of other Lanai businesses and residents and even other Pulama Lanai entities not connected to the micro-grid.

Especially on a small island like Lanai, any incremental and piecemeal project-based approach, no matter how “green,” is the antithesis of needed transformation in a rapidly changing technological environment affecting the energy, water, telecommunications and transportation sectors.

Through Pulama Lanai’s decision to install a micro-grid, the island is being challenged by a real world prisoner’s dilemma, which can only be resolved at this time through cooperation between Hawaiian Electric Company and Pulama Lanai.

The unacceptable choice is evident: The Lanai electric grid cannot remain a relic of the 20th century, pushing out a single product (electricity) through a one way pipeline.

Tech billionaire Larry Ellison, who owns most of Lanai. Courtesy: Oracle

What is required is a clear vision and the urgency to achieve an organizational culture and operational fortitude to plan out and implement a thorough and thoughtful system wide strategy to redesign Lanai’s critical infrastructure and make wise investments to benefit the Lanai community as a whole.

Lanai should be a model for major transformation, showcasing a multi-dimensional utility smart grid incorporating energy, water, telecommunications and transportation infrastructure.

So it baffles me why the founder of one of the world’s largest computer software companies has not proposed using his company’s suite of enterprise and utility products to help solve this real world prisoner’s dilemma to manage networks and assets, improve energy efficiency to deliver essential services so the entire island of Lanai can “thrive in a sustainable, affordable energy and water future” too.

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About the Author

Mina Morita

Mina Morita was born and raised on Lanai and now lives in Hanalei, Kauai. She served as chair of the state House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee from 1999 to 2011 and was the chair of the Public Utilities Commission from 2011 to 2015.


Latest Comments (0)

Good to hear Mina Morita’s clear voice again. Question is are Larry Ellison and Pulama Lanai listening? Hope so, but I think not.

George3 · 1 month ago

Ms. Morita has the right ideas. Time to think creatively and to think big.

DanlCSmith · 2 months ago

It baffles you why the founder of one of the world’s largest computer software companies has not proposed using his company’s suite of enterprise and utility products?NextEra Energy proposed to use its suite of utility services to transform the grid throughout the entire state, including running high voltage undersea cables to interconnect the island grids in 2014.Who was head of the PUC then and why didn't they grab that once in a lifetime opportunity? Why did the Governor fight against it?Ellison reads the newspapers. He's not going to waste his time.

NancyKwanHo · 2 months ago

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