What I learned from experts and change-makers at VERGE Hawaii

(Click on links for full audio interviews with Josh Stanbro, Peter Asmus, and Sam Hartnett)

Arriving at the VERGE conference in Waikiki


Aloha colleagues! I’m still pinching my freshly sunburned self about having made it to Oahu (Prosper Sustainably’s home for the next 6 months) just in time to attend the inspiring VERGE Clean Energy Summit in Waikiki. I’m excited to share what I learned by talking with many of the leaders pushing progress forward Hawaii’s aggressive energy and emission goals, along with experts working on some of the world’s most promising clean energy strategies.

Honolulu is Driving Forward a Carbon-Free Future

Expensive oil imports and climate vulnerabilities have compelled leaders in the State of Hawaii to push forward a mandate to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity and ground transportation by 2045. The City and County of Honolulu is doing its part by building America’s fully driverless transit system. The 20-mile autonomous, elevated rail system is expected to alleviate both traffic congestion and fuel emissions. To further transform Honolulu’s transportation ecosystem, Josh Stanbro, Chief Resiliency Officer, is looking to models in places like Helsinki where residents are giving up their cars and buying “mobility as a service to be able to jump in a Lyft and then jump on a train or get on a bike and have that be a one tap pass.”

You can hear our entire fascinating conversation on Lowering Oil Imports and Emissions in Honolulu: An Interview with Josh Stanbro, including Josh’s advice about what you should be briefing your local decision-makers about.

Communities are Becoming More Resilient With Microgrids

I have been following Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant Research and president of Pathfinder Communications, over LinkedIn for a while. He is a prolific, and internationally-recognized researcher and writer on microgrids and virtual power plants and always shares amazing content on the latest in distributed energy resources and energy resiliency technologies. Peter was nice enough to sit down with me and share his insights on local to global microgrid trends. On the topic of community microgrids, Peter says that certain states, particularly California and Northeastern states, are seeing a fast rise in microgrid development in part because they have supportive policies and grant opportunities targeting institutional and municipal facilities.

You aren’t going to want to miss his recommendations for How Communities Can Decide if a Microgrid is Right for Them – An Interview with Peter Asmus.”

Blockchain Technology May Help Meet Energy Goals

I also spent some time with Sam Hartnett, Senior Analyst with Rocky Mountain Institute, who is working on the cutting edge of blockchain technology for energy. Blockchains are basically a digital way to manage transactions, without a centralized manager. It can be applied to money, such as Bit Coin, a form of cryptocurrency that avoids the central management of banks. However, there are several promising ways that block chain can manage energy transactions, including opening up the floodgates of energy suppliers, and even setting the stage for neighbors to trade energy amongst themselves and get much more value out of their rooftop solar systems.

If you want a glimpse into the disruptive technology that may just be the backbone to a decentralized and decarbonized energy economy, you’ll want to check out our conversation on “Can Blockchain Technology Help Communities Meet Clean Energy Goals: An Interview  with Sam Hartnett

I left VERGE feeling inspired and hopeful, and now I want to hear from you! What emerging community sustainability solutions are you most hopeful about? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.



As Prosper Sustainably continues to hit the streets in various communities, our goal is to continue sharing strategies, ideas and insights with those of you working to help hometowns prosper, sustainably. We invite you to join us us on Facebook, Youtube, and Linkedin. If you know colleagues that would appreciate a dose of inspiration, we would appreciate if you would share this with them!


Written by Angie Hacker, Vice President and Senior Consultant, Prosper Sustainably

I’m Angie. I’m a mom and sustainability consultant. I love communities and have been serving them for nearly 20 years, implementing solutions that protect the places that people call home. My family and I are now exploring communities around the world, meeting hometown heroes and thought leaders, and we are convinced. Solutions exist. In data, in technology, in policy, in plans, in projects, and in programs. They are all a part of the tale future generations will tell about how we chose a thriving future. Let’s find them together. Let’s move faster and smarter. Let’s prosper, sustainably.




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