HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian Electric Company today marked 125 years of serving the people of Hawai?i, providing the energy to fuel the state's growth and powering its emergence as a leader in the adoption of renewable energy. Hawaiian Electric Company, Ltd. was registered to do business by the Kingdom of Hawai'i and was subsequently incorporated on Oct. 13, 1891.
Today, Hawaiian Electric and its subsidiaries, Maui Electric and Hawai?i Electric Light, lead the nation in renewable energy. Currently, renewable resources are used to generate 23 percent of the electricity on the islands' grids and are expected to reach nearly 50 percent by 2020, putting Hawaiian Electric well ahead of the targets set by the state and on course to achieve Hawai?i's 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2045.
"We are proud of our 125 years of service and are committed to Hawaii's clean energy goals. We will honor our past and retain our values but are transforming to help our customers meet the challenges and opportunities provided by technology in renewable energy, at a reasonable cost," said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO.
Throughout its history, Hawaiian Electric has played an integral role in the state's growth and development. On Dec. 7, 1941, as Japanese war planes strafed the Waiau Power Plant at Pearl Harbor with machine gun fire, 13 workers stayed at their posts to safely shut down the plant. "The plant is under attack – secured everything," the plant's log book recorded.
In 1949, the first high-voltage transmission line was built across the Ko`olau mountain range to serve the growing Windward side of O`ahu.
And since the 1970s, Hawaiian Electric has been in the vanguard of research and development of renewable technologies, including wind turbines and electric vehicles. Its successful wind turbine pilot projects in Kahuku in the 1980s and use of electric vehicles in its fleet for more than 40 years are examples of how the company has built on this experience to become a nationally recognized leader in renewable energy technology.
To commemorate the anniversary, over the next year Hawaiian Electric will give back to the community with 125 Acts of Aloha. These charitable donations and service projects will benefit agencies and programs committed to building a more sustainable future for Hawai?i.
Throughout the next 12 months, Hawaiian Electric will support non-profit and community organizations with more than 125 charitable contributions and service projects. These efforts will focus on three key areas: Education, especially in STEM, science, mathematics, engineering and technology, family and community support, and Environmental stewardship.
Hawaiian Electric kicked off the campaign earlier this month at its Clean Energy Fair at Kahala Mall by presenting donations of $10,000 to Trust for Public Lands, $10,000 to the Institute for Human Services, and $5,000 to Sustainable Coastlines.
Over the years, Hawaiian Electric has contributed millions of dollars and countless hours of volunteer work to community organizations that benefit local communities and the environment. In 2014 and 2015, the company contributed $1.5 million to 200 non-profit and community organizations and its employees and their `ohana contributed 27,000 volunteer hours through community service projects, many spearheaded by their employees.
"All of us at Hawaiian Electric have worked hard through all of these years to help make these islands a better place to live and raise our families," Oshima said. "It's been that way for 125 years and will continue for generations to come."