New PUC regulator to take a seat as Hawaii forges ahead to 100% renewables
- The Hawaii Senate has confirmed Jennifer Potter to serve on the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to replace Commissioner Lorraine Akiba whose term is up this summer. Akiba was appointed in 2012 by former Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Her term expires June 30.
- Previously, Potter was an assistant specialist at the Mānoa’s Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute and has worked in Lawrence Berkeley National Lab's policy and market group.
- Potter, nominated in March by Gov. David Ige (D), will join the commission as it works to achieve the state's aggressive energy goals, which aim for 100% renewables by 2045.
Hawaii has the most ambitious renewable energy goal in the country, standing only about a quarter century out from its all-renewables target. The state has been looking to solar, batteries, efficiency and demand management in a variety of proceedings, meaning Potter will step in a a busy time.
In particular, the commission last month launched a proceeding to consider performance-based rates for the state’s regulated utilities, aiming to focus them on increased green energy, lower costs and better customer service.
According to Big Island Now, Potter's energy background is impressive. While at LBNL, she led the 2025 California Demand Response Potential Study for the California Public Utilities Commission and previously worked at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
In many ways, Hawaii is at the forefront of the utility sector's evolution into a cleaner, more responsive and technologically savvy industry. Electric vehicles, for instance, are expected to be the norm rather than exception by 2045. And the state has embarked on an ambitious goal to power its grid with 100% renewable energy by 2045. Part of that plan included utilities, such as Hawaiian Electric Co. filing comprehensive plans to outline how they planned to meet the target. PUC’s approval of HECO’s $205 million grid modernization proposal.
Earlier this year following two years of technical and financial analysis, regulators signed off on a slate of demand response and solar programs. HECO has also filed its "Electrification of Transportation Strategic Roadmap" with the commission, outlining how it will utilize growing EV adoption to lower system costs, bring more rooftop solar onto the grid and ultimately help meet the state's 100% renewables goal.
- Pacific Business News Senate confirms Ige's pick for Hawaii Public Utilities Commission
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