Our Collaboration

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The Pathways to an Open Grid: O’ahu project is a collaboration between the Hawai’i Natural Energy Institute, Gridworks, a 501(c)3 organization, Kevala, an energy data analytics platform, and Elemental Excelerator. The promise of the project team is to support a collaborative process with independent facilitation, analysis, tools and perspective.


Hawaii Natural Energy Institute

The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) conducts essential energy research relevant to Hawaii and the world.  Programs focus on identifying technically sound, cost effective solutions and practical strategies that can be implemented to deliver commercially viable renewable energy.  The ultimate goal is to achieve a stable and cost-effective energy mix for Hawaii, while reducing our dependence on oil and other fossil fuel resources. 
HNEI was established in 1974 to coordinate and undertake the development of natural energy sources for Hawaii.  In 2005, HNEI faculty developed a strategic plan which called for HNEI to be the UH and State focal point for multidisciplinary research and education on the energy supply for Hawaii. In this plan, HNEI proposed to take a leadership role in the development of public-private partnerships for sustainable energy deployment and demonstration projects in Hawaii. 
HNEI has become recognized as an independent organization providing trustworthy and practical information to support the safe, reliable, and economically viable development of renewable energy technologies and systems.  The foundation of HNEI’s strength lies in its people and partners.  The diversity of talents, education, experience, and the entrepreneurial spirit of this team creates flexibility in performing a range of renewable energy development responsibilities.  HNEI also serves as a critical bridge between State and Federal initiatives, supporting for example the “Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative, to achieve the goal of 70 percent clean energy by 2030, and the state's more recent 100% renewable portfolio standard. In summary, HNEI’s responsibilities go beyond traditional academic research, playing a significant role in public-private partnerships and supporting analysis for state energy policy. 


Kevala provides data-driven insights for an evolving energy market by combining proprietary analytics with advanced grid mapping. We help new entrants target the best locations for distributed assets and provide decision support for utilities and policymakers managing a complex energy ecosystem.  Users subscribing to our platform can explore, explain and discover impacts of all types of clean energy investments. We are unlocking the grid on a foundation of hard-to-get local electrical distribution data, demographic and building characteristics, environmental indicators and more. Kevala is the default decision engine for the energy+ economy in the United States.


Gridworks (formerly known as More Than Smart) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to convene, educate and empower stakeholders to decarbonize electricity grids.
Since 2010, Gridworks has enabled this mission through four strategies: by identifying high-value challenges to decarbonizing electricity grids; convening stakeholders and providing them neutral ground, technical support and facilitation to identify break-through solutions to identified challenges; publishing and helping implement identified solutions; and adapting successful solutions to new markets.

Elemental Excelerator

We believe in the power of innovation and people to create transformative change. We work to improve communities through technology innovation, economic opportunity, and sustainable modernization. This is what we call place-based innovation. What does that mean? It means that we look at the challenges of a specific place and then work with the community and startups to solve these challenges in innovative ways.

Elemental Excelerator is a nonprofit created in collaboration with Emerson Collective, an investment and philanthropic platform. Elemental Excelerator works collaboratively with Emerson Collective’s Elemental practice, which focuses on strengthening the relationship between humanity and nature through scalable, equitable, and innovative solutions. We are funded by the U.S. Navy and a diverse coalition of utility partners, corporate partners, the U.S. Department of Energy, state government, and philanthropic organizations. Our goal is not only to curate a portfolio of innovative and impactful startups, but also to build an ecosystem of passionate people working to change the world, one community at a time. We hope you’ll join us.