Governor Neil Abercrombie last night signed an agreement with Mr. Yu Ping, Vice Chairman of the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), to pursue mutual interests in clean energy development. The Letter of Intent was signed by both parties just hours after the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Hawai'i-China CEO Forum "Transforming to Clean Energy."
"We set out to do business with China and I believe this past weekend, we've accomplished a first step in moving towards a direction of mutual economic growth in the area of clean energy," said Governor Abercrombie. "Mr. Ping was very excited to enter into an agreement in which the state of Hawai'i and China will pursue clean energy business projects in the near future."
Governor Abercrombie began courting Chinese businesses last month when he visited Beijing. Yesterday, the Governor hosted members of the CCPIT and Chinese APEC delegates at Washington Place along with state lawmakers and local business leaders. Attendees were treated to local cuisine, music and hula, and were provided information about local energy business ventures.
The gathering was followed by a two-hour Hawai'i-CEO Forum called, "Transforming to Clean Energy" held in the House Chambers and hosted by House of Representatives Speaker Calvin Say. Participants included the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism's State Energy Office, CCPIT, U.S. Pacific Command, Bestsun Energy Group and state lawmakers.
The Letter of Intent signed by Governor Abercrombie and CCPIT cites "there was invoked a spirit of collaboration between China and Hawai'i on clean energy development efforts, as passionately presented by esteemed panelists from Hawai'i and China."
The next step for both parties is to collaborate on a more defined memorandum of understanding by March 30, 2012.
"This weekend has advanced our collaboration with China and the U.S. Department of Energy," said Governor Abercrombie. "We all recognize the need for lessening our dependence on fossil fuels and there is also recognition that energy projects present economic growth opportunities."
On Saturday, two dozen government and private leaders working on achieving Hawai'i's clean energy goals participated in the roundtable discussion at the Governor's office. Leading the roundtable was U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, and Governor Abercrombie. Subjects ranged from operations of renewable energy, to continued smart grid advancements, biofuel development, and the necessity of an inter-island cable.
At the meeting Secretary Chu expressed great interest in the State's current energy initiatives noting that Hawai'i is "the perfect test-bed."
"As we compete in the global marketplace for the clean energy jobs of tomorrow, we need to continue to invest in the technologies that will create jobs here in Hawai'i and ensure American companies remain competitive," stated Secretary Chu.
Currently, the state and the U.S. Department of Energy have partnered on The Hawai'i Clean Energy Initiative which is focused on implementing actions to reduce Hawai'i's dependence of fossil fuel oil by 70 percent by 2030.