Dennis Esaki

1. Why are you running?

We have come a long way and I want to keep KIUC on track. The task of getting KIUC started was like a camel going through the eye of the needle, but with perseverance and divine intervention we got it and we have a $100 million turnaround with equity buildup and refunds. There always are new issues arising, such as battery storage and the equity in the co-op. I also recognize that one of the biggest jobs the board has is to choose a good CEO.

2. What expertise and experience will you bring to the board?

As a co-founder, I learned from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, which has about 900 member co-ops like ours. Until last year, I was a national director of the association headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, being the chairman of the Marketing, Communication and Business Development Committee. I was in the first graduating KIUC class of the NRECA Credentialed Cooperative Director Class and was a former chairman of the board that brought the directors together.

3. What will you do to help KIUC meet its renewable energy goal of generating at least 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2023?

Together with Derek Kawakami, I helped to establish the goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2023 and we are on track. We are leading the state and the nation in solar PV. Now, we are looking at energy storage like better battery systems, pumped hydro and perhaps “time of use charges” to help even out the loads.

4. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing KIUC in providing energy to Kauai and what can be done to meet that challenge?

Because of the endangered bird issue we can not use windmills to the extent that it could be feasible. We have pursued solar PV on residential rooftops as well as large businesses that are benefiting because it is “subsidized” by those who can not afford to have one. Perhaps we have to look at this.

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