2015 has been an active year in Hawai‘i’s business world. From stories of development and planning to transportation and electricity, actions taken this year will help determine the future of the state. Pacific Business News editor in chief A. Kam Napier has some highlights.
2015 has been especially eventful. This is the year that rail construction became a daily fact of life for commuters. And it’s the year that construction started on the Thirty Meter Telescope – and then stopped, first due to protests, then to a state Supreme Court decision that vacated the projects permit.
This is the year the redevelopment of Kaka’ako started taking shape, with multiple high-rise condominium underway by such developers as the Howard Hughes Corporation and Alexander and Baldwin. If you want to remember the Kaka’ako of old, start taking pictures.
It’s the year that the legislature approved a system of dispensaries to provide patients with medical marijuana. Applicants are preparing their pitches for January, hoping to become one of just 16 operators in a new industry that could see combined revenues of nearly $3-million a month.
The biggest business story of the year, however, is the attempt by NextEra energy to purchase Hawaiian Electric Industries for $4.3-Billion. Most recently, the Public Utilities Commission has been holding public hearings. They’ve featured sometimes-contentious exchanges as Hawai’i debates whether or not the Florida-based utility giant is the partner the state needs to achieve its goal of being on 100% renewable energy by 2045.
Hearings will resume early next year, delayed by scheduling conflicts for venues. The PUC could make a decision as early as June of next year.