HECO is preparing for the next big storm. Their primary focus is on how to make the Windard Oahu power grid more resilient both in withstand potentially damaging winds and enabling a fast restoration of power when the grid is damaged.
To their credit, HECO is not limiting their study to just the power grid. They are taking a holistic approach to regional planning and looking at everything that must be done to make our communities as resilient as possible.
As a result of climate change, Hawaiʻi and other locations around the world are becoming increasingly vulnerable to severe weather events.
In 2017, the U.S. experienced 16 separate weather‐related disasters, exceeding $306 billion in damages. Entire communities were devastated, with families losing loved ones, as well as their homes and livelihoods.
In Puerto Rico, the island and its people are still recovering more than a year after Hurricane Maria struck.
In 2018, catastrophic flooding occurred on Kauaʻi and parts of Oʻahu, while Hawaiʻi Island dealt with the destructive powers of Kīlauea’s eruptions and lava flows. More recently, Hurricane Lane and Tropical Storm Olivia brought high winds and heavy rains across the entire state. These events served to highlight the extreme vulnerability of the electric grid and other critical infrastructure, such as roadways and harbors.
They also underscore the vital need to be prepared and strengthen the resilience of communities throughout the state. Koʻolaupoko, which encompasses Waimānalo, Kailua, Kāneʻohe, and the area from Heʻeia to Kualoa, is one of the most vulnerable communities on Oʻahu from a critical infrastructure lens.
Strengthening Koʻolaupoko: A Community Resilience Initiative is a collaboration with leadership in the Koʻolaupoko community and is focused on minimizing vulnerability and ensuring a safe recovery in the aftermath of a major hurricane, which could involve prolonged disruptions of electricity, communications, transportation, and more. The forum brings together Koʻolaupoko community leadership with critical infrastructure owners, emergency management, and response agencies to share concerns, discuss potential options and solutions while focusing attention on hurricane preparedness topics.
Specifically, the forum is intended to raise awareness of the risks and with community input, explore ways to strengthen the resilience of the Koʻolaupoko community through short‐and long‐term actions. By raising awareness of vulnerabilities, priorities and expectations of the Koʻolaupoko region, the intent is to begin closing the gap between community preparedness and disaster response by government agencies and critical infrastructure owners for a well‐coordinated recovery.
Strengthening Koʻolaupoko: A Community Resilience Initiative is modeled after the Community Resilience Building Workshop Guide, which was developed through community‐based experience by The Nature Conservancy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management, and various other partners. This guide provides a scalable approach for developing community resilience action plans and lays out a community‐driven process wherein participants identify top hazards, current challenges, strengths, and priority actions to improve their community’s resilience to natural and climate‐related hazards.
Using the guide, Strengthening Koʻolaupoko: A Community Resilience Initiative focuses on a single hazard – in this case, a major hurricane – and involves a series of ongoing meetings with Koʻolaupoko community leadership to address the issue.
This summary report is a compilation of the information generated at the meetings convened in support of this effort, including the inaugural meeting held on October 29, 2018 and subsequent workshops.