Hawai‘i County establishes new energy relationships with two new Pacific cities
The County of Hawai‘i this year entered into Sister City relationships with two cities in the Asia Pacific region which share important economic, cultural, geographic, and energy similarities with Hawai‘i Island. Both are in nations that are APEC member economies.
Sister City relationships are agreements that bind regions together in cultural and economic cooperation. The cities often have similar histories and similar economic drivers. In the case of Hawai‘i County, there are often times citizens with ancestral ties to our sister cities.
Kumejima in Okinawa, Japan, is an island about half the size of Ni‘ihau with a population of about 8,000. Like Hawai‘i Island, Kumejima’s economy was once based on sugar cane, and is now dependent on the visitor industry. Kumejima also has a deep sea pipeline similar to Keāhole’s Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i that pumps up cold, clean water for use in aquaculture. Kumejima’s entrepreneurs have used the facility to grow seaweed and shrimp and to produce cosmetics.
Further south, Ormoc City in Leyte, Philippines is home to the Leyte Geothermal Fields, a geothermal facility producing more than 700 megawatts of electricity. Because the power produced is more than enough to provide the energy needs of Ormoc City’s 180,000 residents, Ormoc City exports the excess. The city also serves as a post-secondary educational center of the Visayas region of the Philippines, much as Hawai‘i County strives to serve Hawai‘i with the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College. Mayor Eric Codilla signed the sister city agreement along with Mayor Kenoi on Sept. 14.
“Our ties to these areas are deep, and Americans of Okinawan and Filipino ancestry on Hawai‘i Island played vital roles in establishing these sister city relationships,” said Mayor Kenoi. “We are confident these sister city relationships will foster economic opportunities for the residents of our respective regions in what we all recognize as the Pacific Century.”