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Henk Rogers sold his computer game company in 2005 for a sizable sum. But he had little time to celebrate. Within one month he found himself in the back of an ambulance with a 100% arterial blockage to the heart, a condition also known as a “widow maker.”
This is not how energy companies usually begin. But that moment marked the start of Blue Planet Energy, a Hawaii-based energy storage and microgrid company — and led to the even more far-reaching climate ambitions Rogers is now undertaking.
But going back to the ambulance … “If I hadn’t been within 10 minutes of a major angioplasty facility, I would have died that day. The ambulance drivers didn’t think I was going to make it. And so, as I was lying in the back of this ambulance, the first thing I said to myself was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding! I haven’t spent any of the money,’” said Rogers, who was then in his early 50s.
His second thought was that he wasn’t going to let himself die. He had things to do. He had made enough money to take care of his family. Now he wanted time to serve a larger purpose.
During his recovery, that cause became apparent to him when he read a newspaper article about coral reefs disappearing because of ocean acidification related to carbon dioxide.
Mission 1: End use of carbon-based fuels
“So I said, ‘Ok, mission number one, end use of carbon dioxide-based fuels,” Rogers recalled.
And that’s what he’s been working on ever since.
Rogers began by forming the Blue Planet Foundation, a nonprofit organization that became instrumental in the campaign to make Hawaii, his home state, the first US state to set a mandate for 100% renewable energy.