In 2012, Larry Ellison bought 98% of Lanai Island in Hawaii, with the goal of turning it into a model of environmentally sustainable entrepreneurship.
“I love Hawaii, and Lanai is a very interesting project. There, what we are going to do is turn Lanai into a model for sustainable enterprise,” said Ellison.
He also mentioned plans to help local people start such businesses and said the island would have electric cars. “So it is going to be a little, if you will, laboratory for sustainability in businesses of small scale,” said Ellison.
The project is called Sensei. The island has a spa and two 20,000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouses, which have sensors and cameras that track data about the farms, including water usage and airflow. Greenhouses are powered by 1,600 Tesla solar panels, which are perfect for this area. They fully meet the electricity needs for watering, maintaining temperature and lighting.
Image Sandia National Laboratories
Image: Dennis Oda
This project is an excellent example of how desire, together with technology, can create a system that can power a business or cover the needs of a family and even the whole settlement.
Also Ellison is in talks with Hawaiian Electric Co. to purchase the power plant and electric grid on Lanai, with the plan being to transition the island away from fossil fuels toward 100% renewable energy.
That's why Musk says: "It's cool; it's like a microcosm for the world." After all, the island is a small universe where life is raging and due to the receipt of energy from renewable sources, this life can exist there without the intervention of the outside world.
Ellison and Musk are friends and respect each other's work. "I am not sure how many people know, but I'm very close friends with Elon Musk, and I'm a big investor in Tesla," said Ellison.
"He's really one of the best engineers I've met," Musk said about Ellison. "When we engage on a technical subject, he understands it very quickly, even when it's out of his normal arena, not software."