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The Conversation: Carl Bonham on Hawaii's economic outlook

Carl Bonham appears on The Conversation to talk about the future of Hawaii's economy.

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Annual Hawaii Forecast with Asia-Pacific Outlook: Hawaii’s Long Expansion Gets Global Economic Lift

Improving global conditions provide a favorable environment for continued expansion in the Islands. Visitor arrivals are surging to record highs, and unemployment is reaching new lows. While families are benefitting from the improved employment prospects, many have yet to see significant income growth. The expansion is now well into its eighth year, and all indications are that growth will continue, if at a more subdued pace.

This executive summary is provided as a service to the public. For a complete analysis and detailed multi-year forecasts, subscribe to UHERO’s Forecast Project.

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Residential Battery Systems and the Best Time to Invest A case study of Hawaii

Battery storage is a complementary technology to intermittent renewable energy sources. In particular, it pairs well with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to capture excess solar generation during daylight hours and to draw energy from it when needed. Technological advancements and rapidly declining costs have made batteries more economically feasible for households, especially in the state of Hawai‘i, which faces the highest cost of electricity in the U.S. With the sunset of net energy metering (NEM) in 2015, and technical limitations from interconnecting additional PV systems capable of exporting energy to the grid, non-exportable PV systems are increasingly a viable option for residential customers in Hawai‘i. This paper analyzes whether the installation of a PV plus battery system is economically compensatory for households on Oahu, with the power grid as a back-up option. Given the importance of state and federal tax incentives in reducing capital costs, this paper compares household savings in the decision to invest now or later, given that the federal tax credit of 30% is set to decline in 2020 and expire by 2022. Installing a PV plus battery system in 2019 could increase net savings by 17-32% in Oahu compared to installing the same system in 2017.

Working Paper


Governing Green Power: Realigning Institutions To Fit New Technologies

The “Governing Green Power” conference was held in Honolulu at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, March 28-30, 2017. The motivation for the conference was the recognition that energy technologies are changing faster than energy-related institutions — the organizational structures, market mechanisms, and regulatory incentives that govern power generation, transmission, distribution and storage. The complex system of the future that many of us envision — what some call Utility 2.0 — will require a carefully balanced infrastructure, dynamic price setting, and sophisticated automated control systems. How can this vision be achieved? How do the institutions that govern the electricity sector need to change to ensure that Utility 2.0 will be managed as fairly and efficiently as possible?

UHERO Report

 


Sustainable Tourism Development and Overtourism

Everyone agrees that tourism should be developed in a sustainable way. Yet, nearly 25 years after the term “sustainable tourism” became fashionable, sustainable tourism development remains elusive. Residents in many popular destinations around the world complain about being overwhelmed by too many tourists, or “overtourism”. The United Nations World Tourism Organization blames the problem on poor management, and not because of growing number of tourists. This brief report examines how some destinations are dealing with the problem of overtourism. The report also examines the growth of tourism in Hawaii since the late 1980s. While there are many problems in managing tourism growth in Hawaii in a sustainable way, the report concludes that Hawaii is not yet at the stage of overtourism.

UHERO Brief

 


A Scoping Study for Climate Action Planning in Kauaʻi

This report documents best practices for county-level climate action plans (CAPs), with considerations for Kaua‘i. A CAP is primarily a process by which a jurisdiction agrees upon greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategies and policies. This report is based on the gathering of studies and protocols addressing climate action planning and GHG mitigation best practices.

UHERO Report

 


Joint Management of an Interconnected Coastal Aquifer and Invasive Tree

Kiawe (Prosopis pallida), a mesquite tree considered invasive in many parts of the world including Hawai‘i, has been shown to reduce regional groundwater levels via deep taproots. In areas where aquifers are primary sources of fresh water, kiawe control has the potential to be an integral component of water management planning. We develop an analytical dynamic framework for the joint management of kiawe and groundwater, and show that optimal water management depends on expected kiawe damages, while optimal kiawe removal depends on groundwater scarcity and removal cost. Using data from the Kīholo aquifer on the west coast of Hawai‘i Island, we solve for joint management decisions with corresponding parameters related to kiawe damage and water scarcity. With 1.5% water demand growth, Kiawe should be removed if the removal cost is below $1,884/ha. Our numerical results indicate that kiawe damage is nonlinear in the rate of water demand growth. The damage costs can be attributed to three main factors. When demand growth is low, kiawe damage is driven by a higher water extraction cost. For moderate growth, the effect is compounded by anticipated future scarcity. Damage is amplified by a backstop cost effect when the growth rate is high.

Working Paper


Estimating Cost-Effectiveness of Hawaiian Dry Forest Restoration Using Spatial Changes in Water Yield and Landscape Flammability Under Climate Change open access

New research published in Pacific Science from an interdisciplinary team including UHERO's Christopher Wada, Leah Bremer, and Kim Burnett identifying cost-effective watershed restoration for multiple ecosystem service benefits in Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a on the island of Hawai‘i.

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The Conversation: Carl Bonham on the UHERO State Forecast Update

Carl Bonham appears on The Conversation to talk about the UHERO State Forecast Update: Slowing Ongoing, Despite Arrivals Boom.

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UHERO State Forecast Update: Slowing Ongoing, Despite Arrivals Boom

The Hawaii economy is decelerating. Job growth this year will come in at less than 1%, down from nearly 2% just two years ago, the consequence of a flattening construction path and the natural effects of tightening labor markets. Despite surprisingly persistent gains, even the robust tourism industry will move to a lower growth trend as capacity constraints exert themselves. Overall, growth in the number of jobs will downshift to about a half-percent per year by the end of the decade.

This analysis and near-term forecast is available as a service to the public. For more detailed multi-year forecasts, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

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Hawaii Construction Forecast: Construction Easing, But More in the Pipeline

After several years of rapid expansion, the pace of building has eased. A number of significant condo and retail projects have wrapped up on Oahu, while fewer new buildings have broken ground, resulting in an overall reduction in construction activity and employment. But statewide there remain enough new projects in the pipeline to maintain construction activity near its current level through the end of the decade.

This analysis and near-term forecast is available as a service to the public. For more detailed multi-year forecasts, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

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A New Perspective on Hawaii’s Economy: understanding the role of clusters

Clusters are regional concentrations of related industries that arise because firms can benefit from being geographically close to one another. Proximity lowers transportation costs and fosters knowledge and labor sharing. As a result, the spatial concentration of economic activity is often a defining characteristic of regions. To better understand Hawaii’s economy and prospects for growth, we document Hawaii’s economic clusters at the state and county level and make comparisons to other US counties with similar characteristics.

UHERO Report

 


HPR: Carl Bonham on Hawaii's Transient Accommodation Tax

Carl Bonham joins Hawaii Public Radio to explain why lawmakers favor Hawaii’s Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT) as a source of revenue.
For a history of the TAT, see UHERO Fellow Jim Mak's paper
How Hawaii’s State Government Shares Transient Accommodation Tax Revenues With Its Local Governments

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UHERO County Forecast: Economies Still Growing, But Slowing

Prospects are good for continued growth in each of Hawaii’s four counties, if at a slower pace than in recent years. The tourism expansion has staying power, but capacity constraints will necessarily limit future gains. Construction is approaching or settling at the peak for this cycle, and tight labor markets will mean a deceleration of growth across other sectors. The counties share common risks, primarily from the continuing policy uncertainties emanating from Washington, DC.

This analysis and near-term forecast is available as a service to the public. For more detailed multi-year forecasts, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

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UHERO State Forecast Update: Growth Continues, For Now

Hawaii’s economy has started the year in fine form. Moderate job and income growth are continuing, and generally favorable global and national conditions are maintaining impressive tourism numbers. The construction buildup has eased, but the industry remains very active. While developments in Washington could hurt us, for now prospects look good for continued growth, if at a less rapid pace than we have seen in recent years.

This analysis and near-term forecast is available as a service to the public. For more detailed multi-year forecasts, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

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