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Products: UHERO Briefs

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Brief: Should we increase Hawaii's minimum wage?

A higher minimum wage is unlikely to accomplish the stated goal of raising the living standards of the working poor. And given Hawaii’s highly service oriented economy, the negative impact of an increased minimum wage may have a larger impact than in other states.

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Tax Credit Incentives for Residential Solar Photovoltaic in Hawai‘i

Solar photovoltaic (PV) tax credits are at the center of a public debate in Hawai‘i. The controversy stems largely from unforeseen budgetary impacts, driven in part by the difference between the legislative intent and implementation of the PV tax credits. HRS 235-12.5 allows individual and corporate taxpayers to claim a 35% tax credit against Hawaii state individual or corporate net income tax for eligible renewable energy technology, including PV. The policy imposes a $5,000 cap per system, and excess credit amounts can be carried forward to future tax years. Because the law did not clearly define what constitutes a system or restrict the number of systems per roof, homeowners have claimed tax credits for multiple systems on a single property. In an attempt to address this issue, in November 2012, temporary administrative rules define a PV system as an installation with output capacity of at least 5 kW for a single-family residential property. The new rule does not constrain the total number of systems per roof, but rather defines system size and permits tax credits for no more than one sub-5 kW system. In other words, it is possible to install multiple 5 kW systems and claim credits capped at $5,000 for each system. There is an additional 30% tax credit for PV capital costs at the federal level. There is no cap for the federal tax credit and excess credits can be rolled over to subsequent years.

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Statewide Economy and Electricity-Sector Models for Assessment of Hawai‘i Energy Policies

This paper uses both a "top-down" and "bottom-up" economic model to asses the cost and greenhouse implications of various energy and environmental alternatives. The Hawai‘i Computable Generable Equilibrium Model (H-CGE) is a “top-down,” economy-wide model that captures the interaction between both producers and consumers, including full price effects between sectors. The Hawai‘i Electricity Model (HELM) is a “bottom-up” representation of Hawai‘i’s electricity sector.  The dynamic optimization model solves for the least-cost mix of generation subject to satisfying demand, regulatory requirements, and system constraints.  The models are fully integrated in respect to the electricity sector, where overall economic conditions determine electricity demand and, subsequently, the type of electricity generation has economic impact.

model summary


An Assessment Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions-Weighted Clean Energy Standards

Published in the journal Energy Policy, this paper quantifies the relative cost-savings of utilizing a greenhouse gas emissions-weighted Clean Energy Standard (CES) in comparison to a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Using a bottom-up electricity sector model for Hawaii, this paper demonstrates that a policy that gives “clean energy” credit to electricity technologies based on their cardinal ranking of lifecycle GHG emissions, normalizing the highest-emitting unit to zero credit, can reduce the costs of emissions abatement by up to 90% in comparison to a typical RPS. A GHG emissions-weighted CES provides incentive to not only pursue renewable sources of electricity, but also promotes fuel-switching among fossil fuels and improved generation efficiencies at fossil-fired units. CES is found to be particularly cost-effective when projected fossil fuel prices are relatively low.

 

UHERO has developed a two-page Policy Brief on this paper. This full publication can be found at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421512000961


UHERO Brief: The Lag in Employment Recovery

While US real GDP bottomed out in the second quarter of 2009 and is now back at its pre-recession level, non-farm payrolls only started picking up at the beginning of 2010, and they remain far below their previous peak. What explains the existence of this lag?

This brief appeared in the most recent UHERO County Forecast Report and is being made available as a service to the public. For more detailed analysis, subscribe to UHERO's Forecast Project.

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UHERO Brief: The Macroeconomic Aftermath of the Earthquake / Tsunami in Japan?

The unfolding nuclear disaster in Japan makes any assessment of the near term outlook highly speculative. In coming weeks, as data on the extent of damage to Japan and Hawaii’s tourism industry is collected, UHERO will analyze the impact of the crisis on the near term outlook for Hawaii. In this UHERO Brief, UH economist Ilan Noy asks what research based on previous natural disasters can tell us about the likely long-run macroeconomic impact on Japan.

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UHERO Brief: Honolulu Rail Transit: Do the Benefits Justify the Costs?

Preliminary considerations suggest a high degree of uncertainty about whether the benefits of rail justify the costs. As the conversation about rail costs advances, we should continue to consider the relative size of the benefits.

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UHERO Brief: China's Real Estate Bubble

What will be the consequences of China’s real estate bubble deflating? One is tempted to equate the Chinese real estate bubble with the U.S. experience, but the differences between the Chinese and American real-estate and financial sectors are striking and will likely lead to a very different, and a much more moderate, outcome.

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