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Recent Trends in Hawaii's Green Economy: Agriculture, Energy and Natural Resource Management
This report provides an update to the 2012 “Foundations for Hawai‘i’s Green Economy: Economic Trends in Hawai‘i Agriculture, Energy, and Natural Resource Management.” Although economic information has long been collected for many sectors in Hawai‘i, including agriculture and energy, the 2012 project was the first to collect indicators specifically for the natural resource management (NRM) sector. With financial support from Hau‘oli Mau Loa Foundation and research assistance from The Nature Conservancy, the University of Hawai‘i Economic Research Organization was tasked with collecting and analyzing information from three sectors that are key to future sustainability in Hawai‘i - energy, agriculture and natural resource management.
New Perspectives on Land and Housing Markets in Hawaii
Land leasing is common in Honolulu, with many owners of residential, industrial, and commercial buildings leasing land. This report examines land and housing markets in Honolulu and the mainland United States to understand better why prices and lease rents are so much higher in Honolulu than most other US cities. Three stylized facts stand out:
- Census data show that Hawaii home prices were already exceptionally high in 1950.
- Over the last six decades, inflation-adjusted land and housing prices in Honolulu register small annual real increases.
- Honolulu’s inflation-adjusted land and housing prices have been highly volatile in the medium term since the 1960s, forcing market participants to bear high levels of risk.
CCIM Forecast 2016 Conference Presentation
Carl Bonham presented UHERO's 2016 Annual Hawaii Forecast at the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) Forecast 2016 panel on January 26, 2016.
Making an Optimal Plan for 100% Renewable Power in Hawaii
The State of Hawaii has adopted the unprecedented goal of building a 100 percent renewable power system by 2045. This report identifies some of the central challenges in achieving this goal and uses the SWITCH power system planning model to identify solutions to these challenges. A 100% renewable power system must balance electricity supply and demand on two main time scales: diurnal (providing enough power each hour of the day) and seasonal (providing enough total energy on each day of the year). The diurnal balance could be achieved by installing large amounts of primarily solar production capacity, then using batteries, demand response, biofuels or hydrogen production to shift power production and/or consumption between day and night. The seasonal balance may be more challenging. Energy demand during days or weeks with low sunlight could be met by building extra solar and wind capacity, using biofuels, or using hydrogen produced during sunny months. Demand response will likely be less expensive than the other options for day-night energy balancing, and customer-sited solar may be competitive with utility-scale solar; consequently electric utilities may need to become energy integrators and market managers, rather than bulk power providers.It is unclear how much biofuel the State could use without compromising other environmental and energy independence objectives; consequently hydrogen energy storage merits serious consideration. SWITCH or similar models can be used to identify optimal long-term plans; however, a new incentive system is needed to encourage the State's utilities to develop and implement such plans, regardless of who will own the generating equipment.
The Conversation: Carl Bonham on the Annual Hawaii Forecast
UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham appears on The Conversation to talk about UHERO's Annual Hawaii Forecast: Expansion Will Continue, Despite Global Challenges.
Annual Hawaii Forecast: Expansion Will Continue, Despite Global Challenges
This year has turned out a bit better than anticipated, and prospects remain good for 2016. Next year will see some easing of visitor growth, but no retreat from the high levels of activity that have built up in recent years. The construction expansion will continue, and tightening labor market conditions will support income gains. Arrayed against this positive outlook are important global challenges, ranging from the surging dollar to Chinese slowing and renewed terrorism threats.
ThinkTech Hawaii: Matthias Fripp on Renewable Energy
Methods of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus
This paper focuses on a collection of methods that can be used to analyze the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus. We classify these methods as qualitative or quantitative for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research approaches. The methods for interdisciplinary research approaches can be used to unify a collection of related variables, visualize the research problem, evaluate the issue, and simulate the system of interest. Qualitative methods are generally used to describe the nexus in the region of interest, and include primary research methods such as Questionnaire Surveys, as well as secondary research methods such as Ontology Engineering and Integrated Maps. Quantitative methods for examining the nexus include Physical Models, Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA), Integrated Indices, and Optimization Management Models. The authors discuss each of these methods in the following sections, along with accompanying case studies from research sites in Japan and the Philippines. Although the case studies are specific to two regions, these methods could be applicable to other areas, with appropriate calibration.
Forecasting in a Mixed Up World: Nowcasting Hawaii Tourism
We evaluate the short term forecasting performance of methods that systematically incorporate high frequency information via covariates. Our study provides a thorough introduction of these methods. We highlight the distinguishing features and limitations of each tool and evaluate their forecasting performance in two tourism-specific applications. The first uses monthly indicators to predict quarterly tourist arrivals to Hawaii; the second predicts quarterly labor income in the accommodations and food services sector. Our results indicate that compared to the exclusive use of low frequency aggregates, including timely intra-period data in the forecasting process results in significant gains in predictive accuracy. Anticipating growing popularity of these techniques among empirical analysts, we present practical implementation guidelines to facilitate their adoption.
The Conversation: Carl Bonham on the State Forecast Update
UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham appears on The Conversation to talk about UHERO's State Forecast Update: Except for Weather, Outlook Shines.
UHERO State Forecast Update: Except for Weather, Outlook Shines
Hawaii’s economic outlook continues to look bright. Tourism is pushing toward new records, and the construction upswing is building in strength. The overall expansion remains solidly on track, delivering better labor market conditions and the prospect of further household income gains. Still, in the midst of this hot and soggy summer we are pondering some ominous clouds forming out on the horizon.
Facebook-to-Facebook: Online Communication and Economic Cooperation
Communication is often critical for economic cooperation and enhancement of trust. Traditionally, direct face-to-face communication has been found to be more effective than any form of indirect, mediated communication. We study whether this is still the case given that many people routinely use texting and online social media to conduct economic transactions. In our laboratory experiment, groups of participants communicate either (i) face-to-face, (ii) through the most popular online social network - Facebook, or (iii) using text messaging, before participating in a public goods or a trust game. While people talk significantly more under traditional face-to-face, discussions through Facebook and text messages prove as effective as face-to-face communication in enhancing cooperation and increasing trust. For all three media, discussions that focus on the game or use more positive emotion words are correlated with enhanced trust. It appears that young American adults are now just as adept at communicating and reducing social distance online as they are in person.
KITV: Carl Bonham on Falling Gas Prices
UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham appears on KITV to talk about the effects of falling gas prices on Hawaii's economy, as well as the latest State Council on Revenues general fund forecast.
The Conversation: Carl Bonham on the State Council on Revenues General Fund Forecast
UHERO Executive Director Carl Bonham appears on The Conversation to discuss the State Council on Revenues forecast for the 2015 fiscal year.
Electric Vehicle Lifecycle Cost Assessment for Hawaii
This study develops a model to estimate the total cost of ownership of electric vehicles (EVs) in comparison to similar internal combustion engine (ICEVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). The model includes issues related to purchase/finance, insurance, maintenance, resale value, future fuel prices and access to solar photovoltaic (PV). It also estimates the impact of proposed EV time-of-use rates on ownership costs.
Key findings are as follows:
- EVs on average cost more than their internal combustion engine (ICE) or hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) counterparts, though this gap is substantially reduced with the federal tax credit.
- The Nissan Leaf is cost competitive without the federal tax credit and has the lowest lifecycle vehicle cost when incorporating the federal tax credit (among all vehicles considered).
- Electricity rates in Hawaii are much higher than the national average. Using the Energy Information Administration’s range of forecasts for future oil prices (low, reference and high), a set of future electricity and gasoline prices are determined. The model finds that when oil prices are low or reference, lifetime fuel costs are higher for EVs than other vehicles. When oil prices are high, on the other hand, EVs offer notable cost savings while accounting for Hawaii’s historic relationship between oil prices and electric rates.
- Having residential PV substantially brings down the cost of EV ownership, even considering the capital expenditure for PV panels.
- The pilot and proposed TOU rates offered by the utility reduce lifecycle EV fuel costs, assuming charging only when rates are lowest, by an average of 10%.
Read the full report at the Electric Vehicle Transportation Center.