Energy Policy and Planning Group

UHERO fellows conduct research to evaluate impacts of past and prospective energy-related policies, and engage with policymakers and stakeholders on contemporary and emerging energy issues, such as renewable energy and associated clean air goals, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and carbon taxes.

Effects of alternative pricing structures on electricity consumption and payments in the commercial and industrial sector November 28, 2023 Abstract: We investigate the distributional and welfare impacts when commercial and industrial (C&I) electricity end users face a dynamic pricing structure as opposed to a constant volumetric price with demand charge on individual users’ peak usage. While demand charge does not necessarily reduce the system-wide peak, it often constitutes a large share of C&I users’… Read More
A Comparison of State-Level Carbon Reduction Strategies: A Case Study of Hawai‘i March 16, 2023 Abstract: State-level electricity standards are proliferating and becoming more ambitious, with numerous US states adopting a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and a small but increasing number of states participating in carbon pricing programs. The State of Hawai‘i has an ambitious RPS that requires 100% electricity generation through renewable sources by 2045. This study uses a… Read More
Real-Time Pricing and the Cost of Clean Power August 9, 2022 Solar and wind power are now cheaper than fossil fuels but are intermittent. The extra supply-side variability implies growing benefits of using real-time retail pricing (RTP). We evaluate the potential gains of RTP using a model that jointly solves investment, supply, storage, and demand to obtain a chronologically detailed dynamic equilibrium for the island of… Read More
Gas meters Are We Building Too Much Natural Gas Pipeline? A comparison of actual US expansion of pipeline to an optimized plan of the interstate network April 25, 2022 Interstate natural gas transmission and storage infrastructure is facilitated using regulated, private transactions. Pipeline companies obtain long-term contracts from producers and wholesale purchasers, typically local distribution companies (LDCs). Historically, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) accepted these counterparty contracts as sufficient justification of need. Typically the LDCs are themselves regulated firms, which sometimes possess affiliations… Read More
Economic and GHG impacts of a US state-level carbon tax: the case of Hawai’i April 19, 2022 A new paper by a team from UHERO published in Climate Policy finds that a carbon tax for Hawai‘i set at the federal social cost of carbon would reduce cumulative GHG emissions by 10% relative to the baseline from 2025 to 2045. They find that when carbon tax revenues are paid as equal-share dividends to Hawai‘i… Read More
Using Temperature Sensitivity to Estimate Shiftable Electricity Demand Implications for power system investments and climate change September 2, 2021 Growth of intermittent renewable energy and climate change make it increasingly difficult to manage electricity demand variability. Transmission and centralized storage technologies can help, but are costly. An alternative to centralized storage is to make better use of shiftable demand, but it is unclear how much shiftable demand exists. A significant share of electricity demand… Read More
Maui wind turbines by Tim Foster on Unsplash Are We Hitting Our Targets? A Look at Hawai‘i’s GHG Emissions August 11, 2021 By Makena Coffman, Maja Schjervheim, and Paul Bernstein Over the past three years, the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health has released a Hawai‘i Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report. This year’s report added an inventory for 2017, as well as projections through 2030 based on existing policies and trends. UHERO collaborated with ICF on this project and… Read More
Solar farm in Waianae Is a Carbon Tax Viable for a Small Island Economy? June 17, 2021 By Maja Schjervheim, Paul Bernstein, Sumner La Croix, Makena Coffman, and Sherilyn Hayashida For the third year in a row, a carbon tax bill fizzled out at the Hawaiʻi State Legislature. Perhaps it was the difficult timing of introducing a new tax in the wake of a pandemic. Perhaps it was due to qualms regarding… Read More
wind farm Implications of a “Green Tariff” for the University of Hawai‘i, Hawaiian Electric Company, and other Customers November 17, 2020 In June 2015 the State passed a law setting a goal for the University of Hawai‘i (UH) to produce as much renewable energy as the total energy it consumes; that is, to become net-zero. The great bulk of the University’s energy use occurs on the Mānoa campus, which has the most students and by far… Read More
Rooftop solar is now competitive with utility-scale power in Hawaiʻi October 2, 2020 By Michael Roberts We need to transition away from fossil fuels quickly, and with inexpensive renewables and batteries, we can do so in a cost effective manner, so long as we employ a sensible plan and the right policies. But what are the tradeoffs involved with how we do it? In most places, rooftop solar… Read More
EV driver characteristics: Evidence from Hawaii March 1, 2020 Electric vehicles (EVs) offer an opportunity to dramatically decrease greenhouse gas emissions within the transport sector if fueled by renewable energy. Hawaii had been early-on considered an ideal place to launch new EVs because of the limited driving range of its island geography. Though it ranks second in new EV registrations per capita in the… Read More
Dr. Frank Wolak: “How Should the Public Utilities Commission Regulate Hawaiian Electric Company for Better Integration of Renewable Energy?” November 13, 2018 On Friday November 2, Frank Wolak, the Holbrook Working Professor of Economics at Stanford and Director of Stanford’s Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, gave a special seminar “How Should the Public Utilities Commission Regulate Hawaiian Electric Company for Better Integration of Renewable Energy?” His talk summarized the many ways conventional regulation and rate design… Read More
Integrating Renewable Energy with Time Varying Pricing August 13, 2018 With increasing adoption of intermittent sources of renewable energy, effective integration is paramount to fully realizing societal benefits. This study asks the question, how valuable is residential real-time pricing (RTP) in comparison to time-of-use (TOU) rates to absorb increasing sources of intermittent renewable energy? We couple a detailed power sector model with a residential electricity… Read More
Integrating Renewable Energy: A Commercial Sector Perspective on Price-Responsive Load-Shifting July 23, 2018 Price-based demand response is an important component to achieving Hawaii's 100% Renewable Portfolio Standard. This report provides a review of the impacts of time varying pricing programs for the commercial and industrial sectors. It presents commercial sector load patterns and rates for Oahu to gain insight into the potential impacts by sector of implementing time… Read More
Governing Green Power: How Should Utilities of the Future Make Money? June 25, 2018 This report summarizes a two-day conference that addressed how future electric utilities will make money, a question provoked by advances in renewable energy and other distributed resources that cast doubt on conventional regulatory and business models. Engagement with issues in all of the sessions was strong, giving expression to a wide range of observations, opinions… Read More