Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Hawaii State Task Force Recommends Jones Act Exemption

This is a very informative article written by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council.

Debate in The U.S. over the Jones Act is very lively these days. For example, on April 25th, Mark Perry, a University of Michigan-Flint business professor wrote: Want energy independence? Waive the Jones Act.

To which a pro-Jones Act shippers lobby quickly responded: Missing the mark on the Jones Act.

In my opinion, the Jones Act, hurts all U.S. island and non-contiguous regions. At a minimum, non-contiguous U.S. states and territories, and the LNG trade must be exempted from Jones Act immediately!

AIKEA FOR HONOLULU No. 36 – Offshore Nuclear Power Plants Can Be Effective. Well, I Said So Four Years Ago!

The Economist: Researchers find advantages in floating nuclear power stations. You may recall that I proposed this as mayor candidate in 2010: Nuclear Power in Oahu's Future?  I know that my proposal went nowhere, but it feels great to be four years ahead of MIT. Furthermore, my idea is more economical than theirs. There is no need to construct floating platforms.  The Navy has many large decommissioned ships that float just fine and can be refurbished at a lower cost.

Before Honolulu hits the energy wall and desperation sets in, problems with potable water may arise due to drought, sea level rise or other reasons. So another billion dollar project may be needed for Desalination, as I explain in this article based on a large desalination plant currently under construction in San Diego.

The impact of executive priorities is clear if one compares the economic trajectories of a few countries say since 1990: Greece vs. Israel, Russia vs. China, Argentina vs. Brazil, and France vs. Germany to name a few. All of them faced a number of local and regional adversities but each pair has a clear economic winner now. Priorities and selection of wise transportation, infrastructure, energy and investment options made most of the difference.

Here are two examples of infrastructure where Hawaii made major wrong choices and placed itself in the loser column.

Renewables. They are expensive and their intermittency is highly problematic.  They depend on heavy subsidies.  To deal with intermittency HECO plans to invest heavily on … batteries. (Our politicians needed wind mills with giant labels: Batteries Not Included.) See Hawaii Wants 200MW of Energy Storage for Solar, Wind Grid Challenges. This is purely throwing good money after bad.

Rail. Simply put, rail is way too much buck for the bang. For the five billion dollars of Honolulu heavy rail we could have spent:
  • One billion dollars on LNG conversion and a modest floating nuclear power plant to reduce Oahu’s dependence on oil from over 75% to 25% or less, instead of blowing tens of millions in the wind.
  • Two billion dollars on HOT lanes and other mitigations to truly reduce traffic congestion.
  • One billion dollars to redevelop ex-Navy lands and buildings at Kalaeloa to preserve the rich history of the site and relieve Oahu’s pressing homeless and low income housing problems.
  • And one billion on desalination to anticipate water shortage problems.

Join me at the 38th Annual SBH Business Conference, Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM, Hibiscus Ballroom, Ala Moana Hotel. Luncheon keynote speaker is entrepreneur, author, coach and motivator, Patrick Snow, who will speak on “Proven Principles for Prosperity.”

The business  program features Mike McCartney (Hawaii Tourism Authority), Tom Yamachika (Tax Foundation), Bob Sigall (Author and Educator), Mark Storfer (Hilo Hattie), Naomi Hazelton-Giambrone (Element Media), Dale Evans (Charley's Taxi), and Peter Kay (Your Computer Minute). Contact: Sam Slom (349-5438) or SBH (396-1724). Don’t miss it!


Panos D. Prevedouros, PhD
Professor of Civil Engineering
Member, SBH Board of Directors