NELHA Host Park generates over $100M annually


KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII – An analysis of the economic impact of NELHA’s (National Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority) Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park (HOST Park) at Keahole Point found that total economic impact of the park was $104 million in 2018. The Economic Research Organization at the University of Hawaii (UHERO) completed the report for NELHA.

Total expenditures from the businesses at NELHA were $92 million dollars, of which about $65 million were paid to Hawaii entities in 2018 and created 526 jobs statewide. This equals to about eight jobs created for every million dollars spent at NELHA. UHERO completed similar studies in the past using the same methodologies with 2010 and 2013 data.

On a broader level, using type II multipliers from the state’s input-output model, UHERO estimated the total economic output to the greater Hawaii economy was $104 million dollars. State tax revenue generated by NELHA remained high at $4.8 million dollars in 2018. The analysis also found that not only do NELHA businesses employ hundreds of people but also that their expenditures contribute to the total of 526 jobs in the larger Hawaii economy in 2018.

“NELHA’s success is an example of science delivering economic benefits to the state and creating diversity in high-quality jobs on the Island of Hawaii. It continues to be one of the state’s most successful economic development programs, and we continue to expect and plan for additional growth in other areas, such as marine research,” said Governor David Y. Ige.

“The direction NELHA is headed is part of the State’s plan for economic diversification,” according to Mike McCartney, director of DBEDT. “NELHA’s future is full of opportunity and possibilities which will lead to a strengthening of our communities and the economy for the island of Hawaii and the State.”

“I think it is significant that the report shows continued success across the board in terms of several indicators,” said Linda Rosehill, chair NELHA board of directors. “As the new investments in the past year mature, I think we will see a corresponding growth in employment over the next several years. This is especially rewarding as the growth provides quality jobs in marine science and sustainable engineering will allow our children to stay on the island,” said Rosehill.

“The 2013 data spike reflects pent-up demand from the great recession and a strong focus on investor relations that lead to more confidence by private sector in making improvements or expansion to existing projects as well as new ventures,” said Gregory Barbour, NELHA executive director. “NELHA reported over $60 million in new investments for 2012 and 2013 and without this pent-up demand the 2018 report shows data dropping to more normal levels,” added Barbour.

The assessment of the economic impact of NELHA is based on standard empirical research methods. To estimate expenditures, UHERO researchers developed a survey of total expenditures broken down into 17 categories for 2018. Of the 44 surveys, 36 were completed. Using survey data, data supplied by NELHA, and UHERO estimates, the State of Hawaii’s 2012 20 sector input-output (I-O) model was used to determine the economic impact for direct, indirect and induced economic activities by category.

NELHA administers the world’s premier energy and ocean technology park. This unique master-permitted park is located on 870 acres of prime coastal property in Kailua-Kona Hawaii and offers research support facilities for the development of renewable energy and other demonstration projects that utilize the unique resources found at the park. It is the world’s only facility that continually brings ashore high quality, pristine supplies of both warm surface and cold deep seawater 24 hours a day which allows for various tests to take place with views to reap economic potentials from the dual temperature seawater delivery system and high solar insolation. Businesses located in HOST Park work at the pre-commercial, commercial, research and educational levels. It is the largest diversified economic development project in the State and is solely focused on developing green and sustainable economic projects.

More information on NELHA and a copy of the report can be found at

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