The discovery poses a clear challenge in the design and maintenance of a major windfarm proposed by Castle & Cooke for Lana'i. The company is working on plans for a $750 million field of wind generators that would ship power to O'ahu via undersea cable. Conventional windmills are cited by opponents of such structures as a threat to migrating birds.
It is not clear yet whether it would be possible to site wind generators out of petrel flight paths, or perhaps to manage the windfarm in a way that warns the birds away from danger. On Kaua'i, researchers use radar to identify flight paths of ‘a'o.
Just a few months after the state’s largest wind farm started spinning electrical power on Maui, its owners are considering doubling it in size.
In June, Kaheawa Wind Power began operating 20 wind turbines that can generate up to 30 megawatts of electricity on the windy slopes above Maalaea Harbor.
Now the company is asking the state Board of Land and Natural Resources for a lease on a 325-acre parcel of state land immediately west of the 200-acre parcel it currently occupies.