Opposition to the project was intensified because Molokai Ranch, which has a history of tension with the community, was supporting Pattern Energy. "Personally, I don't think this project will go forward if Molokai Ranch has any part of it," Karen Holt, executive director of the Molokai Community Service Council, told PBN.
Kaheawa Wind Power II LLC has applied for a state conservation district use permit to install four 200-foot-tall meteorological measurement towers to gather data on wind speed and direction for possible expansion of its wind farm above Ukumehame.
The towers, which would be secured by guy wires, would take measurements for at least six months, according to the company’s permit application.
Kaheawa Wind Power operates 20 1.5-megawatt wind turbines in the same area that produces 30 megawatts for Maui Electric Co. An environmental assessment is not required for the temporary towers.
"There's a long road ahead for us," said Robin Kaye, a spokesman for the group Friends of Lana'i, which opposes a proposed wind farm project on the island's north end because of the development's cultural and environmental impacts. "Our focus in the next six to nine months is to educate folks on Oahu how much this is going to cost."
At the Blue Ginger Cafe, several residents who talk about a plan for a major wind farm on Lanai are worried the new technology will lead to the end of game hunting on their island.
"If they going to stop hunting, that's going to be a bad thing to do," said Sam Shin, a retired pineapple worker. "It's going to cause problems."
Castle & Cooke Resorts LLC is developing a plan to build a 300-megawatt wind farm on its land in northwestern Lanai, an area frequented by hunters.
There are several costly projects pending, and while some developers say even today money will be available, the closer the project, the further off the lenders seem to be.
Money problems have stalled two projects being pursued by Kent Smith and his partner, Hilton Unemori - a biomass generator at Hamakua on the Big Island that was to have been fueled by eucalyptus wood and an expansion of Kaheawa wind farm on Maui.
While everyone seems to want more sources of renewable energy on Maui, residents who spoke at a recent Public Utilities Commission hearing weren't too thrilled with the idea of having to help pay for it.
Hawaiian Electric Co. and its subsidiaries, including Maui Electric Co., have asked the commission to approve an across-the-board monthly rate increase for each Maui County customer of about $1.80 a month for renewable energy infrastructure. ...MECO President Ed Reinhardt explained that this increase is necessary for the company to build the renewable energy infrastructure it needs to attract private investors and to build transmission lines and substations to sites that are always remote.
"So if HECO selects remote locations why should we have to pick up the tab," said Rob Parsons, former county environmental coordinator.
The site of a massive proposed wind farm in West Lanai where hundreds of archaeological and cultural sites have been identified has been named one of the state's "most endangered historic places" for 2011 by the Historic Hawaii Foundation.
The Public Utilities Commission has approved a power purchase agreement that will allow Sempra Generation to begin selling wind-generated power to Maui Electric Co. perhaps as soon as early 2013.
MECO will initially pay 20 cents per kilowatt hour.
Hermina Morita, the PUC chairwoman, said: "Part of the PUC's role in clean energy development in Hawaii is to ensure an open and fair process.
. . . However, (HECO and Castle & Cooke's) proposed assignment of 200 megawatts to Molokai Ranch goes beyond the scope of the PUC's waiver from the original competitive bid process."
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) ordered on Thursday that Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) restart the bidding process for a 200 megawatt (MW) wind farm proposed for Molokai.