Kahuku on Oahu’s north shore is already home to wind turbines, but more could be on the way as a company plans to build a new wind farm in the area.
Na Pua Makani Power Partners wants to build it next to the existing wind farm on the North Shore.
The mainland-based company will add 10 wind turbines, a new operations facility and a weather tower.
The state’s land department is holding a public hearing this week on the turbines’ effects on endangered species.
KHON found out that’s not the only concern for some Kahuku residents.
According to the company’s website, the new wind farm will help stabilize and reduce Oahu residents’ high electricity bills.
But are Kahuku residents sold on the promise? Not the ones KHON spoke with.
The area right next to Kahuku Wind Farm could be home to “Na Pua Makani,” the proposed 24-megawatt wind energy generation facility.
But those KHON spoke with say the existing 12 wind turbines are already “bad enough.”
“It’s not benefiting us in any way,” said Kahuku resident Mona Ikakoula. “Our electric bill skyrocketed. I don’t see where we’re benefiting from these turbines.”
Na Pua Makani says using wind as energy will free residents from expensive overseas oil that contributes to global warming and beach erosion.
“Getting away from oil is not the argument,” Kent Fonoimoana, president of the Kahuku Community Association. “The argument is the proximity to residential neighborhoods.”
Fonoimoana wants to see the new wind farm somewhere else.
“These 12 turbines, they supposedly create enough energy for 7,700 homes on this island of Oahu,” said Fonoimoana. “If we’re providing 7,700 homes with renewable energy, some of us feel it’s time for other communities to step up.”
But according to the company, trade winds, which arrive first on the North Shore, makes Kahuku the ideal location for the new wind energy facility.
Fonoimoana plans on attending the public hearing on the project, held Thursday, June 4, at Kahuku Village Assocation Community Association Center.
A spokesperson for Na Pua Makani released a statement on Sunday saying that the company remains committed to supporting the Kahuku community:
“Because Na Pua Makani has a strong record of providing support to academic and sports programs at Kahuku schools, as well as funding community events, our renewable energy project enjoys widespread support in the community. Na Pua Makani has publicly committed to provide a $2 million community benefit fund for programs and improvements in Kahuku.”