KAHUKU, Hawaii —The hills above Kahuku have proven to be a prime place to harness power from the wind. One wind farm has already been planted and another could go up soon. It’s a plan that have some residents concerned.
While wind turbines are designed to create clean energy and lower bills, not every Kahuku resident is on board with those savings.
“I don’t want the North Shore or Kahuku to become the dumping grounds for this technology, which I think is inefficient,” said Kent Fonoimoana, Kahuku Community Association.
The Na Pua Makani project calls for 10 added turbines to be put in the area, but before it can go forward, the project needs the state to approve its habitat conservation plan.
There are concerns that putting up more wind turbines could kill more birds and bats. However, the company says that’s the opposite of what would happen because of the state’s standards.
“It’s a very high standard. You could say you end up with a larger population of endangered species if you build the project rather than if you did not,” said Michael Cutbirth, CEO of Champlin Hawaii Wind Holdings.
And wildlife isn’t the only reason that have these residents against another wind farm in their backyard.
“I believe that humans need the same respect as critters do. We need to look at wind turbines and the impacts it has on humans, as well as human habitation and health,” said Fonoimoana.
For other residents, the close proximity the wind turbines are to their homes raises concerns. It would mean tolerating the low frequency noise and bright light exposure during the nights.
“It does affect people’s lives, so I don’t think we should gloss over that,” said Sen. Gil Riviere.
However, amongst the crowd against these wind farms was one resident who doesn’t mind the project at all.
“If the wind farm is going to help our electricity bill, I’m friggin’ for it,” said Michaela Primacio.
Residents who are against the project say they’re not against Hawaii’s clean energy initiative but rather the close proximity the wind turbines are to their homes.
The state held a meeting with area residents on Thursday to talk about the project’s habitat conservation plan. Kahuku residents gave their input. All of their testimony will be taken into consideration when the DLNR makes its decision to approve or deny the plan.
As of right now, the company behind the project is still estimating to have the wind farm up and running by next year.