Articles filed under General from Hawaii
Our land, culture and futures are too important to rush to one potential energy solution when so much is at stake. Too few have truly studied the emerging detriment, poor efficacy, and hidden costs - some irreversible - of industrial wind. Until that information is properly studied, evaluated and publicly available to the people of Hawaii, it cannot and should not be pursued or presented as the inevitable solution to our energy crisis.
The damage that proposed wind farms on Lanai and Molokai could do to the islands' natural beauty and cultural sites outweighs the benefits they might have by helping the state reach energy self-sufficiency. That was the message from several community groups that testified at a legislative hearing yesterday.
John Ornellas, a board member with Lanaians for Sensible Growth, expressed skepticism about the benefits package for Lanai residents and the chances that Castle & Cooke would follow through with its promises. Ornellas said he was familiar with what's being offered to Lanai residents, and "it's not enough." "There's a lot of ifs," but not much concrete.
The state Board of Land and Natural Resources on Friday unanimously granted Kaheawa Wind Power II the land lease it needs to make way for 14 additional wind turbines along the Lahaina pali. Kaheawa Wind is a subsidiary of Boston-based wind energy company First Wind.
Below is a letter that clarifies the Molokai Properties Limited's (MPL) position on wind turbines on their property. The letter, dated June 28,2010, is written by Peter Nicholas, Executive Director of MPL, addressed to Colette Machado, President of the Molokai Land Trust. Kekoa Kaluhiwa, First Wind director of external affairs has "nothing additional to say."
Wind energy company First Wind has announced it will not pursue a proposed wind project on Molokai's Hawaiian homestead land. The company is now negotiating with Molokai Properties Ltd., also known as Molokai Ranch, to build a similar wind farm on Ranch land. The original plan was nixed because there was not enough land area available.
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission yesterday approved a power purchase agreement between Hawaiian Electric Company and Kahuku Wind Power, HECO said today. Kahuku Wind Power, a subsidiary of Massachusetts-based First Wind, is scheduled to begin construction of a 12-turbine farm in the hills west of Kahuku later this year.
Boy, that was fast. Only five years into the world's renewable energy push, many utility companies are so concerned about grid instability that they're saying they can't accept any more electricity from intermittent sources of power. Translation: Solar power only runs in the day time and can't be relied on for so called "baseload" capacity. Wind power primarily produces current at night and, likewise, can't be relied upon for baseload capacity.
The U.S. Department of Energy has committed to guaranteeing a $117 million loan for a wind farm that hopes to break ground this year in the hills across from the shrimp farms near Kahuku. At 30 megawatts, the project would be the largest wind energy endeavor undertaken on O'ahu and would include an innovative battery system to help with electricity load stability.
According to the Jan. 4 edition of "Engineering News Record," a most respected publication, the cable and wind farms could eventually cost up to $6 billion and take 10 years to complete. The cable would strengthen Hawaiian Electric's monopoly grids and cost the tax- and ratepayers billions to fund this project. Millions have already been spent on studying the ocean floor, the grid, marketing and more. It seems that none of the parties involved have done the basic math.
Joint state Senate committees passed a bill that would set a minimum distance between residences and wind turbines in an agricultural district. A couple of Kahuku residents said they were encouraged that lawmakers were listening to their testimony, but continued to be worried about a proposed buffer of 1,000 feet, which in their view is too short.
Cities and counties across the United States have been busy the past couple years passing ordinances that allow homes, farms and businesses to install small wind energy systems, or turbines, to meet their electricity needs. Maui County could be next, thanks in part to a bill proposed Tuesday by Council Member Mike Molina, who holds the Makawao-Haiku-Paia residency seat.
First Wind, to its surprise, has discovered that lower slopes provide a good place to catch wind for its windmill expansion. And now it is proposing to expand the Kaheawa Pastures wind farm to a ridge below the existing farm, rather than parallel it to the west. A revised draft environmental impact statement has been published, moving the lower site to the status of "preferred location."
Most Molokai residents who attended last Thursday's meeting would be happy if the deal never went through. First Wind's current plan calls for the installation of up to 20 turbines on Hawaiian Homestead land in Ho`olehua, followed by as many as 60 turbines on Molokai Ranch land.
The Oregon developer looking to erect wind turbines on a Kahuku ridge is moving forward with permitting for the project. West Wind Works wants to put up 10 wind turbines for a project it's calling Na Pua Makani, which is expected to generate 25 megawatts of renewable energy.
"The real issue is that you have a high penetration wind environment" in the electric utility, says Juan de Bedout, the global technology leader for power conversion systems at GE Global Research in New York. That means the amount of energy on the island that comes from unstable wind is very high in proportion to the total demand for power - 15 to 30 percent.
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.
First, he ripped out the pineapples. Then he put up Four Seasons hotels and luxury homes. Next, he envisions 200 windmills towering next to a Hawaiian beach. ..."It's a place a lot of people use for hunting deer, fishing and diving," said Robin Kaye, 62, a retired photographer who lives on Lanai. "Why should this island be the power generator for Oahu? Let them build a wind farm there."
Hawaiian Electric Co. announced a plan Tuesday to buy wind energy from both Lanai and Molokai. As part of the proposed arrangement, Castle & Cooke will scale back its Lanai wind farm from 400 megawatts to 200. The overall deal could be considered in its infancy, considering all the steps that must fall into place, including environmental impact studies and land acquisition on Molokai.
Winds of doubt are swirling around one Northeast-based wind farm developer with projects in Hawai'i. Newton, Mass.-based First Wind (formerly known as UPC Wind) has found itself one of the targets of an ongoing investigation conducted by the New York attorney general's office. ...The probe of is of special interest to island energy and business affairs, since First Wind has built and operates a wind farm on Maui and has designs for more farms on Moloka'i and on O'ahu. ...While First Wind enjoys a good reputation in Hawai'i, developments in towns like Cohocton provide a less savory picture of the wind developer. Which image will be believed may depend on the results of the New York AG office's investigation of the firm, which have not yet been released.