Hawaii wind power


A State mandate says that, by 2030, 40 percent of Hawaii’s electricity will be derived from renewable sources. In order to meet that goal, the State is considering a plan that includes building a wind farm consisting of 200 turbines, each over 400 feet tall, on Lanai to power Oahu.

The Hawaii Interisland Renewable Energy Program (HIREP) would produce renewable energy through the use of wind turbine technology on one or more Hawaiian Islands and transfer the electricity generated to another island or islands by means of one or more undersea cables for subsequent transmission and distribution to energy consumers.

Implementation of the proposed wind energy program would be a cooperative effort of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the State of Hawaii, represented by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), to advance the objectives of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), a partnership between the State of Hawaii and DOE with a goal of instituting a fundamental and sustained transformation in the way in which renewable energy resources are planned and used in the state.

In a letter send out to Lanai residents, Friends of Lanai state: “If the proposed industrial wind power plant for Oahu is built on Lanai, the destruction of our island is forever. It is irrevocable; we will not get our land back. Once the new roads are in, the massive holes dug, hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of concrete poured, and the 410 foot tall turbines erected, future generations of Lanaians will never again see the magnificent view planes, the rich cultural sites and the abundant game everyone who lives and visits Lanai enjoys today. They would be gone forever.”

On Oahu, Kahuku Wind (KW), the first wind farm on the island in over 20 years, went live in March. The farm will generate enough energy to power approximately 7,700 Oahu homes.

The Kahuku site, known as one of the windiest areas on the island, will supply approximately two to three percent of Oahu’s energy needs. First Wind had explored two other locations for their first Oahu farm, including Kaena Point. But after installing meteorological towers that measure wind speed and consistency at the Kahuku property, Kahuku proved to be the ideal location.

The 410-foot tall turbines that currently dot the property are estimated to last approximately 20 years. After that, the stainless steel, balsa wood, and fiber glass turbines that are produced in Idaho by Clipper Liberty, will be scrapped and replaced with new ones.

In the development phases of Kahuku Wind, Oahu residents were concerned about the farm being located too close to their homes, thus decreasing their property value, and being an eyesore. In August 2010, North Shore residents complained about the bumper-to-bumper traffic caused as turbine parts were being transported to the Kahuku Wind site for construction. Kahuku wind ultimately changed the transport times to avoid rush-hour traffic in the area.

The “Lobbyist on Lanai” left a community torn apart by Big Wind
  • Essay

Carleton Ching's involvement with the proposed "Big Wind" project on Lanai flies in the face of the governor's empty statement that Ching "brings communities together." Read More »

Robin Kaye
Video: A voice from Molokai resists Big Wind
Special to The Hawaii Independent
A satellite image of the island of Moloka`i. Photo by NASA
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Hermina Morita was appointed as chair of the Pubic Utilities Commission by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in February. Photo by Ricky Li
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Wind power has been on the table in Hawaii for decades. Photo by Tom Woodward
The damage is in the details: Big Wind blowing past Lanai voices
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Lanai residents hold signs opposing the proposed Big Wind development in January. Courtesy Photo
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Lanai residents held signs in protest of proposed wind turbines last year. Courtesy Photo
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The computer generated image by Friends of Lana’i gives an idea of what a single 410-foot wind turbine would look like coming out of Downtown Honolulu. There are plans to build 170 of these wind turbines on 22,000 acres of Lana’i (one-fourth of the island).
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A group called Friends of Lanai was formed to give voice to residents who strongly oppose the Oahu industrial wind power plant on Lanai. Above, Lanai residents hold signs in protest last year.
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Sitework for the First Wind Kahuku wind farm included clearing 58 acres, much of it done with a hydro-axe to minimize erosion runoff, and mass excavation for 12 turbine pads and haul roads. Photo from BuildingIndustryHawaii.com
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Molokai News starts series on proposed Molokai wind farm →
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In October, Lanai residents held signs in protest of the wind farm plans. Photo by Friends of Lanai
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Kahuku Wind turbines can produce enough energy to power 7,700 homes on Oahu. Photo by Xtreme Power Solutions
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Above: An image rendered by the Friends of Lanai showing what a proposed 410-foot-tall wind farm turbine would look to scale if one were situated coming out of the Hawaii State Capitol in Honolulu. Below: In October, Lanai residents held signs in protest of the wind farm plans.
Artistic Rendering and Photos by Friends of Lanai
Capitol briefing to discuss Oahu industrial wind power plant proposed for Lanai
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A view of the Kahuku Wind farm on Oahu's North Shore.
Photo by HECO
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Special to The Hawaii Independent
A dead U‘au (Hawaiian petrel) lies near the base of a wind turbine.
First Wind hears North Shore residents, changes turbine hauling times
Jade Eckardt
Kahuku Wind hauls a turbine part spanning the length of about six cars through Haleiwa during rush hour traffic.
Kahuku Wind gets clean energy moving, brings traffic to a stop
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Kahuku Wind hauls a turbine part spanning the length of about six cars through Haleiwa during rush hour traffic.
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Kahuku Wind selects RMI, Inc. to construct Oahu’s first wind farm in over 20 years
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Above: Brazos Wind Farm in the plains of West Texas. Wind turbines planned in Kahuku, like the ones pictured above, will supply energy to Oahu's grid. Some residents still say the structures will be an eye sore. Below: RMT President Steve Johannsen joins First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor in a traditional blessing ceremony at Kahuku Wind groundbreaking ceremony, July 13, 2010.
Kahuku wind farm is one step closer to construction →
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Wind turbines in Kahuku, like the ones illustrated above, will supply energy to Oahu's grid. Some residents still say the structures will be an eye sore.
First Wind catches a breeze of support from Kamehameha Schools →
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First Wind has one operating wind farm on Maui called Kaheawa Wind that generates 30 megawatts (MW) of energy.
Renewable energy company searches for ‘air space’ on Oahu’s North Shore →
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Site manager Mike Cadieux said animal behavior has not been affected by energy generating turbines on his Wyoming Wind Farm.