Island batteries: EIS scoping meetings to hear testimony on Hawaii wind power plans
HONOLULU—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.
Residents in opposition to the plan proposed a question: “Is providing 10 percent of Oahu’s electrical needs sufficient to offset the destruction of one of Hawaii’s last untouched landscapes?”
The answer will likely come in many forms throughout the ongoing Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process.
This week, the public has the chance to give testimony on the Hawaii Interisland Renewable Energy Program (HIREP) at several meetings throughout the state.
HIREP’s Wind Programmatic EIS evaluates the environmental impacts associated with a proposed wind energy generation, transmission, and delivery program.
The program 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.
Residents throughout the state, including the group Friends of Lanai, are concerned about the wind farm’s economic, social, and environmental impacts on the islands.
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.”
Three scoping meetings are scheduled for this week on Maui, Molokai, and Lanai.
Island of Maui Scoping Meeting
Wednesday, February 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Pomaikai Elementary School Cafeteria
4650 S. Kamehameha Avenue
Island of Molokai Scoping Meeting
Thursday, February 3 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Mitchell Pauole Community Center
90 Ainoa Street
Island of Lanai Scoping Meeting
Saturday, February 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Lanai High and Elementary School Cafeteria
555 Fraser Avenue
Lanai City, Lanai
To submit written testimony, visit http://www.hirep-wind.com/eis-documents.