First Wind is breaking ground today on construction for Kawailoa Wind, Hawaii’s largest wind project, with 69 MW, or enough power for 14,500 homes. This is the company’s fourth project in Hawaii.
Hawaii is the state most dependent on foreign oil, and state government officials want to create more energy independence by the year 2030.
Those supporting the project include: Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair, Senate Committee on Energy and Environment Mayor Peter Carlisle, City and County of Honolulu Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind Richard Rosenblum, President and CEO, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. Dee Jay Mailer, CEO of Kamehameha Schools Antya Miller, Executive Director, North Shore Chamber of Commerce and Hermina Morita, Chair, Public Utilities Commission.
Larry Helm, well known native Hawaiian veterans’ advocate, said about 90 percent of Molokai’s 7,000 plus residents are against the windmill construction plan, which would include windmills built on Molokai that would connect to an undersea cable bringing power to the highly populated Oahu.
Molokai residents point to a now defunct windmill operation at South Point on the Big Island of Hawaii as one reason not to erect windmills. On the beachfront site, many of the steel windmills have rusted into place or collapsed.
The property where the Big Island windmills now stand was once owned by Kahuku Ranch. Kahuku Ranch sold the property to the WF Co.
While new windmills are going up on Oahu, many neighbor island residents are wondering why others have been left standing unused for decades.
One Big Island rancher told Hawaii Reporter: “The windmills were the Model T. of Mitsubishi’s and had never been tested in Japan. Eventually they leaked oil and the wind would blow the oil quite a ways from the towers. Why they are allowed to still stand there is a big question. Aren’t there laws that say that they must be removed and the area cleaned up?”